Beatles v Stones – A Clever Non-Rivalry That Goes Back Half a Century

The rivalry goes back half a century, drummed up by a clever publicist. The bands actually enjoyed each other, Lennon and McCartney gave the Stones “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
In an astute double bill the trumped up rivalry made for a fun evening at The Belly Up.
The Edwardian suited Beatles were introduced by a recording of Ed Sullivan. With the proper guitars pointing in the correct direction, the band admirably delivered the harmonies from the band’s storied first chapter.
The Stones then quickly took the stage. They were a bit slippery with the lineup, as Ronnie was onstage for “Ruby Tuesday” era Stones. But the little girls didn’t mind. Most of the guitar licks were intact. And Mick in his flouncy blouse pranced admirably.

The truly notable observation is that The Belly Up is likely one of the very few venues that hosted both the real Stones and one of their tribute bands.

The sweetness of the Liverpudlians (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) was definitely juxtaposed by the Londoner’s “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”
The Stones’ first set was essentially Through the Past Darkly with a splash of Sticky Fingers, a fine era indeed. Mick pouted and preened, and could easily fill in for an Aerosmith tribute band as well.
Thereafter, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were decked out accordingly. After their eponymous song, instead of the familiar segue into the drummer’s lead vocal on “With a Little Help From My Friends,” they cleverly had Ringo assay “Yellow Submarine.” Ambitiously “A Day in the Life” was served up, and the band delivered.
The Stones responded with more songs from Sticky Fingers. Indeed, the middle part of the evening was best, as it correlated with each band’s recorded apogee.
The Beatles’ music is far more complex, and the band was up to the challenge.
No question, in the right hands tribute bands amplify your appreciation of the real thing. Beatles vs Stones does exactly that, and a splendid time was had by all.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.