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Ladies and gentlemen, 1964: The Tribute

TRIBUTE:1964: The Tribute will be bring their brand of Beatlemania to Wabash at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 at Ford Theater. Tickets are $19, $25 and $45.

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

If you want to understand how accurate 1964: The Tribute’s stage show is, consider the story behind the following disclaimer, which they apply to all their promotional material: “1964: The Tribute is not endorsed by or affiliated with Apple Corps., Ltd.”

Steven Gardner, the band’s press agent and photographer since 2004, said there is a legal reason behind this. He said the band, which began in the 1980s, was sued by the Beatles’ record label.

“They had them audited. The whole shebang,” he said. “They said, ‘Well, look we’re not saying you’re going to think that you’re us. The problem is that that you guys are so good that they’re going to think that we’re endorsing you.’”

Gardner said they were one of only two bands to have a written contract with the Beatles, the other being Rain, which has appeared on Broadway.

“They lost the lawsuit, essentially,” he said. “If they choose to go after all these other acts could probably shut them down. They’re not going to be able to shut down 1964.”

1964: The Tribute will be bring their brand of Beatlemania to Wabash at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 at Ford Theater. Tickets are $19, $25 and $45.

The band’s focus on accuracy extends in all directions, from the movements to the instruments to the costumes.

In fact, the band’s “Paul McCartney,” Mac Ruffing, is naturally right-handed, but learned to play left-handed bass.

“Everything except the Red Solo cups on stage is identical to its time period,” said Gardner.

Well, that, and their faces.

“We tend to recommend people sit around eight to 10 rows back,” said Gardner. “If you’re right up front you can see that it’s not them.”

Gardner said the goal was to have audience members experience, at least for a moment, what it must have been like to see the Beatles live.

“Unfortunately we can’t have you see the show in black and white,” he said.

Gardner said matching the original hair color was especially important. “John Lennon,” played by Mark Benson, has reddish blonde hair. “Ringo Starr,” played by Bobby Potter, dyed black hair. “Paul” had black hair and “George Harrison,” played by Tom Work, had dark brown hair.

“The wigs are cut in the exact style, for those who do wear wigs,” he said.

Gardner said the show was fun, dance-able, family-friendly, 90-minute show with no tracks used.

“What you’re seeing is, in fact, live,” he said. “They know it better than the Beatles did.”