Back to Abbey Road

Dear Liza,

I know you and your daddy listen to lots of music together, so I imagine you have heard of The Beatles. They were four musicians from England who were very popular when I was a girl, in the 1960s and 1970s. Their music is still studied and listened to today, and listening to it was the second part of our adventure in Alberta.

This year is the fifty year anniversary of the Beatles’ most popular record album, Abbey Road. To celebrate, a group called The NowHere Band were performing the entire Abbey Road album, live at the Alberta Rose Theater! Grandpa Nelson had bought us tickets.

We got there early, because the show was sold out and we wanted good seats. Waiting in line, we enjoyed some more of the quirkiness of Alberta with this sign.I didn’t take any pictures during the performance, because that is a very rude thing to do. I even asked an elderly lady to get off her phone, but I felt bossy doing it.

What surprised me most, at first, was that The Beatles only had four guys, but The Nowhere Band has eight regular band members, plus a few extra female singers, two violins and a cello, a few saxophones and a trombone. This is because for a lot of their later music, the band used orchestras to help give their music more interest and depth.

Also surprising was that since performing the whole album would only take 45 minutes, and that’s not much of a show (so they said) , the band performed a random and wonderful collection of Beatles songs first.

The music was wonderful! The website for the band is very vague about giving the members’ names… there will be a photo of ten people and a list of 20, in no particular order, so I can’t tell you who sang what. But they were all very good. The bass player, and drummer, as well as all the vocalists, have serious rock and roll chops. They kept the original arrangements, but seeing and hearing it live, with the room vibrating with drums and bass guitars, made every song more special.

The group said that some music just needed six voices, and when they sang Paperback Writer, it did. In My Life, a simple song about remembering, only needed three voices, but kept the original harpsichord piece which made it so special.

The group took a well- deserved rest at intermission. The woman who sang most of John Lennon’s most difficult parts, like She’s So Heavy, worked her voice very hard and needed recuperation time.

The second part of the show was, as advertised, the Abbey Road album start to (almost) finish, from Come Together to The End. The orchestrations, complexity of sound and harmonies were almost perfect. Because has really close harmonies, and they were just off enough to rattle my ears a bit. But the drum solo was amazing.

When the band took bows and left the stage after The End, several of us turned to our partners and said “They’re not done…where is Her Majesty?” And of course, the audience clapped and hooted until the band returned, singing the adorable 45 second love song, to finish the show.

We were all happily full of music and memories as we walked out into the really chilly evening, to find the car and head home.

What a wonderful day of art, music, food, and the company of my people!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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