Bootleg Beatles in Campbeltown

Highlight of this year’s Mull of Kintyre Music Festival was The Bootleg Beatles, playing as Saturday night headline band in the Victoria Hall.  I’ve only seen one other Beatles tribute band – Imagine – at the Puyallup Fair in Washington State, and I thought at the time they were really good.  Certainly had me well and truly blissed out.  Here’s a short clip of them at the Puyallup.

But the Bootleg Beatles win the prize for the best tribute band I’ve seen so far.  Before I talk about them, though, Campbeltown’s very own Twisted Melons deserve a huge round of applause.  The Melons were the support band, and opened with a fine, rocking 60s/70s retro set.  Not their usual territory, but they got the evening off to a high energy start.  Here’s one of their videos.

The Bootleg Beatles are everything they claim to be – the world’s premier Beatles’ tribute band – the whole package, from the accents and clothes to the uncanny physical resemblance.  Paul, John, and George were the spitting image, and only Ringo was not quite as I remembered him.  Still, Ringo is a one-off, it would be strange if anybody else looked just like him.

The Melons played for an hour, the Bootleg Beatles an incredible 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Didn’t finish until gone 1:00 am, by which time I was exhausted and wanted to go home to bed.  Must be getting old, though I still enjoy that good bass rumble from the speakers that moves your internal organs around.

They played just about every song the Beatles ever performed, with perhaps the exception of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Yellow Submarine.  Pity.  Great memories in those songs.  And they changed clothes, from the original Nehru jackets to the Sgt. Pepper gear and on to the Abbey Road fashions.  Films and newsreels appropriate to each song played against a backdrop behind them.

The sheer professionalism really impressed me.  They gave everything to the performance.  They were canny, too, saving the best for last.  Hey Jude was the last official song, but they’ve obviously built the inevitable encores into their act.  So the first encore was a song guaranteed to take any Campbeltonian to Heaven – Mull of Kintyre, with 2 local musicians playing the bagpipes.  Followed by Twist and Shout.

A great evening.  Here are the Bootleg Beatles playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the BBC.