Dr. Wizard Productions
REVOLVER - Remembering John Lennon

Dates and Venue 8 December 2010, 8pm | Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville Street

Musicians Mick Dalla-Vee rhythm guitar and harmonica, Skip Prest lead guitar, Michael Sicoly bass and keyboards, Rocket Norton drums

Reviewer John Jane

The “real” Beatles gave their final live performance on the rooftop of the Apple building in London in the middle of the day on the 30th January, 1969. Since then, George Harrison died in 2001 at the age of 57 after a brave battle with cancer and John Lennon was shot down in New York City exactly thirty years before this concert date. While fans around the world gathered to sing Lennon’s songs and pay tribute to the former Beatle on the 30th anniversary of his death, Many Vancouverites made “the pilgrimage” to the Vogue theatre to join Beatles tribute band Revolver in a commemorative concert.

The show began with a multimedia medley of songs from Lennon’s post-Beatles solo career featuring his recorded voice and accompanied with a montage of amateur film footage projected onto a backdrop.

When the four musicians finally took the stage, wearing those iconic classic Italian-styled suits with velvet lapels, they moved right into All my Loving. By the second song, She Loves You, half of the audience were already singing along with the band. Just about everybody knows at least one Beatles tune note-perfect (for me it’s: I want to hold your hand); I sensed that the passionate crowd who turned out on this December 8th probably knew ALL their songs. By the time the band got into the first four bars of Eight Days a Week, it seemed like the entire audience was joining in.

Revolver, who obviously took their name from the seminal 1966 album, continued through the Beatles catalogue in roughly chronological order.

Despite relinquishing physical likenesses to John, Paul, George and Ringo, and a forgivable departure from accuracy, with natural right-hander Michael Sicoly playing his Hofner bass replica right-handed (Paul McCartney was a leftie), Revolver is as good as most and better than many as tribute bands go.

Not surprisingly, Sicoly and Mick Dalla-Vee, who performs as John Lennon take responsibility for most of the vocals; while drummer Rocket Norton provides the occasional narrative of the Beatles back-story.

An unexpected highlight was Sicoly, Dalla-Vee and Skip Prest forming a three part harmony with Nowhere Man. Supposedly self-deprecating, the song is one of the best examples of Lennon's philosophical song writing. The song’s title has been modified to “Nowhere Boy” for a new biopic that chronicles John Lennon's childhood. It was bassist Sicoly who provided the show’s only solo, picking up the acoustic guitar while the other band members left the stage....obviously it was time for McCartney’s signature Yesterday.

The anticipated encore offering of a predictable rendition of the Isley Brothers’ Twist and Shout brought everyone to their feet. Just when the audience believed the show to be over, the boys had one last, less predictable panegyric to the memory of John Lennon. About forty local school children joined the musicians on stage for Happy Christmas (War is Over) - or, better known by its alternative title, So, This is Christmas.

When it comes down to it, a good tribute concert requires only two elements. It must be fun and the tribute artist’s interpretation of the music should be faithful to the original. Judging by the smiles of appreciation on people leaving the Vogue theatre, Revolver was 2-for-2.

© 2010 John Jane