Classical Mystery Tour brings Beatles to Verizon

Tribute band evokes phenomenon that became Beatlemania

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Paul, George, John and Ringo. Just four names is all that is needed to invoke the band that ushered us into the Swinging ‘60s, the era of peace love and the Vietnam War.

Who knew these four pinch-your-cheeks cute young men would take us on a decade-long Magical Mystery Tour? For many of my generation, the Beatles were the first expression of our culture, our music and our voice.

My older brothers had the Kingston Trio, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. But the Beatles were mine.

Now comes the Classical Mystery Tour to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park to recreate the melodies and the memories of the Fab Four. It has been 46 years since the Beatles last performed for a live audience, but their music has never faded.

From the catchy “A Hard Day’s Night” to the introspective “Norwegian Wood” to the poetic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” we grew up musically, and the Beatles led us. Few bands gave us lyrics as thought-provoking as with “A Day in the Life,” as full of imagery as “Lucy in the Sky,” as playful as “Ob-La-Di” or as haunting as “Yesterday.”

The band is gone, never to return. But the tribute band Classical Mystery Tour can recreate those moments again Saturday, July 21. Created by Jim Owen in 1996, the show features full orchestral charts performed exactly as they were originally written, with a song list containing some of the Beatles’ most progressive and notable works such as “Hey, Jude,” and “I Am the Walrus.”

It could just be the ultimate nostalgia trip.

The Beatles’ music matured just as I did. From “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” to “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields.” Their music has that timeless quality that makes me think it will be played and hummed the way Gershwin, Cole Porter and Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers always will be.

At Verizon, the show is intriguingly billed as “the show the Beatles never did.” It’s enough to make me want to be there. And I will.