By EVAN HAYES
The Liverpool Legends will bring the ultimate Beatles experience to the ears of Findlay fans when they return to the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Widely acclaimed as the No. 1 Beatles tribute show in the world today, the band will celebrate 50 years of the classic album “Abbey Road” with its signature brand of musical and acting performance. Each of the band’s four members plays a different member of The Beatles, striving to recreate every detail of their iconic sound by using costume changes, special effects and vintage instruments.
Tickets are on sale for a cost of $30 to $65. Tickets can be purchased at the Marathon Center box office, 200 W. Main Cross St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, online at mcpa.org, or by calling 410-423-2797 during box office hours.
The Liverpool Legends tour internationally, with shows this year in Mexico City, Ecuador, Chile, India and Israel to name a few. The origins of the band can be traced back to a chance meeting between band member Marty Scott and Louise Harrison, the older sister of late Beatle George Harrison.
“I met George Harrison’s sister a few months after George died,” Scott told the Courier. “I was performing at this Beatles festival, and she was brought in as the guest of honor. I heard she was going to be there, and I’m doing this George Harrison set of songs, kind of freaking out that she was going to be there. The promoters came up to me after the first show and said, ‘Hey, Ms. Harrison would like to speak to you.'”
From there, the connection between Scott — who plays George for the Liverpool Legends — and Louise continued to grow. Still raw from the emotional loss of her brother, Louise felt a connection to Scott, and the two quickly became friends.
“She thought we had met for a reason, that I was brought to her in some way since George passed away. We became really good friends, and hung out that whole weekend,” said Scott. “A week later, she brought me to meet Paul McCartney. I’m sitting on a couch between her and Paul, going, ‘what a bizarre world I’m in.'”
After a couple of years of knowing each other, the two decided to put together a Beatles tribute show. They began auditioning acts in 2005, with the specific goal of creating a group where every member fit their character perfectly. The idea was to preserve the magic of the original band while continuing to honor the legacy of their music.
The show came together in a small theater in Branson, Missouri, where the band still performs to this day. What followed has been a whirlwind ride, propelled further by the seemingly never-ending magic of The Beatles.
“I’d say for about the first year, it was just unbelievable. We’d be in these circles with a lot of George’s friends, and Linda could always get us in places,” said Scott. “We’ve been pretty lucky in the past several years, we’ve done a lot of international stuff. We’ve gotten to record at Abbey Road studio, and that was amazing. We’ve gotten to play with every Beatle-related group.”
The show has grown into an international phenomenon in the 14 years since its formation. The group has headlined California’s Rose Bowl twice, performed at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City, and sold out shows around the globe. The band even scored a surprise Grammy nomination in 2012 in the spoken-word category for the album “Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond,” which they provided the music for.
The Beatles remain at the forefront of popular culture, almost 50 years since the band broke up. Sirius XM radio has a station entirely devoted to the band’s music, playing all Beatles around the clock. One of the band’s albums has been remastered and re-released each of the past three years, including unreleased material. “Yesterday,” a fictional movie about a man who wakes up in a world where no one remembers The Beatles, was released this year and grossed $146 million against a $26 million budget, showing that Beatles mania is still alive and well.
“It seems like The Beatles are bigger now than they were when they were around. It’s been growing and growing every year,” said Scott. “In Mexico City now, we’re selling out 28,000 seats. We’ve been going to Mexico City for years now, and we’re outselling the top Mexican acts, filling the top venues with hard ticket sales.”
Through precise attention to detail and research, the Liverpool Legends have been able to bottle Beatles magic almost better than anyone else in the world. Scott can see it in the faces of audience members during every show.
“They’re singing every word as loud as they can, louder than you. And half of them, they don’t even speak English, which is amazing. We find that everywhere we go,” he said earnestly. “It’s still cool in high schools, colleges. There’s no other band that’s really transferred down like them.”
The group still performs in Branson at the Caravelle Theatre, a popular entertainment venue for tourists. Playing there five nights a week and touring for years has allowed them to hone the show to a certain degree, but the intricacies of emulating the sound and soul of The Beatles lies in the minute details, from the timbre of John’s singing voice to the exact guitar strings George used to pluck. It’s in those details that the Legends truly shine.
“We’ve learned, just having our own venue in Branson for so many years, how to put on a good show,” said Scott. “It’s really more difficult than you’d think. One of the things that makes it hard is that everybody knows the songs, and everybody knows the words.
“Anybody can play a Beatles song, but to do it right, you have to get the personalities and the music right. We try to play everything exactly how it is on the record, and we’re still working at that. You hear things sometimes and you think, ‘man, I never heard that, what is that?’ and you go back and have to relearn something that we’ve been playing for 15 years.”
Through all of the performances, tours and accolades, the connection to Louise has remained a constant for the group, keeping them grounded in the origins of The Beatles. Scott credits Louise with almost all of the band’s major accolades and successes, pointing out her enthusiasm still hasn’t waned at the age of 88.
“It started out with her. Back in those days, she was helping us load the truck, and sewing buttons on our suit,” he laughs. “That one bizarre meeting opened a lot of doors for us. She’s like my sister, we’ve gone through all kinds of stuff together. Most of the time, it’s me trying to keep her out of trouble.”
The Findlay show set list still isn’t decided, but Beatles magic is a given. That magic is what the Liverpool Legends promise to bring to the Marathon Center stage.
“It will be a wide variety, but I will say that everybody in the whole auditorium will be able to sing every word. It’s a fun show, and there will be 8-year-olds, 18-year-olds, 28-year-olds, 68-year-olds and 88-year-olds, I guarantee it,” said Scott. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, what shape or size or color, The Beatles surpass all that stuff.”