“Two of Us: The Ballad of John & Paul”
February 2, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
January 2, 2013, Dix Hills, NY – In shared commemoration of Sir Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday and the annual February anniversary of when The Beatles first came to America in 1964, the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center and The John Lennon Center for Music & Technology will present “Two of Us: The Ballad of John & Paul,” the ambitious and sensitively-prepared new show from Long Island’s top Beatles tribute band Mostly Moptop.
The concert will explore the legendary songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney—a fascinating interpersonal and creative relationship that began when the two were just boys in Liverpool, England. “Through the songs in the show, the audience will see and hear how John and Paul thrived and matured as they grew into manhood—only to then maintain separate but equal lives as artists, husbands, and fathers on their own up to the time that Lennon was tragically killed in 1980,” says Anthony Pomes, frontman for Mostly Moptop and Advisory Board member of The John Lennon Center for Music & Technology at Five Towns College. It was Pomes who planned and created the newest of the group’s “concept concerts” primarily with fellow bandmate John Tabacco.
When asked about how the new show was planned, Pomes recalls that “John and I spent months this past summer compiling notes and sifting through every song that John and Paul wrote or sang before, during, and after the Beatle years and leading up to Lennon’s death.” The songs were selected, according to Pomes, “very carefully with an ear aimed towards how the music worked together as a whole—as a result, the show is very much a call-and-response between the words and music of each composer . . . particularly when those words and music signal direct collaboration between the two Beatles.” Examples of this special musical kinship between Lennon and McCartney will be heard throughout the show in songs like “She Loves You,” “We Can Work It Out,” “A Day in the Life,” and “I’ve Got a Feeling,” among others.
The occasion of Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday this past June 18th held a special poignancy for Tabacco, who traditionally handles most of the McCartney vocals when the band performs. “I felt the time was right,” Tabacco says, “to also shine a light more fully on the special contributions that Paul brought to the music and memories of The Beatles.” A good example, according to Tabacco, is the song “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the 1966 album Revolver: “While the song isdefinitely a Lennon track,” observes Tabacco, “the psychedelic tape loops heard throughout were definitely brought to the table by McCartney, who had been experimenting with London’s avant-garde movement for months before Lennon’s track was even recorded.”
Just as Lennon and McCartney could not be the Beatles without George Harrison and Ringo Starr, both Pomes and Tabacco knew that the intricacies of the new show would not be possible to execute until they started to work and rehearse the material with their Mostly Moptop bandmates Edward Franz and Paul Michael Barkan. “It’s one thing to plan a show in your mind and on paper,” states Pomes, “but it’s something else completely once you throw that show out into the air and try to make everything flow smoothly.” Pomes and Tabacco both commend the talents of Franz, who they credit with “keeping us aware of how the material would work—or not—in front of a live audience,” and with Barkan, whose deeply visionary work with his own excellently-reviewed Beatles Magical Orchestra concerts was key to the band’s collective grasp of all song details.
Barkan was also responsible for bringing a new musical guest to the party on this show. In addition to longtime Moptop concert collaborators Don Larsen and Barbara Maurer-Raniere, the group will be joined by brilliant local multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrew Lubman, whose own inspired series of YouTube videos (in which Lubman is shown performing classic Beatles tracks note-for-note, and instrument-by-instrument) have achieved their own unique and quickly-growing popularity. “Andrew is like a long-lost Moptop brother to us,” quips Pomes, who knew Lubman was perfect for the show within 30 seconds of their first spirited rehearsal together. “He thinks the same way we do about all things Beatle,” Pomes goes on to say, “and his obsessive attention to detail mirrors that of everyone in our band. People are going to be blown away when they hear what we are doing with Andrew aboard.”
In the end, however, the true center of the concert comes from those two most crucial of emotional states—sadness and joy. “When John met Paul all those years ago, the mutual loss of their mothers brought deep sadness to them both,” says Pomes. “Out of that shared inner place of loss, I like to think that John and Paul helped each other to find a special kind of joy through music.” In the months following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, the joy of Beatlemania helped wipe away much of the nation’s sadness. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which has caused so much damage and heartache recently,” Tabacco says, “we hope to bring some of the joy that John and Paul found together to our audience.”
MOSTLY MOPTOP is comprised of: Anthony Pomes (rhythm and lead guitar, bass, piano, and vocals); John Tabacco (drums, piano, and vocals); Edward Franz (lead and rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals); and Paul Michael Barkan (bass, keyboards, miscellaneous instruments, vocals).
Tickets for the February 2, 2013, 7:30 p.m., performance are $20. For more information and ticket sales, please contact the Dix Hills Center for the Performing Arts Box Office at (631) 656-2148