EASTON, PA—They don’t wear stupid wigs or costumes representing each era of Beatle history. They don’t affect Brit accents and play the four unique characters. They simply play the music. And to hear this beloved music—the DNA of our lives—come thrillingly alive on a stage, is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll experiences of our age. The Fab Faux blows away every other Beatle tribute band. I don’t even consider them a tribute band. Would you say a symphony orchestra playing Mozart was a tribute orchestra? My music-wise +1, Eric Evans, his eyes widening at every riff, whispered to me, “They’re a Beatles Jam-Band!” Astute observation. They know every song the Beatles ever recorded and play them with a stunning attention-to-detail leaving no note or vocal utterance unheard. They’ve been known to oftentimes tour with two different drum sets because the Beatles used a different snare sound on their earlier material.
The Fab Faux plays these songs better than the Beatles themselves. The Beatles stopped touring in 1966. Their transcendent ’67, ’68 and ’69 material was only hinted at onstage. Imagine, if you will, hearing such structurally complex songs as “I Am The Walrus,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane” (complete with the piccolo trumpet solo), “Eleanor Rigby” (complete with The Crème Tangerine Strings), “Savoy Truffle” (complete with The Hogshead Horns) or “Helter Skelter” come alive.
All five band members sing lead depending upon the song.
All five band members are multi-instrumentalists.
When Jack Petruzzelli sings “Oh Darling,” it brings the house down every time.
When Jimmy Vivino unleashes his sitar on “Within You Without You,” time is suspended in a reverent awe until he breaks the spell by wildly soloing for an extended amount of time. The Fab Faux never used to do this, but, now, they do. Vivino transcends “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” into jam-land with a stunning series of note flurries that will bend your mind.
Bassist Will Lee, he of The Late Show With David Letterman Band band, and the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame band, bounces around like a kid discovering this music for the first time…every time. His obvious joy at what he does is totally infectious. He pogos up and down like a punk rocker.
Frank Agnello is like a mad scientist with his guitar effects, his keyboard fills and his mysterious little box that emits the sounds—perfectly, amazingly—during songs like “Yellow Submarine” and “A Day In The Life.” (I hear they even do “Revolution #9” in note-for-note and sound-for-sound dexterity.)
Upon doing the classic early stuff, the sound itself shape-shifts into a buoyant irrepressible juvenile teenage joyousness that, no matter how cool you are, will draw you up out of your seat into a frenzy of either double-time clapping, foot-stomping craziness or careless singing along. After all, this is the soundtrack to our lives.
Rich Pagano might be the most amazing of the crew. Don’t ask me how he gets the exact—and I mean exact—drum sounds that George Martin coaxed out of Ringo when he was fab.
At the State Theatre, Easton, Pennsylvania’s premiere concert hall, with its perfecto sound, its ghost, its rich history and its absolutely beautiful interior, The Fab Faux did Revolver, then took a break, and did what we know to expect by now: a dream-like cacophony of loud proportions wildly exacerbated by their newfound tendency to explore every riff until it cracks open like a dinosaur egg and the whole room is transcended into delirium.
The night prior to this orgy, Abbamania faithfully recreated the songs of ABBA. There were a lot of people there that night—including myself—who have loved these particular songs as their very own guilty pleasures. To hear “S.O.S.,” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Fernando,” “Waterloo,” “Money Money Money,” “Knowing Me Knowing You,” “The Name Of The Game,” “Take A Chance On Me” and “Thank You For The Music” (just to name 11) performed loud and trebly was a rush of exhilaration.
What a weekend.