Beatlemania Comes to UNH

Kait Richmond

Most of today’s college students never got the chance to enjoy the Beatles in their heyday, but the University of New Haven had some visitors on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 who are giving this generation a taste of Beatlemania. Three acts of live music, eclectic costume changes, and animated actors comprise the stage show that is aptly titled Beatlemania Again. For two and a half hours, four passionate men play a tribute to one of the most legendary bands of all time, and remind everyone just how unique the Beatles truly were.

Act I began with “When I Saw Her Standing There.” The band was dressed to imitate the early Beatles: sharp suits and bowl cuts. Despite being significantly older than their respective personas, the men played their characters well. Two, in particular, were right on-point. Paul McCartney felt all-around genuine in his accent, in his words, and in his personality. Also, Ringo Starr was played exactly as you see him in videos: his head bobbing to one side and with a big, goofy smile on his face.

The band played the best of the Beatles; “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please Please Me,” and “Eight Days a Week,” to name a few. There were no mistakes, just a crowd happy to be hearing these timeless songs live. Before playing “In My Life,” John Lennon told the crowd that the song was for those who couldn’t be there, including Patrick Swayze, Mary Travers, and the locally beloved Annie Le.

Intermission came and went, and Beatlemania Again continued in chronological order, opening Act II with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The costumes were identical to the original band’s colorful, satin, military outfits from the Sgt. Pepper album cover. “Help,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” were all played as bright lights flashed across the stage to resemble the psychedelic period.

Suddenly, everyone but Lennon jumped off of the stage. He picked up an electric guitar, and played a stripped-down version of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The crowd exploded with excitement and sang along. George Harrison came back to play “Here Comes the Sun,” on acoustic guitar. His performance was outstanding, and the crowd sang along, again, while he whispered, “It’s all right.”

The entire band returned to the stage for their final and best act. Each man was dressed differently, and John Lennon was in his signature white suit. Here they were at the end of the era, but playing the songs that the crowd seemed to enjoy the most. Students danced along to “Revolution” and “Come Together,” and chanted the “na na na na’s” to “Hey Jude.” After a standing ovation, the encore was “Twist and Shout.” The crowd was doing just that, and danced their way out after stopping to say hello to the band.