EASTON, PA—Had The Beatles not quit touring in 1966, they might have eventually sounded as good as The Fab Faux, who are able to perform such complex and challenging material on stage as “I Am The Walrus” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” with such unerring attention-to-detail as this quintet of world class musicians.
The Fab Faux can take any of the 200-plus recorded songs of source material and make them come thrillingly and vibrantly alive depending upon what night you see them. And they don’t wear wigs.
Bassist Will Lee, from the Late Show With David Letterman house band, bounced around the stage like a little kid absolutely loving what he was doing. Upon the band reaching deeeeep for such nuggets of gold as “Anna,” The Night Before” and “Things We Did Today,” he asked, “How many of you thought you would hear those songs tonight?” And that’s just the point. You never know what they’re going to come up with.
Hipster guitarist/keyboardist Jimmy Vivino (brother of Uncle Floyd and head of the Conan O’Brien house band), who has been known to pull out his sitar, brought down the house with his extended jam-out electric guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Upon its mid-song standing ovation, keyboardist Jack Petruzzelli (who had the most dramatic moment of the night when he later came out from behind his myriad of keyboards to belt out “Oh Darling” in stark soul-man fashion) started doodling a hazy, slippery, not-quite-there ostinato figure and—lo and behold!—George Harrison himself sang the missing verse of the song, the one from Anthology 3 that Cirque Du Soleil resurrected for Love in Las Vegas. It was a haunting moment.
Guitarist Frank Agnello has that little machine that produces the extraneous sounds for a song like “Yellow Submarine.” Put that together with The Crème Tangerine Strings and The Hogshead Horns and there isn’t a sound they cannot reproduce, including the incredible “Penny Lane” piccolo trumpet solo played by one of the Hogs that elicited tremendous response.
In a night where every song was a highlight, the absolute orgasm-inducing musical moment (at least for this over-excited journalist who might have been a thorn in the sides of his sedate audience neighbors) was the performance of Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle,” a rip-roaring rock’n’roll gem that had the horns, the guitars, the drums and the keyboards pushin’ it, workin’ it, rockin’ it…
Near the end of the second of two 90-minute sets, they brought out Denny Laine of Wings and The Moody Blues who jammed on “Hey Jude” and sang “Go Now” (the only non-Beatle tune of the night). “This is my favorite band in the whole world,” he gushed.
Drummer Rich Pagano was rich in tom-tom work, hi-hat action, rim shots, cymbal cascades and the trebly rat-a-tat-tat of his snare. You could feel his groove deep in the pit of your stomach (none of this would work without a drummer like him). The same can be said for Will’s bass. Will even switched from bass to guitar, while Jack switched from organ to bass. They all seem to play every instrument and they all sing lead! In fact, the vocal harmonies—so transcendent, so breathlessly perfecto—were fit to swoon over. That’s because songs like “Because,” “Paperback Writer” and “Nowhere Man” dictate such harmonic high-wire derring-do.
Forget the mundane concept of a cover band. Is a symphony orchestra a cover big-band when it performs Bach or Mozart? Same thing, different genre. This material deserves to be experienced live. Can’t wait to do it again.
The Fab Faux will be performing again at The Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA March 26.