Haywards Heath-based producer Jef Hanlon concedes you won’t get to troop outside to stare upwards at an impromptu roof-top concert.
But in every other respect, you will get the full effect of The Beatles’ celebrated Abbey Road Studios recordings when The Sessions starts an 11-date tour following its sold-out world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall.
The tour takes in the Brighton Centre on April 6.
Set in a state-of-the-art reproduction of the iconic Abbey Road Studio 2, The Sessions will stage musically-spectacular new live renditions of the timeless albums recorded there by The Beatles in an evening which is part blockbuster stage show, part access-all-areas musical documentary, an authentic voyage through events that shaped popular music history.
Inspired by Here, There and Everywhere, the memoir of the show’s creative consultant and Grammy-winning former Abbey Road sound engineer Geoff Emerick, The Sessions will be the closest an audience can get to experiencing The Beatles live and at the height of their glory, Jef and the team promise.
No fewer than 45 people will take the stage. The seven vocalists will comprise two ‘Johns’ two ‘Pauls’ two ‘Georges’ and one ‘Ringo’ in order to recreate the albums’ (until now) inimitable vocal harmonies. A further seven musicians will use historically accurate instruments to recapture the Beatles’ multi-instrumentalism. Meanwhile, a 21-piece orchestra will use the exact musical arrangements of the originals; and eight studio technicians will help relive the Eureka moments that created The Beatles’ sound and changed recorded music forever.
It needed a special show to lure Jef out of retirement, and this is it: “I was in central London for 40 years, and my wife and I ran my business from there. But in the mid-2000s I bought a house just outside Haywards Heath and finally retired in 2012. And then Stig (Edgren, the show’s executive producer) persuaded me to go back in with this. I was just absolutely taken with the project, which I had been aware of him developing for a few years. I worked with him doing the Virtual Elvis tour, with Elvis on the big screen, and we became good friends. I just got sucked into it. Having been mostly a promoter all my working life, I did a viability study of the show, and it was clear it was totally ground-breaking and mind-blowing.”
Each of the albums recorded at Abbey Road will become a ‘Suite’ all of which form part of The Sessions’ definitive Beatles Overture, driving the true story of how they made the records that shaped the next half century of popular music and culture.
The multi-million-pound production is set in a replica of the Abbey Road studio, designed and made by Stufish, the entertainment architects behind set designs for live shows, including The Rolling Stones and AC/DC.
The arena show will place the audience around three sides of the ‘studio’, with venue capacities limited to place the audience at eye-level with the performers and maintain the fly-on-the-wall intimacy of the piece.
“We wanted to be as true to the original process as possible. All instrumentation, arrangements and vocals will be performed identically to the original recordings. There will even be seven singers to recreate the multi-tracked vocals pioneered by The Beatles. This show does not seek to be a look-a-like show, but rather a sound-a-like, with the singers being the best Beatles imitators in the world.”
Tickets cost £40-47.50. Call 0844 8471515.
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