reCAP :: The Fab Faux :: 2019.05.04

May 10  / Friday
Words by Michael Grapel Photos by John Wisdom

Last Saturday at 7:00PM the doors of The Cap opened welcoming diehard Beatles fans into the theater to see the Fab Faux. Anyone that is familiar with the all-star Beatles tribute band knows that they typically do a tour through a classic Beatles album, but this time there was a lot of ambiguity as to what they were going to play. Regardless, everyone knew they were in for a night of amazing music, and just about anything from the Beatles’ catalog is a fan favorite.

Still, when the Fab Faux walked on stage, accompanied by legendary Beatles instruments like Paul McCartney’s Höfner 500/1 bass and George Harrison and John Lennon’s matching Gibson J-160Es, there was a veil of mystery stirring the crowd’s anticipation to see what Beatles tunes were in store. Suddenly, the sound of an airplane landing overhead filled the theater, and the audience instantly knew that they were about to rock out to "Back in the USSR". Often times Beatles purists can be very critical of any artist who tries to replicate their magical sound, but the Fab Faux have dedicated their lives to doing justice for these compositions, getting them perfect all the way down to the exact instruments that The Beatles used in the studio. Jimmy Vivino shredded George Harrison’s iconic guitar solo, and Jack Petruzzelli sang Paul’s lead part with the kind of energy that tells a crowd to dance. Just as in The White Album, the tune seamlessly transitioned into "Dear Prudence" with Will Lee singing John Lennon’s beautiful vocals.

Individually, each member of the Fab Faux have honed in their talent just to replicate John, Paul, George, and Ringo. One of the critical factors to the Beatles’ iconic sound is their vocal harmonies, and the Fab Faux not only perfect these harmonies, but they come as close to their actual voices as anybody since, well, The Beatles. Even the most strict Beatles purist would appreciate the Fab Faux’s respect for continuity.

Between every song, the question of what they were going to play next kept the whole audience captivated. After "Dear Prudence" they jumped back to 1966 and played "And Your Bird Can Sing" from the album Revolver, whose dueling lead guitar part was arguably even more electrifying on stage than on the record. Next was a song from The Beatles’ very own live setlist, "Nowhere Man". Then they moved even further back in time to the days of the Cavern Club, playing "Bad Boy." Jimmy Vivino and Frank Agnello both took guitar solos that showed off their immaculate chops while also getting the entire theater rockin’ out of their seats. Rich Pagano then nailed the classic Ringo drum part on "Ticket to Ride" after that.

It was genuinely mind-blowing seeing certain Beatles songs done live. When they did George Harrison’s masterpiece "Here Comes the Sun" it was like being in the studio with the Beatles. Accompanied by the Creme Tangerine Strings, everyone’s energy shot up for this fan favorite. They included the flute part, violin, cello, and even the same Moog Synthesizer used at Abbey Road. The Beatles never dared to play songs like these live, yet the Fab Faux managed to transport us right into the studio. Other songs required multiple synthesizers, a full orchestra, and a horn section, but with their impressive assortment of mellotrons, the Creme Tangerine Strings, and the Hogshead Horns, they made songs like "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane" sound fuller than ever. Finally, to cap off their first set of the night they did "Got To Get You Into My Life" with the Hogshead Horns providing the funky vibe Paul McCartney wanted. By showing the audience the sheer complexity of these iconic pieces on stage, people gained a lot of perspective into the genius of the Beatles’ work. the Fab Faux’s perfect renditions bring audiences as close to Beatlemania as the sixties.

After a short break they returned to stage to play songs from the solo works of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Just as with the Beatles, they treated every song like a classical score, performing them exactly as heard on the recordings. They opened with Lennon’s "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night", which was the perfect intro to get everyone out of their seats. They continued with Ringo’s "It Don’t Come Easy", followed by Paul McCartney’s "Band on the Run" and George Harrison’s "Wah-Wah." The members of the Beatles kept on defining the sound of the 1970s in their solo careers, and hearing their individual works side by side with one another helps to highlight their own styles post-Beatles breakup. Perhaps their most beautiful song of the night was Paul McCartney’s "Junk." an obscurity from the album McCartney. John’s "Gimme Some Truth" was a highlight featuring a guitar solo that George Harrison played on the original record. Frank Agnello played a ukebanjo for George Harrison’s "Any Road" from his last album Brainwashed. Special guest Jim Boggia sang for Paul McCartney’s "Jet" and later on he sang "Let Me Roll It."

The music of the solo careers of The Beatles is in many ways just as impressive as when they were a group. Ringo’s "Photograph," John’s "Instant Karma," Paul’s "Live and Let Die," and George’s "My Sweet Lord" highlight the stylistic differences between each of the Beatles, and when the Fab Faux played all of these in the same concert those distinctions became visible.

There are few people willing to dedicate their career to solely playing the music of The Beatles, but The Fab Faux takes the songs we all know and sheds new light on them. For somebody that never got the chance to see or hear The Beatles live, or even anybody that did see them live and wants to hear the magic again, The Fab Faux will satisfy your itch for more Beatles. Whether the Beatles intended for some songs to be played live or not, the Fab Faux shocks audiences with their commitment to playing their music right. This combined with their epic control over the stage and audience makes for a performance designed for Beatles fans and music lovers alike.

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