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Tribute band brings The Beatles era back

The Fab Fourever try to provide fans with the complete live experience

The Fab Fourever, Kay Meek Centre, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7: 30 p.m. Tickets $27.50 plus service charges from the Centre Box Office, charge by phone at 604-913-3634 or online at www.

IF you were born after a certain year, you never had a chance to see The Beatles live. Even some who were lucky enough to see a show admit that they often heard more from the screaming fans than they did from John, Paul, Ringo and George.

That's where Kevin, Jody, Paul and Jean-Luc come in. As The Fab Fourever, they aim to deliver the complete Beatles experience at the Kay Meek Centre tomorrow.

"We go into painstaking detail to reproduce the music," says Jody Tennant, who plays Paul McCartney. "Each of us sings and plays the exact parts that John, Paul, George and Ringo played in their shows. As well, we get into the costuming. We go through four different costume changes and as much detail we put into the music we put into our costumes and our instruments. Each of the costumes are stitch-for-stitch designed after the originals that the Beatles wore. There's a fellow who owns the Beatles' originals and he's a tailor and he has replicated these suits for us. So we're recreating all these eras and it's just a lot of fun."

The attention to detail doesn't stop with the clothes. They appear in character and with the authentic instruments for each song.

"In one of the eras, as Paul, I play a Hofner guitar. Well, he also used one in the later eras as well but it's slightly different so we had to purchase the different one as well. So we have two guitars that are virtually the same but slightly different. We do that for each guy, amplifiers and drums as well."

The Fab Fourever break the Beatles' career in four phases for their show - an Ed Sullivan Show-type performance with the early hits, the peak of Beatlemania circa 1965, the psychedelia of Sergeant Pepper, and finally the Abbey Road era.

"We try to tackle most of the popular ones and throw in a few rare gems as well for listening pleasure," says Tennant. "But for the most part we do what the audience expects - they want to be able sing all the songs."

Tennant started the Fab Fourever having no previous musical training beyond being "really good at air guitar."

But after meeting Paul McCartney backstage at the Key Arena in 2005, he decided it was something he had to do.

"No words can describe it," he says of meeting the Beatle. "He's such an amazing human being. We've all spent our whole lives idolizing these people and that comes across in what we do. It's a really natural thing and the audience gets that. It's one of the pleasant surprises of our show, the banter and the energy we create."

While Tennant expected they would be playing for a room full of baby boomers, he said he's surprised to see a huge diversity in their audiences.

"The younger generation is just enamoured with the Beatles. We see teenagers there with their grandparents and they get to share in this cultural phenomenon of the Beatles and the '60s. It's the whole gamut that we play for. It's really amazing. We always stay behind to talk with the audience and one of the great things is when someone says 'I saw them in Hamburg in 1961' or 'I saw them here in Vancouver, August 22, 1964.' It's really an honour to play this music for these people. We're pretending to be the Beatles, but let's not confuse anyone. We're not, and we know that. It's just a fun thing to do. But it's nice when they say 'You guys sound just like them' or 'We actually enjoyed this concert more because we could hear you and we couldn't hear them over the screaming.' That's such a compliment."

But the biggest thrill, says Tennant, is getting to step briefly into the life of his idol.

"There's no better feeling than to stand on stage and sing 'Hey Jude' and have the crowd sing so loud that they actually take over for you. There have been so many tremendous groups, but the Beatles have just grabbed everyone and here we are in 2011 and they're still a huge cultural influence. I've seen people crying, laughing, holding hands. It really takes them back."

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