When The Beatles iconic 'Abbey Road' album was released in 1969, music critics panned it, with some saying it was over-produced and didn’t sound like a live band.
History has shown that the critics were wrong, but not entirely; it is a very hard album to produce on stage.
But an all-star line-up of Aussie musicians including Kram (Spiderbait), Ash Naylor (Paul Kelly, Even), Linda Bull (The Black Sorrows), Mark Wilson (Jet), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) and Davey Lane (You Am I), managed to do just that with immaculate flair, before launching into an eclectic retrospective through the Fab Four’s many stylistic career changes.
Towards the end of their mammoth set of Beatles tunes (at Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide, 13 August), drummer Kram thanked the Liverpudlians for inspiring him, his band mates, and musicians in general.
Many members from within Abbey Road Live's who's who ensemble of Oz indie musicians from the '90s and noughties proudly displayed their love of the British pioneers during their careers; Ash Naylor covered 'And Your Bird Can Sing' as a B-side in the late '90s, for example, while Mark Wilson's Jet took its name from a Paul McCartney song with Wings.
The British super-group pursued so many styles in the brief time they were together, they were an inspiration not only to Brit-pop sounding bands like Even, You Am I and Jet, but with blistering cuts like 'Helter Skelter', The Beatles spurred on heavier rockers like Kram and Powderfinger. While soulful songs like the doo-wop of 'Oh Darling' appealed to Linda Bull.
The Beatles were a super-group, a quartet of geniuses, and so to do their repertoire justice on the 50th anniversary of 'Abbey Road', the ARC collective (Kram, Mark Wilson, Darren Middleton and Davey Lane) was formed. You will simply be blown away by how this group sound on stage.
Musically, their rendition of The Beatles' penultimate album was flawless, which is no mean feat for a work that features nine-part vocal harmonies on 'Because' and then the closing eight-track medley.Click here to read our recent interview with Kram discussing ARC.
On a night where another road, the proposed highway that could see the Thebby demolished, was openly discussed, Linda Bull almost started construction work early by blowing the roof off the place with her version of 'Oh Darling', while Kram's versions of 'Come Together' and 'She's So Heavy' were also standouts.
After playing the album from start to finish and taking a brief intermission, the band launched into a collection of Beatles tracks in reverse chronological order, with many of them lesser known, or at the very least lesser-played songs, like 'Helter Skelter', 'I Am The Walrus' and 'Strawberry Fields'. Every minutiae was replicated, including the dastardly complicated piano solo on 'In My Life'.
It was a night where the band played on for half an hour after their allotted time, and we still wanted more. Hopefully ARC stay together for longer than The Beatles, so we get to hear more of what this cohesive and accomplished group of musos can produce.