Classical Mystery Tour

The Smith Center, Nov. 30

As strings gently played “Let It Be,” four musicians took the stage in trademark Beatles black suits and mop tops. They could have been the real thing if your eyesight was poor—as was likely the case for the majority senior-citizen audience. The guys had clearly studied every nuance, particularly John Brosnan, who channeled George Harrison (it was a disappointment that Tony Kishman didn’t play his bass left-handed). In short, this is what The Beatles would have sounded like if they had gotten the chance to perform onstage with a live orchestra.

Though Reynolds Hall was packed, there was little sign of Beatlemania. The subdued audience politely clapped after each song, which included “Magical Mystery Tour,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Yesterday.” Despite the quiet, it was a strain to hear the music at times. The banter woke everyone up a bit, from jokes (“Here’s something The Beatles never said: Check out our website!”), to costume changes (including satin Sgt. Pepper uniforms and long wigs).

Despite best efforts from the stage, you couldn’t fully appreciate the scope of the orchestra until the second set on “Live and Let Die,” when it seemed that someone turned up the volume. “Imagine” was another standout. It was surprising they didn’t take full advantage of the orchestra. A few songs simply had the orchestra fill in on handclaps, and it was generally obscured behind the drum shield. Ideally, the band would’ve focused more on those perfect for arrangement, such as the absent “Eleanor Rigby” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” ★★☆☆☆