There’s a difference between the Fab Four and any cover band that plays Beatles music however they want.
It’ll be easy to spot Sunday, 8 p.m. at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.
“When you get into tributes, you have the play the songs as close as when the needle hits the vinyl,” said Gavin Pring, a member of The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute. “I know younger people won’t understand what needle hitting the vinyl means.”
Every harmony. Every lick. Every move. Every instrument, down to how they were held. The Fab Four even purposely perform every mistake made by the British iconic Beatles members Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
“We have to play the mistakes, which is weird,” said Pring, who has been in the Fab Four for almost 20 years, and has a natural affinity for the Harrison role.
“I love John. I love Paul. I love all of them,” Pring said. “But I always thought George was in a good position because he was kind of free to move around. He had very unique idiosyncrasies. He would look out into the crowd, and it looked like he spotted someone that he knew, and then he’d look back quickly. He’d dance on one leg. He called it the Liverpool leg.”
While Pring learned the moves quickly, there were other similarities with Harrison that really sealed the deal. When he used to be with another Beatles group, Pring would to tune the band’s guitars. He had to, because he said they were always out of tune.
“A big George Harrison fan asked me, ‘Do you tune the guitars because George did?’” Pring said. Apparently, Harrison had the same guitar frustration.
One really cool memory is how Pring actually got to share the stage with McCartney. Harrison died in November 2001. Lots of bands were invited to a memorial concert the next year in Liverpool. Though Pring’s wasn’t among them, they stuck around anyway.
“We waited outside, hoping that we could play,” Pring said. “And then a band from Europe didn’t turn up, so we managed to play two songs… When we got off stage, Paul McCartney was there. I was like, oh sugar. There he is. He was smaller than me. I thought he was going to be way taller.”
After they were introduced, McCartney told Pring, “You look a little bit like George.”
“And I told him, ‘You look a little bit like Paul,” Pring said. “He gave me a hug, and he said, ‘George would have loved this.’ It was great.”
Although they have different people able to play several of the Beatles roles, Pring said the lineup for Montgomery’s Fab Four is the same that won an Emmy for a 2013 PBS special.
Although the Beatles active era was from 1960 to 1970, they were actually only together as a whole for a little under 8 years. In that time, they produced legendary songs like "Can't Buy Me Love," "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Twist and Shout,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Eight Days a Week.”
Among them, Pring has a favorite song: “Here Comes the Sun,” written by Harrison for the 1969 Abbey Road album. Pring recalled a stretch of Las Vegas performances where he had to do that song at least 12,000 times.
“I never got bored with it,” Pring said.
As the Fab Four transitions through different Beatles eras, Pring said they’ll have at least three costume changes.
Pring admits that U.S. shows like Montgomery’s are a little different than what they’d do in England, basically because the Beatles history began there at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and they’d include that there.
“The history of the Beatles in America started on the Ed Sullivan Show,” Pring said.
Along with the Fab Four, a fifth member is part of Montgomery’s show. They have a character for Ed Sullivan, introducing the band as if they’re on Sullivan’s classic TV show and interacting with the audience.
“Other groups have videos of Ed Sullivan or of an Ed Sullivan impersonator, but we have an actual physical guy,” Pring said. “It helps out, because If you break a string or you need him to go on longer, you just keep that guy going.”
Tickets for the Montgomery show are available online for between $22 and $52 at mpaconline.org, or by calling the box office at 334-481-5100.
Follow the band online at thefabfour.com.
Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel covers things to do in the River Region. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: The Fab Four Beatles tribute band will perform in Montgomery