Three Rivers Commercial News | Alek Frost, Managing Editor
THREE RIVERS — 1964 the Tribute, a Beatles tribute band that Rolling Stone Magazine has called the “Best Beatles Tribute on Earth,” will bring Beatlemania to downtown Three Rivers when they perform at the Riviera Theatre on both Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1.
A lot has changed since 1964 the Tribute was established in 1984 but Mark Benson, a founding member of the band who performs as John Lennon, said at least one thing hasn’t changed.
“We quickly found out that there’s no demographic, it’s not included in Beatles fans. We had a granddad and his seven-year-old grandson in the front row about a month ago, and they were both singing and your know, carrying on and having a great time. I mean, that’s just unbelievable,” Benson said.
“It is completely non-generations, nonracial, non-social structure, on-gender — none of those walls exist — everybody just becomes a Beatles fan. The thing that is most consistent is it unites everybody.”
Benson said the band named itself 1964 the Tribute because it wanted to show what it was like to see the Beatles live, and since the Beatles only toured from 1963-1966, the year 1964 seemed like the perfect fit.
“We wanted to show people what that was like, and since they only toured up until 1966, we choose to the music from like ‘Revolver’ and before —only the kind of stuff they did or the records at least that they chose from while they were touring.” he said.
Benson added that the band attempts to provide a performance that is as authentic as possible but there is one aspect of a Beatles performance they don’t atempt to recreate, at least not anymore.
“The Beatles segment of a Beatles concert was literally 30 minutes, that’s it. They did 12 songs, never an encore. They had two or three opening acts so the whole thing was several hours but their segment was only that. We tried to do that in the beginning but nobody was having it,” Benson said.
“‘No, no, it’s authentic, I swear!’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah, get it up there.’ Anyway, so our show is a little bit longer than their concerts, in that way it’s not very authentic but all of the guitars, the amplifiers, and the clothing, — everything that we can get to produce what they had onstage, coming off the stage, is what we’re trying to do too, so that when you come into a venue it’s like what you would have seen had you gone to a concert (during that time).”
1964 the Tribute has performed once before at the Riviera Theatre, and Benson said he’s looking forward to returning to Michigan next month.
“Michigan has been a great state for us — we’ve gotten a lot of work in Michigan over the years — and I always look forward to going up there. We’re based out of Akron, Ohio, so it’s not a long jaunt, and we’ve got a lot of what we call ‘extended family’ up there. So I’m really looking forward to seeing them and just getting back onstage, looking out and seeing people having fun,” he said.
While a rock & roll show isn’t always acceptable for all ages, Benson said a 1964 the Tribute show is “good, clean fun.”
“The one thing I don’t think people realize right off the bat is that as you know rock & roll and good clean, fun don’t always go together but this is a great example of a great rock & roll, great ballads and all the songs are about love in some form or other. So it’s a really positive thing — you bring anybody from any part of your family, it’s just a great night out, it really is,” Benson said.
1964 the Tribute will perform at the Riviera Theatre on Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1, with each performance beginning at 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.trriviera.com or at the Riviera Theatre’s box office in downtown Three Rivers. Tickets for either performance cost $35 in advance or $40 on the day of the show. For more information on 1964 the Tribute visit 1964theTribute.com