Bootleg Beatles back to fill the void

Bootleg Beatles Adam Hastings as the new John
Bootleg Beatles Adam Hastings as the new John

IT has been 45 years since The Beatles’ last concert (in Candlestick Park, San Francisco on August 29, 1966), yet the demand to hear their music remains as high as ever. The Bootleg Beatles have dedicated themselves to filling the void and they are back at the City Hall on Friday.

This year is particularly poignant for Andre Barreau, who has portrayed George Harrison in the Bootleg Beatles for 32 years, as November 29 was the 10th anniversary of Harrison losing his battle with cancer. The band performed in front of George in 1996, after which Andre had a lengthy conversation with him.

Bootleg Beatles - credit David Wardle

Bootleg Beatles - credit David Wardle

By contrast The tour is the first for Adam Hastings, who has added his raspingly accurate Lennon vocals to the line-up, replacing Neil Harrison (who has portrayed Lennon in the Bootlegs since their formation 31 years ago).

In fact, the Bootleg Beatles were the first band that Adam ever saw perform live – he met Neil and got a signed poster after a gig at Newcastle City Hall. Adam recalls, “I had three posters on my bedroom wall – Nirvana, one of the real Beatles and the autographed Bootlegs poster – in my mind as a lad they all had equal status, so to be joining them full time is amazingly ridiculous!”

The line-up is completed by David Catlin-Birch as Paul McCartney and Hugo Degenhardt as Ringo Starr. They will be accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra, who help them faithfully re-create many of the hits the Beatles never performed live.

Ian Soutar