- Beatlemaniacs: 1964.
Nostalgia isn't supposed to be creepy, but rock and roll tributes often walk a line between remembrance and religious devotion that is equal parts concert, stage show, and The Twilight Zone. This weekend, Northeast Ohio -- America's petri dish for tribute bands -- supplants the snarling Gene Simmonses and drunken Jim Morrisons with a pair of dueling British invaders on two of its more prestigious stages.
1964: The Tribute, which appears at Playhouse Square's Palace Theatre on Friday, concentrates on the Ed Sullivan Show era, while Get Back, performing Saturday at Lorain's venerable Palace Civic Center, relives all of the Beatles' eras.
"We don't re-create specific concerts," says Mark Benson, who portrays John Lennon in Akron's 1964. "What we're trying to do is show people what it was like to see the Beatles at that time." And they're showing plenty of people: The band is booked around the country through summer and is slated for an August engagement at Liverpool's famed Cavern Club, as part of the International Beatles Festival.
Like virtually all tributes, both 1964 and Get Back have honed their acts by studying concert footage and interviews. But both bands are set apart from their Beatlish brethren in that their lineups feature veterans of Broadway's Beatlemania.
Jack Petrilla -- Paul McCartney in Nashville-based Get Back -- says the band members' roles in the Broadway show taught them to look and sing the parts of the Beatles, but didn't allow them to interact with the audience. "In Get Back, we say things that the Beatles said in concert," Petrilla explains. "We put our interactions through a Beatle filter."
Impersonating cultural icons is all in a day's work for the members of both bands. "It's not weird," Petrilla says. "It's my job. Does the head bassoonist in an orchestra feel weird playing someone else's music? It's just that somewhere on the Beatles' coattails, there I am."