By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pat DiCesare brought the real Beatlemania to Pittsburgh for a historic concert on Sept. 14, 1964, at the Civic Arena.
The longtime promoter will commemorate that landmark event with The Beatles 50th Anniversary Week from Sept. 5 to 14.
The main event will be a tribute concert Sept. 13 at the Benedum Center featuring Beatlemania Now, which in February was chosen to re-enact the Beatles' first American concert at the Washington Coliseum. It does the full Beatle catalog, but he wants the group to stick to 1964-65, "because this is not about 'Sgt. Pepper' and the psychedelic stuff."
To acknowledge the Beatles' American influences, the show also will feature tribute acts for Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino.
Also that week:
-- Mr. DiCesare will introduce his memoir, "Hard Days, Hard Nights" (coming late August) recounting his more than 40 years as a promoter.
-- A Beatles film festival will screen the classics "Help," "A Hard Day's Night," "Yellow Submarine" and "The Girl Can't Help It."
-- The Beatles Rock Art Show, a traveling art exhibit of more than 150 framed drawings and paintings, animation cels, album art, etc., will be on display Sept. 5-7. It will also highlight Ron Campbell, an artist and animator of the "Yellow Submarine" movie and Beatles cartoon series.
-- There will be a free symposium hosted by Point Park University Sept. 6 featuring a panel of music experts discussing the Beatles' impact.
-- On Aug. 30, KDKA-TV will air a new one-hour documentary, "Betting The House: The Day The Beatles Played Pittsburgh," produced by New Perspective Productions.
Mr. DiCesare says he was working as a record promoter when he heard the Beatles' first British singles, "and I was blown away by them."
Bringing them to Pittsburgh launched his second career as Pittsburgh's top concert promoter in partnership with Rich Engler as DiCesare-Engler Productions.
PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST ANNOUNCES
LEGENDARY CONCERT PROMOTER PAT DICESARE
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEATLES IN PITTSBURGH
SEPTEMBER 13 CONCERT WITH BEATLEMANIA NOW AND INTRODUCTION OF DICESARE’S NEW MEMOIR BOOK COMPLETES BEATLES WEEK TRIBUTE
Pittsburgh, PA—Fifty years ago, the Beatles came to America…. and made their only Pittsburgh appearance at the Civic Arena on September 14, 1964. Legendary concert promoter Pat DiCesare, who brought the band to Pittsburgh for its historic performance, will reprise his role by hosting a series of events, including a tribute concert featuring Beatlemania Now, on September 13th at 8pm, at the Benedum Center.
This event is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in collaboration with Pat DiCesare Productions, LLC. Tickets start at $36.95 and are available at www.TrustArts.org, by calling 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue.
“The impact of the Beatles cannot be overstated,” said DiCesare. “The Fab Four startled the ears and energized the lives of virtually all who heard them. Their arrival triggered the musical revolution of the sixties, introducing a modern sound and viewpoint that parted ways with the world of the previous decade.”
The American Tour ’64, the name of DiCesare’s tribute concert featuring Beatlemania Now, will feature all the classic Beatle’s hits live with a full stage, light and multimedia show. “Imagine it is Saturday night, September 14, 1964 and you are part of an audience of more than 12,000, watching four mop-topped kids from Liverpool, England perform live on the stage of the Civic Arena,” said DiCesare. “Imagine further that you are able to fast-forward the rest of the 1960’s, with all of its turbulent history, while the Beatles mature from bubblegum tunes like ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’ into a band that reflects the social consciousness of the decade with ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Let It Be.’”
That, said DiCesare, is Beatlemania Now, a show starring Scot Arch (
as John Lennon), Chris Colon (as George Harrison), Eric Smith (as Ringo Starr), and Davey Justice (as Paul McCartney), with a performance that dusts off the cobwebs to recall teens screaming from the balcony of the Civic Arena and other theaters across the United States.
“The Beatles explosion onto the American musical landscape is one of the most spectacular events in music history,” said DiCesare. “And through the magic that is Beatlemania Now, the audience can become a part of that history 50 years later.”
The show begins with the memorable youthful exuberance and scrubbed clean faces of the young Beatles as the band sings the original hits without a care in the world while–as if from an old copy of Life Magazine–scenes from the 1960’s are projected on a screen above them. Beatlemania Now brings historic scenes to life and just like the original musicians; the stage band matures from the teen heart throbs of 1964 into the most important band of the 20th Century.
Beatlemania Now runs the gamut of songs from the early days to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ ‘Here Comes The Sun,’ ‘Come Together,’ ‘All You Need Is Love,’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,’ ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Penny Lane,’ and a special tribute to Lennon’s later solo work ‘Imagine.’
“For many weaned on Nirvana and Green Day, this is an exhilarating history lesson about the triumphs, the tragedies and the music of the 60’s that you don’t want to miss,” said DiCesare.
This show will also include tribute acts of musicians that influenced the Beatles including Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley.
The Beatles 50th Anniversary Week of September 5-14 will also include The Beatles Rock Art Show, a traveling art exhibit featuring over 150 framed drawings, paintings, animation, and album art as well as other authentic art forms from rock artists including McCartney and Starr, will be on display September 5, 6, and 7. The art show will also feature Ron Campbell, an artist and animator of the motion picture Yellow Submarine and the Beatles cartoon series. Art viewings are free and open to the public and will be held at the Renaissance Hotel, located at 107 Sixth Street, downtown Pittsburgh.
“The Beatles changed my life and their arrival in Pittsburgh started my 40 year concert promotion career,” said DiCesare. “The Beatles came into our lives at a time when we needed them, the talk about war, love and loss.”
In a career that lasted less than a decade, the Beatles changed the course of rock and roll and popular music. After launching the British Invasion of the United States and scoring twenty Number One hits, the Beatles went on to indulge their creative energies in the studio, layering sounds and crafting songs, in a way that was experimental yet still accessible. This retreat from the ceaseless mayhem of pop celebrity yielded such musically expansive and lyrically sophisticated albums as Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966). The group retired from touring in August 1966, and ten months later, they released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album that has almost universally been cited as the creative apotheosis of rock and roll, a watershed event in which rock became “serious art” without losing its sense of humor. The group continued to break new ground with the White Album and Abbey Road before calling it quits in 1970. All of the band members went on to successful solo careers. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.