Something weird happened last year. I kind of got obsessed with The Beatles. It came out of nowhere and took me down a rabbit hole of watching lots of old footage on Youtube, buying memorabilia (we all need a Hot Wheels Yellow Submarine, right?) and going on the Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool. I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to. When I heard that the Royal Northern Sinfonia were celebrating their hits with Beatlemania at The Sage Gateshead, the fan girl in me couldn’t resist.
Conducted by West End Musical Director Alfonso Casado Trigo, the orchestra appeared on stage in high spirits, some of them wearing flares, wigs and novelty glasses. After a mesmerising overture featuring She Loves You, Help, The Long and Winding Road, Ob-La-Di,Ob-La-Da and Eleanor Rigby, the RNS were joined by vocalists Jenna Lee-Jones, Rebecca Lock, Jon Boydon and George Maguire who took it in turns to sing the songs solo, as a duet and as a four piece. The first half kicked off with Magical Mystery Tour as an ensemble before classics such as Back in the USSR, The Fool on the Hill were covered individually by Jenna and Rebecca respectively (both of their voices gave me goosebumps). I also enjoyed Ticket to Ride (a duet with Rebecca and George) and A Hard Day’s Night, sung by Jon.
After the interval we were treated to hits from the psychedelic phase – Strawberry Fields Forever (my favourite), Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and I Am The Walrus mixed in with earlier classics such as She Loves You and Can’t Buy Me Love. The singers had some great costume changes – the sparklier the better and during Yesterday (sung by Jon and George, ironically) I just sat back and realised the brilliance of the songwriting and the timeless quality of the music, and wondered if the musicians appreciated this music as much as say, Mozart.
The finale featured Hello, Goodbye, All My Loving, Something, Hey Jude, Drive My Car and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer before launching into a rousing rendition of All You Need Is Love (audience members had voted for their favourite Beatles song prior to the concert). In the middle of political chaos and stressful times, we need music more than ever to soothe and calm our nerves. Beatlemania definitely provided a big dollop of positivity and hearing these classic songs played by an orchestra of the quality of the Royal Northern Sinfonia was an unforgettable treat.
To find out more about upcoming RNS concerts please click here
*I received two tickets in exchange for a review