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Liverpool Legends heralds start of MAPAC season

WORTHINGTON -- Beatles fans, it's time to get your ticket to ride -- or at least get in on one of the most realistic Beatles performances you may experience in your lifetime.

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Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center is offering a variety of entertainment during its 2017-2018 season. First up: Liverpool Legends (bottom row, third from left), scheduled for Sept. 2. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Beatles fans, it’s time to get your ticket to ride - or at least get in on one of the most realistic Beatles performances you may experience in your lifetime.

 

“This is a total Beatles experience that takes the audience through the Beatles’ career, starting from their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and moving forward through the ‘60s,” explained Tammy Makram, managing director of the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC), of the Liverpool Legends, a group that is set to appear in Worthington at 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

 

“These four performers were hand-picked by George Harrison’s sister, Louise, and you can’t get any more authentic than this.”

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Louise Harrison, a producer of the group, endorsed, “The Liverpool Legends are the very best four guys to portray the Beatles since the only four guys to portray the Beatles were John, Paul, George and Ringo.”

 

Regularly featured in Branson, Mo., since 2005, the Liverpool Legends have won every award that music city offers: Best New Show, Best Band, Best Show and Visitors’ Choice.

 

They also had an acclaimed engagement at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2016, played to an audience of over 17,000 at Mexico City’s Arena Ciudad on April 1, 2017, and were headliners at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., where they entertained 68,000 people.

 

Having performed on a Disney Magic Cruise to Liverpool, England, earlier this month, they even fooled guests into believing they were United Kingdom residents.

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“We got off the ship in Liverpool to see the museum and they thought we were going home,” laughed Marty Scott, who depicts George Harrison.

 

“We’re all basically guys from the Midwest, but our British accents convinced most of the people we were from England.”

 

Scott, in fact a native of the Chicago, Ill., area, serves as the group’s manager and in a phone interview described how he came to be a part of the Liverpool Legends.

 

“I was performing in another Beatles show, based in Chicago, and we were playing at a three-day Beatles convention in 2001 just a few months after George died,” detailed Scott.

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“I was nervous because I knew Louise was there as the guest of honor and I was doing all the ‘George’ stuff in the show, but we met afterwards and ended up hitting it off.

 

“We hung out and became friends, and a week later I was sitting on a couch between her and Paul McCartney thinking to myself, ‘Man, this is weird.’”

 

For a few years, Scott and Harrison were simply friends, but then the two began talking about putting together a “real” show where everyone “did it justice,” as Scott put it.

 

“We ended up finding a cast and we got an offer in Branson right away,” he explained. “We’ve been there 12 years now, and Louise has been a big part of this since we started; she even used to help us load the truck.”

 

Scott acknowledges the quartet has had “quite a few brushes with good luck,” including the fact that the Beatles and their music continue to grow in popularity.

 

“Our show is unique in that we go through the Beatles’ career year by year and use a bunch of costumes to show how the Beatles transitioned as times and looks were changing,” he explained, adding that Louise Harrison provides narration.

 

“We share a history of the Beatles and do a full, complete show that takes the audience through their entire career.”

 

Scott says the Beatles were always among his most favorite bands as he grew up.

 

“I’m an old-school guy who loved the Beatles, the Stones and the Who, and I had the right haircut,” he laughed. “But I didn’t set out to be a full-time, make-believe Beatle for my life.

 

“I’m a songwriter and musician who was in a lot of other cover bands and done original music, but honestly, when I met Louise, it changed so many things,” he continued.

 

“She opened up a lot of doors for us, and I went from being one of five guys who performed original music and crammed into a single hotel room to save money - not the most glamorous life - to flying to Japan, staying in better hotels and making a real living out of it.”

 

Besides playing frequently in Branson and at other U.S. venues, the Liverpool Legends are lauded internationally, with recent concert performances in Ecuador, Israel and Chile, among other locales.

 

“I’ve been to some really crazy places I would never have thought I’d travel to,” Scott admitted. “There are Beatles fans everywhere, and the farther we go, the bigger it is.”

 

Even so, the easy-going Scott says their group will be right at home in Worthington, where the 735-seat Memorial Auditorium is similar in size to the theater where they perform in Branson.

 

“We’re accustomed to playing for different sizes of audiences,” he assured. “It never gets boring because there’s so much of a contrast in the places we perform - and we’ve never been to Worthington.”

 

Scott is quick to point out that part of the reason the Beatles and their music has been so enduring is their excellent musicianship, as well as the evolution of their musical sound.

 

“They were really darn good musicians, and we have to be really good singers to emulate them,” said Scott.

 

“We need to look and act a certain way to be convincing as the Beatles, and it’s challenging to play note for note what was on their records - that’s not very easy, because even they were improvising on their songs in live performances, but to make it sound ‘right’ to our audiences we have to duplicate their sound exactly, and that means using the same guitars, amps and strings they used at each point in their career.

 

“Even our sound engineer is a big part of that, helping us make it as close as we can get to what it was like to see the Beatles live.”

 

Scott is grateful to his parents, who allowed him to purchase his own set of drums when he was a young teenager despite their skepticism that his musical investment would be worth it.

 

“Now my mom works for me,” laughed Scott. “She’s supported me all the way, but her decision to let me get that drum set completely changed my life.

 

“My music has turned into a career for both my parents, too.”

 

Scott says that 95 percent of the Liverpool Legends’ audiences know the words to most of the Beatles’ songs the group plays, and he doesn’t expect the Worthington concert attendees to be any different.

 

“Even eight and 10-year-olds, and 80-year-olds, know the Beatles’ music,” said Scott. “That’s the power of the Beatles - no other act has transferred to every generation, race and country like the Beatles.

 

“We’re lucky enough to be along for the ride, and the music keeps us young.”

 

Scott speculates reveling in a night of Beatles’ music is an elixir of youth for audiences, too.

 

“You walk into the show, and when you walk out, you feel like you’re 16 again because of the emotions and memories the music brings,” Scott said.

 

“It’s a fun time for every age group because the Beatles are ageless.”

 

Tickets for Liverpool Legends: Tribute to the Beatles, which will perform Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center are available at the box office, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by calling 376-9101, or at friendsoftheauditorium.com.

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