Bootleg Beatles at The Tivoli

There were, arguably, the greatest band the world. But by the time I was old enough to be a potential groupie, the Beatles had broken up. So, I was resigned to the fact that I’d never see them play live.

Well … the Universe has a way of making the impossible happen.

This September, the world’s best tribute band to the Fab Four – the UK’s Bootleg Beatles – played at Brisbane’s Tivoli at Bowen Hills. And, from the first guitar chord, the audience was flung back in time to Liverpool, circa 1962.

Tribute bands can get a bad rap – but the Bootleg Beatles are so close to the real deal, it’s uncanny.

Not only are they spooky lookalikes (right down to Paul’s pretty boy pout and Ringo’s generous nose), these four accomplished musicians absolutely nailed the Beatles sound – with Liverpudlian vocals, spot-on harmonies, gently weeping guitars and faultless beats.

And the Tivoli’s dimly lit, intimate ambience was more than a little reminiscent of The Cavern Club where the real Beatles debuted the sound that ultimately rocked the world.

And what a sound!  The Bootleg Beatles covered the full span of the band’s rock-and-roll reign…

From the early years of mop top haircuts, tailored suits and fainting fans – I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You and Day Tripper….

… to the hippy-driven psychedelia of the late 60’s with songs like Yellow Submarine, I am the Walrus and Strawberry Fields…

… to the Fab Four’s memorable farewell performance on the roof-top of Apple Records – with Don’t Let Me Down and Get Back…

In just a few hours, the Bootleg Beatles covered a sizeable chunk of the rich Lennon-McCartney repertoire, backed by an ensemble of brass and strings (the trumpet solo on Penny Lane was a highlight).

The final offering, Hey Jude, brought the crowd to their feet … (nah, nah, nah, nahnahnahna!) … but it was their encore performance of Twist and Shout that brought down the house.

The Tivoli is a recurring gig for the Bootleg Beatles , who clearly enjoy the enthusiasm of Brissy crowds.

So… should you snap up a ticket or two when they’re next in town?

I have three words for you…

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

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Written & photographed by Carole Horne