Concert Review: “The Beatles – White Album 50th Anniversary Tribute

  • A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES WHITE ALBUM
  • Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri
  • October 3, 2019

 

It’s often said of a great actor “I’d pay to watch him read the phone book.”  Well, this evening in Kansas City, I saw musicians who’d I pay to SING the phonebook.

Imagine having the opportunity to see these people in concert:  Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Mickey Dolenz, Joey Molland from Badfinger and Jason Scheff from Chicago.  Now imagine seeing all of the on stage at once, which is exactly what I did this evening at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.

They hit the stage, along with a talented group of musicians, to help pay tribute to the 50th Anniversary of an album simply titled THE BEATLES but known to fans all over the world as “the White Album.”  Great musicians performing great songs.  How can you lose?

There are 30 songs on the White Album, and, while not all of them are represented, the ones that are sound amazing.  Like the album, the show opened with Dolenz singing “Back in the U.S.S.R.”  Even at age 74, Dolenz filled the auditorium with one of the most recognizable voices in music history.  I caught the Monkees when they toured in 1986 and Mickey was the indisputable ring leader.  Nothing has changed.  It’s obvious he’s here to have fun and you can’t help but indulge him.  Rundgren, who I’ve been a fan of since he was in the band Utopia – AND WHO IS CRIMINALLY NOT IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME – spelled Dolenz on lead vocals with “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” pointing at the former Monkee while he sang.

After a few more songs, Dolenz announced that the audience was in for a special treat, as each of the main band members would also be performing a couple of their own hits.  He kicked this portion of the show off with “I’m a Believer,” followed by “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”  Then it was Molland’s turn and he entertained with a couple of Badfinger hits – “Baby Blue” and “No Matter What.”  Scheff, who very capably replaced Peter Cetera when the latter left the band Chicago, took center stage next with a mellowing version of “After All That We’ve Been Through” before switching gears into a rousing “25 or 6 to 4.”  It was then Rundgren’s turn.  Did I mention that, despite four decades in the music business and dozens of hit albums produced Todd Rundgren is NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?  He began his mini-set with “I Saw the Light” and added “Hello, It’s Me.”  That song is almost 50 years old but I sing it at the top of my voice every time I hear it, and tonight was no exception.  Thankfully the rest of the audience joined me.  Cross finished the mini solo concert with his hits “Sailing” and “Ride Like the Wind.”  A few more Beatles tunes and it was intermission time.

Rundgren, Cross and Dolenz

The show resumed with Cross alone on stage and he began the second act with a beautiful version of “Blackbird.”  The rest of the show was a constant barrage of Beatles song after song, each musically impeccable and perfectly sung.  In the second act, Rundgren began having fun.  He donned a couple of different outfits for a couple of songs, handing out flowers to the audience during “Sexy Sadie” and taking aim at the audience with an over-sized squirt gun while dressed as  hunter during “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.”  Dolenz also had some fun with the audience, informing us that we were so great the band decided to also perform the entire “Abbey Road” album.  As the band played the opening riffs to “Come Together” I thought he might be serious.  Sadly, he wasn’t, though he joked that if they did play it he’d definitely need to be put into intensive care  The highlight of the show, to me, was Rundgren’s  kick-ass rendition of “Helter Skelter,” which earned him a much deserved standing ovation.  I did mention that Todd Rundgren is NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, didn’t I?

To sum it up, it was an amazing night of music played by an amazing group of musicians.  If you’re a fan of the Beatles, or any of the musicians on the bill, I urge you to see this show when it’s in your town!

SET LIST:  Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Martha My Dear, Yer Blues, I’m a Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Baby Blue, No Matter What, After All That We’ve Been Through, 25 or 6 to 4, I Saw the Light, Hello, It’s Me, Sailing, Ride Like the Wind, Honey Pie, Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?, While My Guitar Gently Sleeps, Blackbird, I Will, Julia, Mother Nature’s Son, Rocky Raccoon, Revolution 1, Sexy Sadie, I’m So Tired, Happiness is a Warm Gun, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Piggies, Glass Onion, Helter Skelter, Come Together (opening), Birthday.  ENCORE:  Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

Upcoming Concert Dates

Oct 5 – Beverly, MA – Cabot Theater

Oct 6 – Concord, NH – Capitol Center For The Arts

Oct 7 – Orono, ME – Collins Center For The Arts

Oct 8 – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse

Oct 10 – Staten Island, NY – St. George Theater

Oct 11 – Boston, MA – Berklee PAC

Oct 12 – Westbury, NY – Theatre @ Westbury

Oct 13 – Morristown, NJ – Mayo PAC

Oct 15 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre

Oct 17 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theater

Oct 18 – New London, CT – Garde Arts Center

Oct 20 – Washington, DC – Warner Theatre

 

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One Reply to “Concert Review: “The Beatles – White Album 50th Anniversary Tribute”

  1. one correction: The song is called “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.” It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, so it’s worth noting and correcting.

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