1969 Show and Abbey Road

The Brighton Beach Boys gave a fairly electric rendition of some of the greatest and most celebrated musical bangers from the year 1969, as well as the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’. There were some pretty frustrating sound quality problems, particularly in the first half, but the band overcame them valiantly and what they lacked in sound precision they made up for in vivacity and some amusingly wacky moments of spectacle.

The first half of the performance was composed of a number of hits including songs by The Who, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. The fastest pace hits were definitely the more engaging and fun in this half as some of the slower ones dampened what was generally a vibrant, buzzing crowd. There were a few problems with sound; a repeated buzzing occurred at intervals during the singing which the band managed to ignore and which wasn’t too unpleasant, but the main problem was that the sound quality wasn’t up to scratch. There was a guest performance by a soulful guest singer, Lucy Jules, of ‘The first time ever I saw your face’ and it was incredibly difficult to decipher the individual lyrics in what was undeniably a beautiful voice. In spite of this, the audience were continually nudging each other and excitably talking about how much they loved each of the hits.

The second half was a great improvement in almost all respects. The group performed a diverse sample of songs from ‘Abbey Road’ which captured beautifully the album’s range, from psychedelic funky tunes to the more melancholic ambient ones. This section had the audience explode with joyful clapping and dancing. It was a real joy to see so many (mainly older) people grooving to the hits of their youth - they seemed to be having the time of their life.

The band was composed of the musical director and compere, a few guitarists, drummers, a string section, and a brass section. Glen Richardson, singer, guitarist and pianist, was absolutely superb – he had a wonderful voice and great musical ability which was peppered with charm and presence. The ensemble worked really nice together and built towards some powerful crescendos and wonderful harmonies. Sometimes the timing sounded a little off but having a done a bit of research it seems that the church setting would have distorted the sound due to the echo. On the whole, it did sound great.

All Saints Church in Hove, with its high ceiling, beautiful statues and artwork, provided a pretty magnificent backdrop for the performance. It gave the show a depth and emotional influence – sentimental I know – but it felt as though this elegant setting worked well with the nostalgic quality of the hits, creating an atmosphere of pleasant reminiscence. I would say that the lighting was a bit of a let-down. The bright blue and green was quite garish and unsettling and didn’t work particularly well with the atmosphere in the church.

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The Blurb

The Brighton Beach Boys reconvene the brilliant Psychedelic Love Orchestra for a musical journey through 1969: renditions of classic hits and musical hidden gems created at this pivotal point in time. The trip culminates in a live recreation of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. Treat yourself! Love this? See Life of Brian and Pet Sounds v. Sgt Pepper listings.

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