Review by Danny Gaisin
Over two dozen of the Fab Four’s standards; the Hamilton Philharmonic and Hamilton Jazz great Darcy Hepner at the podium; a musical trifecta. Faultlessly presented with stage rear overhead projections from a certain Beatles cartoon that incorporated the artwork of Peter Blake and Jann Haworth; the evening was an almost psychedelic experience. This was an evocative evening recalling songs we danced to; identified with ; and sang the lyrics to 8-tracks or cassettes or top-twenty radio stations. Last night, I and a filled Great Hall audience turned a concert into a 1500 person singalong.
The program opened and was interspersed with compositions by George Martin, the quintuple threat ‘fifth Beatle’ including his ‘Pepperland’ and ‘Sea of Time’, performed orchestrally. Then, mostly solos by Ian Thomas, Steve Strongman, Jamie Oakes, Jeremy Wright, D’eve Archer & Terra Lightfoot. When the vocalists joined forces as duo, trios or ensemble, the tribute covers were ingenious and creative… with one exception that went overboard.
Naturally, most of the compositions were Lennon/McCartney collaborations, but George Harrison’s writing was also included. His ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was given a very tasteful rendering. Playing ‘When I’m 64’ and then ‘Yesterday’ in sequence was especially touching for us somewhat older folk. Personal admission: I paraphrased the former to When I’m ‘84’ hoping the muse will still need me still feed me, a year from now!
Hepner, band and the HPO orchestra gave a full reading to “Hey Jude”, the 1964 hit that runs over seven minutes. Enticing the audience to incorporate their cellphone lights overhead, the piece became ‘rave-like’ and alas, the half-dozen pieces left in the program became underwhelming with the audience more responsively sedate until asked to be the chorus by chanting the refrains to ‘♫ All You Need is Love ♪’. I’m certain Hepner and company were glad for the “HELP”.
We Did miss not hearing about that U-Boat with a dominant pigment of 580nm,; and the song with French choral lyrics that we incorporated into our daughter’s name. So, we sort of sang both songs on the way home.
There is a very special event for us fans of the Hamilton Philharmonic under its super ‘new’ conductor. She’ll be at the podium of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on March 10th. The HPO has arranged a highway cruiser bus; reception, and concert ticket package so that a cheering section will be at Roy Thomson Hall, (no banners or cardboard slogans, please) Reserve by Feb. 22nd by calling 905-526-7756