Theatre Review: The Beach Boys Tribute Show, Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: Epstein Theatre

Format: Music Show
Genre: Rock
Date: April 25 2019
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

We were promised a treat with The Beach Boys Tribute Show, and that is exactly what we got on a highly enjoyable night of musical entertainment.

The tone was set before the show began with a very authentic setting. With the band surrounded by beachballs, summery artwork on the walls and surfboards above their heads, combined with colourful lighting, you felt right at home with the performers as they came on to sing to a very welcoming audience.

After radio announcements and small doses of music played to bring the group on-stage, it all began with California Girls. From there, we went through the early back catalogue with the likes of In My Room and Then I Kissed Her. In the meantime, we were guided through the story of their success, from the formation of the band to their initial works (the band all sang Surfer Girl together on one microphone, with just a guitar providing the background music) to the group making a splash in England and then America. We also learned about the tribute act themselves, who in their four years together have graced the likes of Glastonbudget, as well as previously performing in Liverpool, and they even appeared on an episode of Eggheads!

In the meantime, the hits kept coming, both during the Beach Boys’ heyday and during this production. Help Me Rhonda, I Get Around and Fun Fun Fun had the audience singing along, before we focused on some of the more thought-provoking tunes. Wouldn’t It Be Nice went down a storm, and God Only Knows provided a strong end to the first half (the segue to this tune was amusing).

When the second half began, we had a costume change: the grey and white striped shirts with chino trousers were replaced by white suits, flowery tops and accompanying hats. This indicated a different chapter in the original band’s history, with the likes of Do It Again, Darlin’ and Lady Lynda propping this portion of the show up. Cottonfields was another classic hit performed very well by the band, before we moved on to Breakaway and Surf’s Up.

At this point, we were told that it was time to really have a party with some of the most upbeat hits of the band’s entire collection. Kokomo, Let’s Go Surfin and Surfin USA (the latter accompanied by particular dance moves shown to the crowd for them to join in, which they did en masse) delivered that positive vibe, assisted by the colourful leaf necklaces on sale for attendees to lift and wave. Barbara Ann received increased audience participation based on each gender taking a turn to showcase their vocal skills, and quite a few people were in the aisles dancing at this stage, as some had done all night.

We were coming to the end of the show, but the enthusiasm didn’t diminish; if anything, it intensified. Sloop John B was performed terrifically, as was Good Vibrations to end the production. But we were treated to a final encore, a tribute to Chuck Berry, with Johnny B Goode to officially close the curtain on the show.

The small touches helped here, such as other Beach Boys hits (like Sumahama) being played during intermission, the importance of not only telling the band’s story but providing context (which included painting a picture of the music scene as a whole during the 1960s), the humour and also the versatility of each performer. Everybody stepped up in their own roles, but they were also able to prove that they weren’t one-trick ponies, mastering everything from the vocals to the guitars to the pianos. And the crowd were fully engrossed from the first minute to the last, which resulted in a standing ovation as the evening ended.

This was a sensational homage to The Beach Boys. Tribute shows don’t come much better than this, and I would strongly urge you to check this production out next time it comes to your area.

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect