Emmy-winning Beatles tribute Fab Four performs at Rose today



Since forming in Los Angeles in 1997, the Fab Four: The Ultimate Beatles Tribute has been on a nonstop musical adventure that wasn’t even stifled by the coronavirus pandemic. The group, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights today continues to travel the globe, entertaining audiences from Australia and Brazil to Japan and the United Kingdom.

The show has provided some unexpected experiences for the members of the Fab Four, like performing at Paul Stanley’s birthday party and rocking Dave Grohl’s wedding. The group appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ TBS special in 2010 and won an Emmy Award for its 2013 PBS special.

“On one hand, we’re surprised at the different opportunities we’ve had because we’re not the Beatles,” group founder Ron McNeil said. “On the other hand, people tell us we’re as close as they can get to the Beatles, which is flattering. I understand what they mean is you don’t get to hear the Beatles performing those songs live anymore. When you see the four characters on stage, the way people remember them, it gives them a little bit of a nostalgic feeling. It’s a little taste of what it would be like to see the Beatles live so it has really been an incredible trip.”



Immersive experience

Getting the music correct is crucial, which McNeil has fixated on since the early days of the Fab Four. The musician, who portrays John Lennon in the show, has been equally focused on creating a full theatrical production that chronicles the career of the Beatles with era-appropriate costumes and wigs, onstage banter and special effects.

“We knew early on we had to up our game in every sense of the word, from making custom costumes to learning how to do makeup and wigs,” McNeil said. “We just learned different things from each other as we went along. We started adding video and jokes to our show. We added Ed Sullivan and a whole bunch of other things people started copying. Ten years later, everyone’s show pretty much looks like the Fab Four. We’re flattered by that, you know, it’s cool. People have come to expect seeing it now.”

Adapting to changing technology is important when producing a themed show that appeals to longtime fans of the Beatles and tech-savvy younger listeners recently exposed to the music.

“It is pretty amazing the way the Beatles keep going,” McNeil said. “Things like Rock Band, a new print of a film or the ‘Get Back’ documentary keep people thinking about the Beatles. There won’t ever be a time when people aren’t thinking about them, so I think we’ll continue to have a career.”

Online concerts

Performing live is crucial for the livelihood of tribute acts. The global shutdowns would’ve been devastating for the Fab Four if McNeil and his team didn’t wisely transition to livestreaming.

“We’re not Styx or something where we’re making money from our albums or anything like that,” McNeil said. “Our job is being on the road, in front of people. When I saw what was going to happen, I was afraid it would be the end of us. I got everybody in a big meeting in March 2020. I said, ‘Listen, we’ve got to turn our headquarters into a studio and do some livestreams or we’re not going to make it.’”

Transforming the band’s rehearsal space into a video performance studio took some work but the effort paid off in numerous ways.

“The studio area was basically storage, so we spent about a month cleaning it all up,” McNeil said. “We painted one wall green and started experimenting. We tried doing it with the camera on a phone but that didn’t look good. Then we bought some lighting and got two or three different switchers. We ended up getting six inexpensive cameras and started figuring out how to use those. It was crazy. It was really weird but it was a lot of fun. It was definitely a learning experience.”



Virtual to IRL

Throughout the shutdown, the Fab Four’s livestream events varied from full album performances to themed sets inspired by the Beatles live BBC recordings or the band’s early days at the Cavern Club.

“Doing the livestreams really helped us out,” McNeil said. “We did all kinds of things we hadn’t done in a long time. It helped us stay sharp and we actually got some fans from it. If you know somebody that likes the Beatles, even if they don’t like tribute bands, bring them. If they want to see a really good representation of the Beatles catalog, they’ll enjoy the show, I promise. There’s nothing like being in the room for these songs.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.


Who: The Fab Four: The Ultimate Beatles Tribute

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$48

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: www.thefabfour.com

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