from The Advertiser, Adelaide, 6 November 2000
All You Need Is ... Beatles
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and guests conducted by David Measham
Festival Theatre, Saturday
By Stephen Whittington
How many holes does it take to fill the Festival Theatre? One very
large one, which the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and a superb line-up of Australian rock artists filled with the evergreen music of the Beatles.
They’ve been going out of style in the wake of successive waves of
punk, techno, and hip hop, which have changed popular music almost beyond recognition, but they’re still guaranteed to raise a smile among listeners of a certain age.
Orchestral rock concerts are frequently tacky affairs which do a
disservice to the music and are demeaning to the orchestra.
Likewise, Beatles tributes by clone bands rarely rise above the level
of farce. But this concert avoided the pitfalls and was something f an
artistic triumph, as well as a genuine crowd-pleaser. I can’t remember
an ASO concert where everyone was obviously having a good time. When people start dancing in the aisles at an orchestral concert, something is definitely going on.
Part of the reason is classical music has already left its imprint on
the Beatles through George Martin’s arrangements. So there is a genuine reason for the orchestra to be there.
Equally vital to the success of this concert were the lead vocalists,
possibly the three most talented male rock singers in Australia – Glenn Shorrock (The Twilights, Little River Band), Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool, Mondo Rock), and Doc Neeson (The Angels).
Add to them one of the best harmony singers you’re ever likely to hear, Paddy McCartney, who turned out to be a fine soloist as well, and you have a dream team.
Musically they chose the path of musical integrity, not trying to be
clones, but performing the songs as themselves while remaining true to the spirit of the originals.
It’s near impossible to pick highlights out of a program like this. The
idea of playing right through Side Two of Abbey Road as a suite of
almost symphonic proportions was inspired.
Instead of churning out non-stop its, it provided an opportunity to
experience the still astonishing range of the Beatles music through
songs which, although vital parts of the Beatles canon, are less
A true piece of nostalgia for local listeners was the reunion of The
Twilights, still in good shape after 30 years, as the backing band.
At the end of the concert, with their Beatles repertoire exhausted, the band took centre-stage with three of their own hits, bringing the
audience to their feet.
One day I hope someone will publish a sociological study of why
Adelaide’s northern suburbs were, for a time, the cradle of Australia’s rock music talent.
© 2000 Stephen Whittington /Adelaide Advertiser