Fab tribute to famous four

Bootleg Beatles
Bootleg Beatles

Fifty years since the Fab Four last played Sheffield is set to be marked with a performance by one of the foremost tribute acts around.

The Bootleg Beatles are back in the city for their almost annual December show – this time marking half a century since The Beatles last UK tour.

The Bootleg Beatles. (Picture by David Wardle)

The Bootleg Beatles. (Picture by David Wardle)

And former Honeycrack drummer Hugo Degenhardt, who performs as Beatles drummer Ringo Starr in the tribute band, admits: “We never really quite stop. We’re always going to be somewhere soon.

“These dates are to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles last UK tour, so we’re playing a comple of the same venues, such as Manchester Apollo and Newcastle City Hall, and nearly all the cities.”

During that last your, The Beatles played two shows at The Gaumont, Barker’s Pool, Sheffield city centre on Wednesday, December 8, 1965 – the cinema finally closed in 1985 and was replaced by the New Odeon cinema – most recently Embrace nightclub – with its bright red steel framework and mirrored glass facade.

And The Bootleg Beatles will mark The Beatles dates with a show just yards away, at Sheffield City Hall.

But they will not be repeating the setlist, as, Hugh admits, fans want to hear all The Beatles hits, not just those ready for public airing in 1965.

“People want to hear the hits, so certain songs are indispensable, but, within that, we can change things. We change the setlist every year to keep it fresh.”

However, the changing setlist means Hugo, who has toured and recorded with a variety of other artists, including Bryan Ferry, Kylie Minogue, Rod Steward and Robbie Williams, has to learn a lot of songs.

“It’s a pretty vast repertoire,” he says. “They build up in quite a short space of time, it’s about 250 songs.”

He admits there is pressure in the “fascinating” challenge to accurately replicate the sight and sounds which brought The Beatles such huge, enduring success.

“They are the most recognisable band in pop history and some of the best music written. We honour it and do our best,”

“You just have to live up to it. It’s not a job I expected to be doing, but it’s a fantastic gig and takes you around the world. It’s an interesting thing, because it’s not about you, you have to rein your ego in.”

But what is the secret to The Beatles’ enduring popularity?

“It comes down to the music,” suggests Hugo, “They were four very, very talented people, They had a chemistry together, went on a fascinating musical journey, took on a lot of influences and made them their own.”

And what about The Bootleg Beatles’ success?

“It comes down to the music and an element of nostagia,” adds Hugo, who has been performing with the band since 2003. “Everyone thinks fondly about the Sixties.

“We get a lot of youngsters coming along, which is fantastic, young children singing all the words.”

And Hugo is promising a show to remember when the band of Hugo, Adam Hastings, as John Lennon, Steve White, as Paul McCartney, and Stephen Hill, as George Harrison, arrive in Sheffield next week.

“It’s a show not just a gig,” he says. “There’s some great music, some of the best pop music every wrtitten, and there are visuals, a musical history of The Beatles, and it’s all live.

“It’s a musical journey and a historial journey and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Bootleg Beatles play Sheffield City Hall on Wednesday, December 16.

For tickets, priced from £31.35, call 0114 278 9789 or visit www.sheffieldcityhall,co.uk site.