no. 211 – The Bootleg Beatles

The Beatles is my all-time favorite band. Unfortunately, all possibility of seeing the four of them together live is lost even before I was born. The closest thing I could have is to attend Beatlefests and the like. Two chances already passed by. First was the Beatlefest Manila in 2010 with Pete Best because I was unaware and second was the Baby’s in Black concert of Ely Buendia, Clementine and The Eggmen last 2013 because I got busy and the “Contemporary take on Beatles songs” on the poster made me wary. So when Emman (a late bloomer, if I may say, loving the band only after watching Across the Universe) asked if I wanted to go watch The Bootleg Beatles, I didn’t hesitate even if it meant being a third wheel. According to the internet, The Bootleg Beatles is the “longest running and most successful Beatles tribute band performing over 4,000 shows”. I was very, very excited.

SONY DSCBiggest disappointment of the night was not wearing a Beatles shirt because all of mine are too loose my Aunt told me I looked like a basahan, Ah, the downside of losing weight (char!). Almost everyone had John, Paul, George and Ringo on their clothes. Emman and I felt like outsiders.

pageWe had three tickets but one couldn’t make it so thank you very much to Czarynna Fae who, in one text message agreed to attend a concert worth a fortune (for bums like us) of a band she isn’t a fan of. She’s so sweet she said she listened to the band’s songs beforehand and she even downloaded a copy of the lyrics so she could sing along (too many “shes” in a paragraph, eh).

SONY DSC Not sure if we arrived early or Filipinos are just notorious latecomers because the venue wasn’t even half-filled when the show started. But nothing can waver my desire to enjoy the night. If it meant being the only audience member to shout and stand and dance, I’d do it. All for the love of The Beatles.

SONY DSCAfter a million advertisements and a front act who sang songs from the 70s, I was bracing myself for disappointment. I know I go to concerts to listen to the band play but the crowd is a factor in terms of enjoyment and the people seem bored.

SONY DSCAnd then I hated myself afterwards for questioning the ability of The Beatles’ music to connect people (naks). Especially when performed by those who have given their lives to bringing to life as close as possible what it would have felt like to see the band live. People started arriving. We stood and danced and hugged each other and shouted when they told us to.

I’m a close-minded Beatles fan. Close-minded in the sense that I am not a fan of their songs being covered because I believe no one can give them justice the way the four bastards did. When I was younger, I made the mistake of buying a Bossa nova rendition of popular Beatles songs and up to now I still cringe at the sight of the word “Bossa nova”. I ended up barely restraining myself from tearing the CD in half (and eventually losing it). Not that I hate all Beatles cover. There are some that are actually nice. Good examples are Fiona Apple’s Across the Universe, Jim Sturgess’ Girl and Ely Buendia’s Dear Prudence. Generally though, I prefer the original.

That’s why I LOVE The Bootleg Beatles. They were smart enough not to try to change the songs. They played them as close as possible to the way they sounded in the albums. Almost every note and tone. Even the mannerisms and background noises and wails and shouts (Jude jude a jude a jude a jude a jude a aaaaaa Waaaaaaa). Just like what one review said, they were “frighteningly real”.

The four of them first appeared in the signature mop top haircut and gray suits to sing what I’d like to call pre-psychedelic Beatles.

SONY DSCAfter that they changed costumes in memory of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

SONY DSCAnd just when I thought I’ve had much more than my money’s worth, they went out looking older, reminiscing Abbey Road.

SONY DSCThough it seemed like it was planned, they went back after the end of the concert and played two more songs because the audience wouldn’t stop shouting “More”.


Set list:

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
  2. Eight Days a Week
  3. If I Fell
  4. Do You Wanna Know a Secret?
  5. She Loves You
  6. Love Me Do
  7. All My Loving
  8. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  9. I Saw Her Standing There
  10. Can’t Buy Me Love
  11. I Feel Fine
  12. Day Tripper
  13. Twist and Shout
  14. Yesterday (solo: Paul)
  15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  16. With a Little Help from My Friends
  17. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  18. Magical Mystery Tour
  19. I Am the Walrus
  20. Penny Lane
  21. All You Need is Love
  22. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (solo: George)
  23. Come Together
  24. Get Back
  25. Don’t Let Me Down
  26. Here Comes the Sun
  27. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  28. The Ballad of John and Yoko
  29. Hey Jude
  30. Let It Be
  31. Long Tall Sally

Whoa, they played 31 and Emman and I only expected 10 to 15!

Though I was waiting for “Something” up to the very end and I wanted to hear Dear Prudence, A Day in the Life, For No One and many others so badly, I was really glad they sang majority of my favorites (All my loving!) plus songs I never thought they’d include because of difficulty (I am the Walrus), general bizarre-ness (LSD) or unpopularity (the Ballad of J and Y). Bonus was my happy song, Ob-la-di and the one-two puch of Sgt. Pepper’s and I Get By, my most favorite complementary tracks ever.

The best played and my current LSS is “Twist and Shout”. Next time, I should watch a Beatles-related concert in a standing-only room so I can lose myself a hundred percent especially on the “Ahhhhhhh ahhhhhh ahhhhh ahhhhhhhh whoa yeah” and “come on come on come on come on come on baby”, the whole 2 minutes and 35 seconds of the song, actually.

Of course The Bootleg Beatles isn’t 100% like the original especially the vocals. There was even another guy who played the piano in Don’t Let Me Down. Overall though, they were really good and it was a fun-filled evening. I wouldn’t mind seeing them again and deluding myself into believing that they’re the real thing. Heck, the producers should make it extra special and require the audience to attend in 60’s fashion.

Thanks to Fae and Emman for sharing the experience with me. Special thanks to Emman for the dinner treat afterwards.



3 thoughts on “no. 211 – The Bootleg Beatles

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