And In The End, Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

And in the end – well, sadly we know how it ends…

Thankfully we have productions such as And In The End, which visited The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham last night, to continue to celebrate the music of The Beatles. In particular this show explores the journey to the end of The Beatles final chaotic year, 1969.

Following on from their hugely successful tour in 2017/18, the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Beatles tribute group, The Bootleg Beatles, join forces once again to deliver a Beatles experience like no other.

Picture this. Its April 1970 and Paul McCartney announces ‘he’s done’. The end has arrived before any of them have even turned 30

Existing for only around 8 years, the fab four, as they became known worldwide, have now been gone for over 50, yet their music continues to inspire today. The show marks 50 years since the release of the group’s final two albums –  Abbey Road and Let It Be, both performed like never before in this musical collaboration, which adds a classical twist and some beautifully arranged symphonic versions of the timeless classics.

Does the story need an 80 piece orchestra? No would be the answer, as the legacy speaks for itself, but for Beatles fans wanting something new, this incredible wall of sound, along with unique, made for the show arrangements, is the gift they’ve been waiting for.

Compèred by Beatles historian, Mark Lewisohn, a fan, and renowned worldwide as an authority on the Beatles, he begins the show by setting the scene, along with video footage from 1963, the year The Beatles made their first recording. The 12 minute intro takes us through a potted history, album releases and the groups rapidly developing songwriting skills and breathtaking progress.

In 1966 the Beatles make the decision to give up live performances and stick to other ways of expressing themselves – recording. 1968 sees the release of the White album. Wanting someway to promote it they shoot a quick promo video in a studio with fans huddled around them singing along to the LP’s final track –Hey Jude.  This made the band realise they wanted to perform live again.  Not a tour, but one off specials – which is where tonight’s concert begins, in January 1969 with a rooftop performance. The band hadn’t played publicly since 1966. Lots had happened in the intervening years; Landmark albums, babies, divorce, drugs, the death of manager Brian Epstein and the arrival of Yoko Ono.

Performed by the Bootleg Beatles, forming in 1980 they have been together four times longer than the Beatles themselves, and so have had the time to fine tune their art. They perform in character, giving the audience the experience of an actual Beatles gig.  The majority of the audience appear of the age that may well have seen the real thing live and are likely to have supported them throughout their lifetime, evident by the fact that as well as singing along to masterpieces such as Let it Be, Here Comes The Sun, Come Together, Get Back and The Long and Winding Road, they know word for word the lesser commercial tracks like I Be Mine and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Along the way there are little easter eggs of banter between the lads as you expect, plus a few topical asides

 Following the interval, Lewisohn delivers a further 10 minute intro to the Abbey Road album. It wasn’t meant to be the Beatles swan song, but ultimately turned out that way. The 1 hour 20 set, and the evening concluding of course with a rousing version of Hey Jude

In the end we’ll never know what might have been had John Lennon lived, but in the end, shows like this ensure that the music will never be forgotten. An unmissable event for Beatles fans.

By Tanya Louise


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