TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Community News Network

February 12, 2014

Beatles fans take magical history tour 50 years later

WASHINGTON — Under the concrete ribs of the barrel-shell roof of a crumbling coliseum, the capital awaits the Beatles. Or, rather, the Beatles tribute band. The real thing is exactly 50 years gone on this Tuesday night, in this exact spot in Northeast Washington, and Washington must make do with imitation, with nostalgia, with the reverb of the past.

"I'm listening to the Supremes and then all of a sudden on my transistor radio: 'I sawww herrr staaan-ding there,' " says Steve Daugherty, 59, who's in from Chantilly, Va. with his wife, Chris. They're wearing Lennon-esque spectacles and holding tall-boy beers, their breath fogging in the meat-locker air of the Washington Coliseum, the site of the Beatles' first North American concert, on Feb. 11, 1964. The Daughertys are here for the music, they say, but might they also be here to recapture a long-ago feeling?

"Oh, yeah," he says.

Behind the stage, in a cramped trailer that's 40 degrees warmer an hour before showtime, four men from America spray their wigs, pencil their eyebrows and button themselves into black-lapelled gray suits until they are four mop-headed lads from Liverpool. Beatlemania Now, the expert imitators of that night 50 years ago, are being watched by a man who was there, opening for the Beatles: the singer Tommy Roe.

"It's kind of spooky," says Roe, who will now open for an imitation, half a century later. Also, says Roe: "Surreal."

"They're Lennon-colored but when you get older, they're not as bushy," says Scot Arch, aka John, as he pencils away in front of a mirror.

"And I wonder how Paul and Ringo keep their hair so brown," Roe says with a glint in his eye, his hair a distinguished and well-adjusted gray.

"Ringo definitely dyed it recently," says Ringo, aka Eric Smith, 37, who adds that when he's on stage, "I'm not Eric Smith. It's not my interpretation. I'm trying to replicate. [Ringo's] mannerisms have become my own."

Roe exits the trailer, lopes through the cold, black backstage area, mounts the stage and plays "Sheila," as he did 50 years ago, when there was a thick vibe of anticipation.

Now, there are comb-overs in the audience, and Styrofoam cups of hot chocolate. The shrill hysteria over something new has been replaced by polite applause for something old. The national addiction to nostalgia continues, and the present stays bearable. The coliseum tonight is a physical place to hide away.

Oh we believe/

In yesterday.

Reality intrudes occasionally. After Roe'sset, there is an AARP sweepstakes drawing.

There are indeed young people here, people who were born years after the Beatles broke up, years even after John died. Legal assistants Jon Campbell, 24, and Daria Kasparek, 23, are here because of their parents, whose musical touchstones became theirs.

"In a sense, it's nostalgia," Kasparek says. The music "reminds me of driving to school in the morning and my mom playing the Beatles' greatest hits."

The re-creation isn't total, of course. The boxing-ring stage from 1964 is gone. The audience capacity in 1964 (about 8,000) is now about half that. John, Paul, George and Ringo were between 20 and 23 years old at the time. At least two of the men of Beatlemania Now are older than 30. Seats in 1964 were $2 to $4. On this Tuesday night, that won't get you a drink ticket ($5), let alone a seat ($100).

A competing Beatles tribute band called the Fab Four is scheduled to perform at the same time at the Howard Theatre in Washington. The coliseum — originally used for hockey, these days for parking, and in between for roller derbies, rodeos and the Ice Capades — will soon undergo a $77 million renovation and revert to its original name, the Uline Arena, thanks to the D.C. Preservation League and Douglas Development.

Where once there were music-driven riots and teenagers losing their minds, there will soon be a boutique honeycomb of offices and retail. The future wins, always.

But on this night, for one night only again, the Beatles haunt the coliseum in shadows and echoes.

"What time is it?" asks George, aka Chris Colon, from the backstage steps.

"8:27," says a stagehand. "No, 8:28."

"I have 8:29," Colon says.

They have to go on at 8:31, because that's when the Beatles went on.

And they do, as they did, and they bang out the hits that were banged out before. "I Saw Her Standing There," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You." Ringo has that hangdog wince. Paul, aka Graham Alexander, is doing that guppy-mouth thing that Paul does, or did.

A lone redhead in the audience is standing and dancing during the first few songs. The rest of the crowd slowly joins her, until nearly everyone is shimmying upright for "Twist and Shout," and wiping their runny noses in the cold.

With the theatrical fog hazing the tableau, with the golden spotlights blurring the hard edges, with the right amount of beer in your gut — you can almost believe it was then and not now.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

Front page
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook