Throughout the past year or so, SpiritBank Event Center has been laying low on the concert scene after promising to be a bright new venue in south Tulsa. After an ownership and management change, the arena is now ready to step out of the shadows and re-emerge as a viable new venue for shows in that area. Part of the arenas re-introduction to the entertainment realm comes this weekend as the venue hosts the Classical Mystery Tour on Saturday night, Oct. 16.
With members from a variety of Beatles tribute acts (most notably, Tony Kishman played the role of Paul McCartney in Beatlemania), Classical Mystery Tour combines a Beatles Tribute with strings and symphony orchestra to recreate the Beatles catalogue, especially latter era work, in its complete and original form.
As far as Beatles tributes are concerned, this is a special package, as it recreates the songs as closely as possible to the recorded versions in a live setting, with the orchestral dynamic -- something even the Beatles themselves weren't able to experience in concert. In the process, it not only breathes new life into a classic catalogue, but also opens new doors for our Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. While a few members of TSO are involved in the Tulsa Rock Ensemble, this is a full orchestral accompaniment to a rock playlist, albeit recreating George Martin's orchestration and vision for the Beatles' latter era work.
Even so, it bridges a gap not only between genres, but between audiences, bringing TSO to a new demographic of listeners and making orchestral arrangements cool to a younger generation who might otherwise write off one of our cities underappreciated assets.
This performance is also notable in that it's the first time TSO has performed outside of the downtown area, expanding its reach to south Tulsa for the first time and reaching a group of listeners that likely doesn't travel downtown often for entertainment purposes. Even so, the real magic of the night is held within the songs themselves, fully realizing the Beatles catalogue for the first time in the Tulsa market.
In total, the Classical Mystery Tour's repertoire encompasses more than 30 Beatles songs from across the band's career, but focusing on the latter era work that was marked by orchestral flourishes and full arrangements. That allows some room for shifting from night to night as each concert covers roughly 20-22 songs, keeping the set list fairly fresh for the performers while still working within a reasonably static structure.
Even so, the opportunity to hear classics like "A Day in the Life," "Strawberry Fields Forever," and "Eleanor Rigby" in a live setting with full strings and a close to the chest recreating of the Beatles themselves, brings the music to life again in anew fashion for long time Beatles fans as well as a new generation who may just now be discovering the band.
Tickets range from $40 up to $80 for a full evening's worth of music and complete recreation and re-imagination of the Beatles live catalogue with doors opening at 7pm for the 8pm concert. All in all, that provides an opportunity for almost anyone to experience the Beatles like never before, regardless of budget. Most important for the fans however, is the chance to finally hear tracks like "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Long and Winding Road" fully recreated with the orchestral accompaniment that we've become used to from the recordings but was never implemented with the band's live performances.
The Beatles may be long gone, but their music continues to live on and this orchestral tribute adds life to an already vibrant body of work. Perhaps more importantly to Tulsa, however, it also opens new avenues for our Symphony Orchestra to reach a new demographic and is the first step in breathing new life into a venue that promises to help spark more activity in south Tulsa, making this Saturday evening's show one worth coming out for.
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