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Review: The Bootleg Beatles at The Subs


By Tim Blake

The Beatles played the Subs twice early in their career – the first show, referred to in his book of lyrics by Sir Paul as being at ‘Stroud Town Hall’ was by all accounts one of the worst shows the band performed, although it was only their second ever show outside of Merseyside.

When they came back later in the year, with a new drummer called Ringo Starr, they had a much better reception, and it was the 60th anniversary of the second show that brought the Bootleg Beatles to a sold-out Subs Room, transformed for the night into a good old fashioned Dance Hall.

The band, in tribute to the occasion, leaned very heavily on the early songs during the opening section of the show, featuring much of the material that ended up on the ‘Please Please Me’ album, which at the time had still to be recorded, but featured in the Fabs’ live set of the time.

All four of the ‘Fabs’ played their parts to perfection, and the hits just kept coming – ‘Love me do’, Please please me’, ‘I saw her standing there’, ‘Twist and shout’, all performed note perfectly by four very talented musicians.

Pictures: Jonathan Duckworth

  • Bootleg Beatles Sep 01 2022 DSC 6497 | Review: The Bootleg Beatles at The Subs
  • Bootleg Beatles Sep 01 2022 DSC 6491 | Review: The Bootleg Beatles at The Subs
  • Bootleg Beatles Sep 01 2022 DSC 6183 | Review: The Bootleg Beatles at The Subs
  • Bootleg Beatles Sep 01 2022 DSC 6033 | Review: The Bootleg Beatles at The Subs

The second section of the show featured songs from the movie years, so of course ‘A hard day’s night’, ‘Help’ and ‘Can’t buy me love’, got a rapturous response from the crowd who were definitely in a party mood.

After ‘Paul’s’ version of ‘Yesterday’ produced a major singalong, the band returned in their ‘Let it be’ personas, to produce version of ‘Come together’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘While my guitar gently weeps’, that stayed completely true to the originals, and yet demonstrated the extraordinary talent of the musicians on stage.

A finale of massed choruses to ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let it be’ topped off a wonderful evening.

If you haven’t experienced the delight of being in a room (or a field) with a Beatle singing Beatles songs, as I have been lucky enough to do many times over the past 40-odd years, this is the best substitute you will ever have. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and it is a testament to the extraordinary body of songs created by the band, and the supreme talent of the musicians involved that they created a very magical event.

The Subs team should be proud of their creativity when booking this evening, it was truly inspired. More like it, please.

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