While working today, I was listening to the Beatles Tribute we did in Calgary. Silver Laughter had two tributes. The one I have that’s complete we recorded in Calgary. The only recording I have of the second one picks up in the middle of the set. Carl probably didn’t notice the tape had run out! I am hoping to come across another recording of it in its entirety since we recorded just about every night.
With this much time having gone by, it gives me a pretty good perspective that I didn’t have when we were doing these sets. I was too close and very critical. Now it’s almost like I am listening to a different band. Where I used to cringe at the sound of my voice or hear flat notes all over the place, now it just sounds like it could have been the Beatles performing live!
When you think about it, the songs sounded pretty full for a four piece band, and the harmonies are really very good. The arrangements are extremely loyal to the records. All in all I am very impressed at how good we were. We even tackled some very difficult songs that the Beatles only did in the studio.
Several years ago I saw Paul McCartney live in San Jose. He did a few Beatles songs on which he was the primary song writer. He had to use an extra musician and special effects to fill in the instruments. On “Lady Madonna” he had the fifth musician using a synthesizer doing the horns where we used a kazoo while I played piano at the same time! We were very clever, I think, using a guitar to fill in the harmonica parts on “Love Me Do” and others.
If you listen to the clips we used of the Beatles talking at various points in the set, this is when we would change instruments. I think Jon changed from 6 string to 12 string in one break, I changed from bass to piano and Ken changed from guitar to bass on another, and finally we all changed back for the last break. I remember spending a lot of time rehearsing the changes so they would look seamless. We were careful to look for words in the first song to link to the second song.
All the while films and slides of the Beatles flashed on the screens behind us. This was no small feat since Jon would spend a lot of time editing and splicing the clips together, rearranging the slides to coincide with the period when the music was written. Quite frankly, this specialty saved us during the disco era which wiped out many bands. Clubs were going to DJ’s after the movie “Saturday Night Fever” came out. Eventually we had to incorporate a lot of newer material of the time by groups such as KC and the Sunshine Band and The Bee Gees just to stay working! Probably one of my favorites is “Let ’em In” by Paul McCartney that we covered. I may release some of these as time goes on. We’ll see.