The more things change, the more they stay the same

Tony Kishman’s Beatles tribute band brings a hefty dose of nostalgia to Tel Aviv’s Opera House.

Beatles tribute band 370 (photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
Beatles tribute band 370
(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
Perhaps no greater era of American history is more romanticized, missed and cherished than the 1960s. And on Thursday night, Tony Kishman’s Beatles tribute band turned Tel Aviv’s Opera House into a time warp. The band harkened back to a time when people dressed to the nines, civic and women’s rights came to the forefront and sex, love and rock and roll reigned supreme.
It was a time of revolution. And the Beatles provided the soundtrack.
One would think, though - 50 years later - that the generation once captivated by this legendary band would have moved on. After all, they’ve gotten jobs, became parents and grown up. But judging by the way, the crowd jumped out of their seats and danced to the band’s “All You Need is Love” concert, it was clear the love for the Fab Four never died.
It helps, of course, that Tuscon, Arizona native Tony Kishman is a very believable Paul McCartney doppelganger. The floppy hair, high cheekbones and earnest demeanor while singing about love, peace and harmony made it easy to believe that the actual Liverpool native was on stage.
The concert chronicles the legendary group’s evolving history. From the clean cut black suits they donned for their Ed Sullivan Show performance in 1963, to the bright polyester military uniforms worn for their psychedelically influenced Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Kishman, Jim Owen as John Lennon, Chris Camilleri as Ringo Starr and David John as George Harrison, took the audience through every culturally riveting phase Beatlemania.
But, memory is a fickle thing, and like most bouts with nostalgia we only tend to remember the good and banish the bad to the far corners of our mind. And the band, which portrays the Beatles reverently, does just that.
The unfortunate phases such as the passing of their first manager Brian Epstein; Yoko Ono’s rumored meddling with band affairs; and the group’s eventual demise is addressed, but glossed over in favor of highlighting the high points.
The band performed quintessential hits like “Help!” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” while video clips of the band electrifying Shea Stadium and teen girls weeping at the sight of them lent a frenzied and joyful mood to the concert.
Proving their ability to cross generations, languages and countries, the entire room came together for a closing rendition of “ Hey Jude.”
And, in a true sign of the times, instead of seeing a sea of small flames from cigarette lighters in the air, pricks of florescent lights from individual iPhone screens illuminated the auditorium.
And perhaps that is truly the legacy of one of the most influential bands of all time: They were able to make their music relevant, despite passing decades, technological advances and shifting tastes.
Additional performances of All You Need is love will be held on December 9 at the Beersheba Center for Performing Arts, December 10 at Kibbutz Yagur and December 11 at the Jerusalem Theater.