Abbey Road Christmas at The Belly Up

  • Left-handed Hohner bass?
  • Rickenbacker 6 string?
  • Gibson hollow body 6 string?
  • Minimal drum kit?
  • Cuban heels?
  • Vox amps?
  • Edwardian suits?
  • Bangs?
  • Solid harmonies?
  • Crisp instrumentation?
  • Liverpudlian accents?

Check. Check. Check.

It looks like a Beatles tribute band is in the house. And in this case, the quartet known as Abbey Road was sprinkling in some Christmas songs. Not just the classics from the solo years, but several cleverly arranged blends.

“Silent Night” slid seamlessly into “Norwegian Wood.” Later “Feliz Navidad” segued into “Yesterday.”

As with other Beatles tribute bands, these lads started in the outfits we first saw on The Ed Sullivan Show, followed by the colorful satin uniforms adorning the epochal Sgt Pepper album. The evening finished up with the outfits associated with their solo career, hinted on the Abbey Road cover: George in all denim, John in all white, Paul in the now-excusable knitted sweater vest and Ringo looking dapper in his black suit. Indeed, kudos to Ringo throughout the evening with his ‘pudding’ drum sound, towel dutifully on the drum heads for a flatter sound. 

At The Belly Up the audience spanned many decades. There was obviously a younger audience, who may have been babies or embryos or gleams in the eye when this music was originally released, now enjoying it as much as the grey haired folks like me.

And that is the point. I once pooh-poohed the idea of tribute bands, gamely convincing myself [as the T-shirt says] “I may be old but I saw all the good bands in concert.” The fact is, biology is relentless and the closest many folks will get to those good bands is via a tribute band. If the musicianship is strong and everyone is having a great time like last night, what’s not to like? 

Clearly much of last night’s enjoyment of Abbey Road Christmas was the energy of the live experience, but most of it is the now-eternal nature of the music these four lads magically created in their six year recording career.

How many Beatles tribute bands are there around the world? Google estimates 500.

I expect the number of Beatles tribute bands will only continue to grow.  Exponentially? We can only hope.

(photos by Brad Auerbach)

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.