Beatles rooftop tribute big turnout despite weather

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Yuri Pool and his band on top of the Coffee Culture roof

Dan Rankin

Most Friday afternoons, downtown London is astir with people transferring buses, exchanging words or stopping quickly at the businesses lining the streets. But last Friday on Dundas between Wellington and Clarence, Londoners were given a reason to slow down.

Not minding the light snowfall or the biting wind, a crowd formed at the foot of Coffee Culture and looked skyward to see five local musicians " Yuri Pool as Paul McCartney, Patrick Hughes as George Harrison, Will Armstrong as Ringo Starr, Darryl McCarty as John Lennon with Darryl Lahteenmaa on keyboard " perform several classic Beatles hits on the roof of the café.

In spite of the cold, the crowd bobbed and swayed to the music, chanting to familiar hits like “Get Back” and “I’ve Got a Feeling.” While the free outdoor concert didn’t have the thematic depth of other Beatles tributes, it captivated the mass gathering on the street with a loyal interpretation of some of the fab four’s most popular singles.

The large crowd looks up from Dundas Street

While the novelty of performing on a rooftop did strike many of the onlookers, it was not without its drawbacks. The performers were, for the most part, invisible to those on street level and those clever enough to watch from the windows of the Central Library had to listen to the tracks muffled by the open windows. The speakers carried the music from the roof of Coffee Culture across several nearby streets, but it was nonetheless a challenge to watch the musicians as they played.

The set list, while impressive, did leave many wanting more as any 45-minute show will inevitably fail to accurately represent the Beatles’ impact on music. The band added to the experience between songs as they chattered to the audience in faux British accents " Lennon’s voice being almost as entertaining in parody as in reality.

As the final song concluded and the band signed off with a “goodnight London,” the crowd’s ovation felt almost appropriate for the iconic band the show had paid tribute to.

As the noise emanating from Dundas hushed, the audience slowly began to disperse at the guidance of London Police Service officers blocking traffic at either side of the street. Within the hour, downtown had returned to its transitory state as people briskly carried on with their lives.

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