Oh to have been a fly on the wall of Abbey Road Studios when The Beatles were recording. Well, now you can be. Cheryl Livingstone finds out more about The Sessions
Set in a state-of-the-art reproduction of the iconic Abbey Road Studio 2, The Sessions will stage breathtaking, musically spectacular, live renditions of the timeless albums recorded there by The Beatles, to take us on a joyous, thrilling and historically authentic voyage through the events that shaped popular music history.
Following the show’s already-sold-out first performance at the Royal Albert Hall on April 1 next year, the production – part blockbuster stage show, part access-all-areas musical documentary – will then travel to arenas in Brighton, Cardiff, Nottingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Leeds and Birmingham, before returning to London for performances at Wembley Arena and the O2.
Inspired by Here, There and Everywhere, the memoir of the show’s creative consultant and Grammy-winning former Abbey Road sound engineer Geoff Emerick, The Sessions will be the closest an audience can get to experiencing The Beatles live and at the height of their glory.
The concept for The Sessions was developed by Stig Edgren (creator of the Elvis Presley: In Concert show) who also acts as executive producer, with Kim Gavin (creative director, London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony, Take That stadium tour and Rugby World Cup 2015 opening ceremony) on board as director, and legendary promoter, agent and producer Jef Hanlon as producer.
Stig Edgren said: “The Sessions – a live re-staging of the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios – will be a ‘musical documentary’ giving audiences an honest, respectful and accurate recreation of how musical history was made.”
“An incredible amount of research has gone into the show,” Jef Hanlon added.
“We wanted to be as true to the original process as possible. All instrumentation, arrangements and vocals will be performed identically to the original recordings; there will even be seven singers to recreate the multi-tracked vocals pioneered by The Beatles. This show does not seek to be a look-a-like show, but rather a sound-a-like, with the singers being the best Beatles imitators in the world. It’s a must for Beatles fans of all ages.”
No fewer than 45 people will take the stage to ensure that the experience is as sonically authentic to the original recordings as it is gloriously euphonic. The seven vocalists will comprise two “Johns”, two “Pauls”, two “Georges” and one “Ringo” to recreate the albums’ until-now inimitable vocal harmonies.
A further seven musicians will use rare, vintage, historically accurate instruments to recapture the Beatles’ renegade multi-instrumentalism, while a 21-piece orchestra will help awaken the dramatic uplifting power of these legendary albums and songs using the exact musical arrangements of the originals. Eight studio technicians will help relive the “eureka” moments that created The Beatles’ era-defining sound and changed recorded music forever.
Each of the albums recorded at Abbey Road will become a “Suite”, all of which form part of The Sessions’ definitive Beatles Overture, driving the true story of how the band made the records that shaped the next half century of popular music and culture.
Kim Gavin, the show’s director, added: “This is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with such a legendary pop catalogue. It is really exciting to bring to life some of The Beatles’ most iconic recording sessions, and offer the audience a glimpse into the band’s creative process.”
The Sessions visits Aberdeen’s GE Oil & Gas Arena at the AECC on May 10, 2016.