(The Fab Four Beatles Tribute band, from left Ardy Sarraf as Paul McCartney, Neil Candelora as Ringo Starr, Gavin Pring as George Harrison and Adam Hastings as John Lennon performing on The Colosseum Stage inside Caesars Windsor on Sunday, January 19, 2020. Photo above by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.)
Adam Hastings as John Lennon, Ardy Sarraf, as Paul McCartney, Gavin Pring, as George Harrison and Neil Candelora as Ringo Starr have masterminded a time capsule of magical mystery tour proportions. With the flick of switch, on their Vox amplifiers no less, they collectively take those in the packed Caesars Windsor’s Colosseum on January 19, 2020 back to a time when the real Fab Four took their music to stages around the world, including as close to Windsor as the Olympia Stadium in Detroit.
It starts in February, 1964. The hardly known Beatles play the stage at what is now the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City. The televised CBS Television broadcast has most of America stopping to watch and shortly thereafter young boys in the audience heading out to their barbers for Beatles-like haircuts and their booteries for famed Beatle boots and music stores to buy an instrument or two.
To say the four from Liverpool sparked change in the world is an unarguable understatement. But at the end of the end, as Paul McCartney would later sing, it was all about the music.
And that is where the Fab Four, an Emmy award-winning Beatles’ tribute band, do the greatest service to their English heroes. Their abilities are not only to create the illusion of the Beatles, by looking like them, they take a journeyman musician’s precision to present a beat-by-beat honest and accurate replication of what it was like way back in the 1960s. The resemblance between Hastings and Lennon is eerie to say the least, the way Ardy Sarraf replicates Paul McCartney’s voice is impeccable, Neil Candelora moves his head as he drums, as Ringo does, and Gavin Pring acting as bashful as George Harrison adds so much credibility to the presentation.
For added entertainment, the MC of the show is none other than Ed Sullivan, the man who introduced the Beatles to North America on his popular Sunday night variety telecast. Sullivan is performed with historic accuracy by the master of impersonations, actor Jeff DeHart, who, admittedly, goes off script a few times with hilarious results. DeHart is most recently featured as former US President Richard Nixon in the Netflix Original hit movie The Irishman.
As Sullivan, DeHart not only introduces the Beatles, as they were introduced that 1964 winter night, but also takes to the stage while the lads change costumes delighting the audience with routines from the likes of Rodney Dangerfield.
The Fab Four are earnestly careful to accurately chronicle the changes in the band as its members progress through the decade including their guitar preferences. George moves from a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentlemen, which gives early Beatles’ music a bit of country spice, to the biting sound of a Gibson and Fender. John moves from a Rickenbacker to a rich sounding Epiphone Casino.
Paul too advances from his “Beatle bass” Hofner to his best liked guitar, a Rickenbacker. He only plays it publicly on the St. Pepper album when the band switches from suits and ties to elaborate military like costumes which, true to authenticity, Ardy Sarraf points to his outfit’s Ontario Provincial Police badge.
It is also one of the most controversial of decorations. In photographs, the badge is not clear and seems to be the letters OPD, instead of OPP. At the time rumours circulate claiming Paul tragically dies and is replaced by a look-alike. One of the clues was OPD, which the conspirators claimed meant Officially Pronounced Dead.
Ironically, without question, Adam Hastings, who actually hails from Newcastle, could very easily slip into a replacement for Lennon. Although, that train has left the station, Hastings does a moving tribute to Lennon, singing Imagine and making the point that all Lennon wanted was peace and love. It is the only song of the night which is not a Beatles’ tune.
Gavin Pring, does an equally moving tribute to his character, George Harrison, revolving around the song Something.
The evening’s songlist is long including the first tune the lads sang on the Sullivan show, All My Loving, along with a number of other so-called British invasion hits.
The big question remains, did the times change with the Beatles or did they change the times. Their music becomes increasingly complex and orchestral as they travel through the years. All of this added complexity is pertinently evident in the Fab Four’s interpretation, particularly when things go psychedelic with a unique multi-sensual presentation.
Franco Rotondi, rhythm guitarist with Windsor’s local Beatles tribute band, the Liverpool Echo, describes the Fab Four as one of the best bands in the world. He doesn’t mince words and is smack on. The Echo were at the Cosmos Lounge at Caesars performing as kind of a warm up to what was to come in the Colosseum.
Founded in 1997, the Fab Four are committed to being as precise as they can to create the genuine illusion of a Beatles’ concert. It is a point famed illusionist Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller, makes in a recorded introduction. Judging by the audience reaction, Fab Four certainly hits the mark in Windsor.
Despite their agility in playing the Beatles, the fifth Beatle, so to speak, has to be sound engineer Bill Johnson. His expertise on the soundboard ensures every manner of sound is incredibly well balanced adding to the pleasure of the show.
What also makes the evening that much more delightful is the subtle humour of the lads, also a hallmark of the Beatles. All in all, there was not a note missed in the whole night and genuine humour through a sequence of well-known songs in which the four tribute artists prove you can recreate the past in a perfect illusion.
For more about The Fab Four visit http://www.thefabfour.com
Upcoming shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor include Platinum-selling country music artist Justin Moore (Jan 23), comedian, actor and television personality, Jeff Foxworthy (Jan 26), Dancing with the Stars: Live (Feb 1), award-winning singer-songwriter Josh Groban (Feb 9) and The Blues Brothers, featuring Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi (Feb 22).
For more information and more upcoming shows visit https://www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor/shows
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.