True Beatles passion gave fans at Abbey Road on the River the needed kick to start the holiday weekend when Meet the Beatles UK hit the Fountain Stage just after 10 pm Thursday evening. New to the Abbey Road on the River line-up, Steve Hemming (Paul McCartney), Lee Hambridge (John Lennon), Dave Hambridge (George Harrison), and Christopher Webb (Ringo Starr) made the more than 10 hour plane ride to participate in the largest Beatles inspired festival.
By Friday afternoon, at half past twelve, Meet the Beatles UK were at 4th Street Live! to play the free lunch concert, following Hal Bruce. After a short rest, the gents were on stage again at 7 pm, on the Lawn Stage. After the final show Sunday evening on the Fountain Stage, Meet the Beatles UK had played 6 sets in full costume, with the sun offering 90 plus degree heat. The time and attention to detail spent recreating an epic band experience was clear as the chords were as precise as the period clothing and instruments. Cues were hit spot on, with the traditional bow following the earlier period songs.
The newcomers were great sports about the shows and loved seeing all the Beatles fanatics over the weekend. The crowds were in line to have photos taken with the band and the lovely British accents won the hearts of many. As the weekend progressed, the size of their crowd grew as word quickly spread around the venue about Meet the Beatles UK. Notably, Dave Hambridge (George) was frequently mentioned as a superior guitarist by more than one festival goer.
Steve Hemming took his place as Paul seriously, learning to play bass as a lefty-which is no small feat for a natural righty. Christopher Webb (Ringo) is the just the opposite as he is a lefty, yet plays right. Lee Hambridge (John), has the personality of John Lennon and lets it come through on stage. Dave Hambridge (George), is an articulate guitarist with a voice very similar to George Harrison. Steve took a few moments to chat after their set Sunday evening, “this is the greatest thing in the world to us”, in a charming British dialect. “We can’t wait to come back. We love it”. Louisville native and famed Abbey Road keyboardist, Mark Bayer of RAIN joined lads for sets as their keys guy-adding a nice studio feel to the live performances.
The mates talked about the language barrier while here in town, “People asked if we’re Aussies, or staying in character. I was a bit difficult to understand people when we arrived, but we managed”, Lee commented. “The accents aren’t too thick since we are from the midlands, but phrases and words have different meanings here in the states”, Steve said. Christopher added, “I find myself speaking more British here than I do at home.” Meet the Beatles UK did not let language deter them meeting new friends at Abbey Road, participating in the all night sing alongs.
Meet the Beatles UK is known as the “Ultimate Fab Forgery” in England where they lads routinely play at festivals, parties, and of course, The Cavern Club. Lee and Dave, along with Steve and Chris insist on playing Beatles music straight, that is they do not insert their own interpretations into their shows. Complete costuming, instruments, and melodic voices come together to welcome the audience as a part of the show.
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