Keeping iconic bands alive: Provo welcomes Beatles tribute band

A fan of the Beatles shows up two hours early to see a performance of the tribute band Imagine: Remembering the Fab Four in Provo. Even though the original band broke up more than 50 years ago, people all over the world still get the chance to experience the musicians’ essence through tribute bands. (Andrea Zapata)

People of all ages attended a Beatles tribute band’s concert at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo on Saturday night.

The concert lasted about an hour and a half, consisting of several of the Beatles’ best-known songs. The audience was invited to dance and sing along during the show.

Despite the euphoria the Imagine: Remembering the Fab Four band caused on Feb. 5, tribute bands have historically generated mixed opinions among music fans.

According to an article by The New York Times, for some the musicians who make up tribute bands are mere impostors or pretenders, trying to take advantage of the fame and work of other famous musical groups such as Queen, ABBA and Nirvana.

For others, however, these tribute bands are the only way to get a taste of their favorite bands and songs.

Life-long Beatles fan Brad Grob attended the Saturday night show and commented on his respect and gratitude for the people who are part of tribute bands. He said it makes reliving their favorite music groups’ performances possible.

“They’re obviously not the Beatles, but you can’t go see the Beatles anymore so it’s really the next best thing,” Grob said.

The members of Imagine: Remembering the Fab Four said their sole purpose is to express the admiration they have for the Beatles and to show that feeling through their performances.

Even though they said they have not faced any negative or harsh criticism during their 28 years together, the members of the tribute band are aware of the responsibility they take when playing the parts of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

“Being a tribute band is a double-edged sword because people love the songs you play and they also know how the songs go, so you need to do your best to capture that essence,” band member Tom Coburn said.

Coburn, who plays the part of John Lennon, said he has felt the gratitude of the audience after the group’s performances during the years he has been a part of the tribute band.

“The best part of doing these shows is when you see a 70-year-old man with his kids and grandkids, and they’re all singing the songs you’re playing,” Coburn said. “Unless you’re an athlete playing in a stadium, I don’t know if there’s any better feeling in the world.”

Brad Armstrong, who plays George Harrison, said he feels like he and his band members are the luckiest people and have the greatest job: They get to be their most beloved musicians for a living.

“The best part of it is the people that you meet, all the places that you go, all the experiences that you have — it’s priceless,” Armstrong said.

Imagine: Remembering the Fab Four sings the song “She Loves You” by the Beatles at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo. During the show, members of the audience clapped their hands, jumped around and sang along to some of the most famous pop songs from the British group. (Andrea Zapata)

“We grew up with The Beatles,” 72-year-old concert attendee Debra Hills said. “They had and still have a huge following, so age makes no difference and it shows on the people who showed up to tonight’s concert.”

The audience on Saturday night ranged from college students to retired couples.

“The Beatles are timeless, and they appeal to every single age,” said Jensen Diederich, a BYU Vocal Point member who attended the concert. “Looking around, I see young teenagers and I see old people: Everybody’s here ready to jump and sing along.”

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