John, Paul, George and Ringo will shake it up this weekend in Gainesville.
Beatles tribute band the Mersey Beatles will be performing at High Dive, located at 210 SW Second Ave., on Saturday. Special guest Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister, will also be in attendance, signing copies of her book, “Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon.”
This is the band’s first time touring through Florida, and it’s their third time touring the U.S., Steven Howard, the band’s leader, said. Howard, who plays Paul McCartney, said the band will be playing fan favorites, including “She Loves You” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
“Sometimes people shout out obscure songs that we put in,” he said.
Among these songs is “Imagine,” a John Lennon solo.
“If we are in the mood, and it feels right, we will throw ‘Imagine’ in,” Howard said.
The band has been around since 1999, and from 2002 to 2012 it served as the house band for The Cavern Club, the same venue where the original Fab Four played.
“The Cavern is a place that you never get tired of,” Howard said. “A lot of tourists and people from all over the world come; on any night three-fourths of the audience are new,” he said.
Julia Baird, who grew up with John Lennon and witnessed the beginning of the Beatles, said hundreds of fans travel to Liverpool to experience the flavor of the classic band. The Mersey Beatles, though, have something unique that connects them to the real Fab Four.
“They are bringing the Liverpool essence to America. They have one ingredient that other tribute bands do not have, and that is being from Liverpool,” Baird said. “The nature of the Beatles is already there.”
Baird said, despite there being more than 800 tribute bands around the world, she believes this band has an edge.
“They got every record, they grew up listening to the Beatles and their parents played them all the time,” she said.
The excitement during each show never fades, and “that’s the thing we bring to the table, which will be close to the original in terms of the content,” Howard said.
This weekend, the band will be dressed in their beloved black suits, Sgt. Pepper’s costumes and the Beatles “Abbey Road” clothing, including John Lennon’s white suit, he said.
Victoria Berlingo said she has been a fan of the Beatles for more than six years and still listens to their music. She said she hopes to attend the concert.
“Tribute bands like this show that, although music is old, it’s still appreciated,” the 19-year-old management freshman said. “People still listen to their music.”
Howard said he has much admiration for the music and hopes others feel the same way. He said the band is sure they will be back and hope to repeat the tour in 2017.
High Dive’s doors open Saturday at 8 p.m., and the performance starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets vary from $25 to $79, and they cost $20 for students at the door.
“We are here to bring the message that the Beatles always live on. Come along to the show and enjoy,” Howard said.