LIMA — Forget the worries of the world for a time and jump back to a happy place when “1964: The Tribute” brings a Beatles concert to life at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America, we have to ask if we’re really getting the message of what they were telling us?” asked Mark Benson, co-creator of the show, and John Lennon during the concert.
“When you look at the catalogue of their songs, you see how many have love as their theme. They’re all positive songs. You know, love is what spans all age groups, all races, all political parties. It’s love,” Benson said.
And that love is what keeps all ages singing along with the Beatles songs.
“I look out and see a 6-year-old singing along to the third verse of 'Nowhere Man.' I’m like, what? How do you know this? Then I think how lucky am I to see three generations all singing together like that,” he added.
Indeed the songs the tribute show includes are melodies that shaped a generation. “We do about 35 songs per show. There are enough in the catalogue that we can swap some in and out, but there are songs you have to play. I mean, you can’t not play 'Twist and Shout.' There are some that you have to keep in the song list,” Benson said.
The show recreates an early '60s live performance, including period instruments, clothing, hairstyles and onstage banter. The performance showcases songs up to 1966, when the group stopped performing live.
The Tribute has been featured on several television shows, and sold-out appearances around the world, including Carnegie Hall.
When not performing, Benson rebuilds, repairs and restores the instruments for “1964: The Tribute.” The Ohio native has also sold guitars he has made to the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Jackson Browne, the Rolling Stones, The Who, ZZ Top and the Doobie Brothers.
But it’s his work being a Beatle that he truly enjoys. “For a couple of hours a night, we take people away from their cares. It doesn’t get better than that.”