Review: The Upbeat Beatles, The Riverfront, Newport

Andy Howells visits Newport’s Riverfront Theatre to review the 2022 show presented by leading tribute band – The Upbeat Beatles.

The Upbeat Beatles one of the country’s leading Beatles tribute bands were back at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Wednesday evening and the crowd were loving them.

“We usually have the audience screaming much louder than this!” observed ‘John’ to the Newport crowd. “Can you give us a real Beatlemania scream?” The Newport crowd dutifully obliged. ‘John’ nodded approvingly before joking, “Steady on lads! Give the girls a chance!”

The Upbeat Beatles wasted no time launching into their Beatlemania set performing rousing versions of She Loves You, From Me to You and All My Loving. Despite the heat being some 28 degrees outside, the band stayed cool, looking every inch their 1963 counterparts with Beatle Suits and Mop Top haircuts. Performing hit after hit, they recreated the sounds of the early hits with replica guitars and drums. Even ‘John’ played harmonica on Love Me Do!

The Upbeat Beatles then donned military jackets for the next part of the Beatlemania set in a style reflective of The Beatles 1965 Shea Stadium Concert. Launching into Help! there then followed electric renditions of Can’t Buy Me Love, Eight Days a Week, I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man and If I Needed Someone.

The first set ended with some rock n roll with the band encouraging the audience to stand up, clap and sing along to I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout.

The Upbeat Beatles played Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on June 22nd. Photo: Upbeat Beatles Website

The second half went into psychedelia as Sgt Pepper costumes were donned by the band as they performed hits from the Summer of Love including Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds (featuring ‘John’ on piano) and All You Need Is Love.

There were also fun renditions of Yellow Submarine and Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da, and by contrast some all-out rock with Revolution. Two further highlights were the solo spots from ‘John’ singing You’ve Got to Hide your Love Away and ‘Paul’ performing Yesterday.

The show ended with a final costume change reflecting The Beatles “Get Back” performance from 1969. Come Together, Here Comes the Sun and Something were all featured before the band ended on Hey Jude!

The Newport crowd were still wanting more, and an encore was inevitable. Both Get Back and the Sergeant Pepper reprise brought the night to a perfect close.

Congratulations to Roger Channing as John, Simon Blight as Paul, Colin Yates as George and James Jordan as Ringo who seemed to grow more into their respective Beatles as the show went on. We loved them! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

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