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A spark in the dark
Vienna fans enjoy the Pete Best Band on stage

by Timothy Tilghman

Jammin' Java in Vienna welcomed the Pete Best Band for its fourth consecutive tour appearance on Sunday, May 11, 2008. Every gig the PBB play at this intimate venue, the audience always grows larger than the previous visit. This is one stage act that Fab fans have got to experience for themselves.

The Pete Best Band are five lively lads from Liverpool. Pete and his younger brother Roag share the drumming chores on stage. Together, the two weave a powerful percussion pattern that is unique in their live presentation. The group showcases three outstanding vocalists: lead guitarist Phil Melia, bassist Paul Parry and rhythm guitarist Tony Flynn. This powerhouse unit rolls back the years to recall the euphoria in Hamburg and at the Cavern Club.

The familiar "Slow Down" opened their set in Virginia. Pete approached the center mike to greet the bustling Vienna crowd. He called out names to recognize frembers of the PBB, adding a personal touch in his welcome. The dual rhythm guitars on "One After 909" enhanced the impact of this Lennon-McCartney original. Flynn tackled "Please Mister Postman" in his distinct energetic manner.

Parry and the lads nailed "P.S. I Love You", another Fab composition dating back to Pete's participation toiling as a Beatle. The combination of Flynn, Melia and Parry on harmony vocals was superb. It was certainly apparent during "Besame Mucho" that Roag's percussive punches were noticeably audible in the mix. Be sure to let Roag know his enhanced drumming is propelling the best beat forward.

Melia took the lead vocal during "Three Cool Cats", a tune captured for posterity from Best's 1962 Decca Records audition with the Fabs. Parry was first delicate in his delivery on "Till There Was You" and next demonstrative on "Long Tall Sally", showcasing the talented Pete Best Band easily shifts between ballads and rockers without skipping a beat.

Flynn simply tore into his vocals on "Money", which was embellished by a bombastic jam before the rousing chorus climax. "Cry For A Shadow", the only instrumental in their concert cannon, highlighted the prowess of the PBB rhythm section. Melia deserves honorable mention for his exquisite lead guitar lines.

Pete Best came forward and stated, "Is it Tequila time?" Five shots arrived on stage and Pete toasted Mother's Day. "Aren't the band great?, he asked before introducing the PBB musicians individually. Taking the crowd back to `61, Pete quipped in a German accent, "You vill mach shau tonight".

The song in question was "My Bonnie", which ignited rumblings in Liverpool and came to the attention of Brian Epstein. Briefly, Melia sang in a softer tone that was totally swept away once Roag struck up his sticks on the skins. Segueing into a bass solo, the crowd was prompted to sing the chorus before the big finish. A second Tequila toast was heartily welcomed by the lads.

Intense classic rock staples completed the setlist line-up: Parry on "Lucille", Flynn on "Some Other Guy", Parry again on "I Saw Her Standing There", and Flynn once more on "Twist And Shout" had the audience profusely applauding. Parry closed the evening with a strong romp on the popular "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey". Together, the quintet took a bow before exiting the stage.

Pete returned to the mikestand and hollered, "Do you want to hear another one!", as the band assembled on stage. Melia had the last word on "Johnny B. Goode". The group thrashed away on a great stage jam, and Melia ripped away on his guitar neck. The number ended in a climactic burst as Roag pounded out the final beat.

The best news about the Pete Best Band is the fact that the group has finished recording its debut studio album, Haymans Green. Slated to be released to coincide with the PBB's Fall 2008 U.S. Tour, this new original effort features a biographical theme that is addressed in the lyrics of the music. Be sure to check www.petebest.net for developing details on its pending release schedule.

Vienna setlist: Slow Down * What I'd Say * One After 909 * Please Mister Postman * P.S. I Love You * Roll Over Beethoven * Besame Mucho * Three Cool Cats * You Really Got A Hold On Me * Till There Was You * Long Tall Sally * Rock And Roll Music * Money * Cry For A Shadow * My Bonnie * Lucille * Some Other Guy * I Saw Her Standing There * Twist And Shout * Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey * Encore: Johnny B. Goode

Haymans Green

RockonTour   Issue #80
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