Beatlemania is back
THERE was a wave of hysteria back in June 1964 when The Beatles played the Auckland Town Hall.
Fifty years later the Play It Strange Trust is bringing New Zealand artists and hundreds of young performers together on that very stage to perform a raft of Beatles hits.
Trust chief executive and Split Enz founder Mike Chunn says listening to those songs in the 1960s as a young Aucklander was ‘‘pure magic’’.
Chunn was a 12-year-old boarding at Sacred Heart College when John, Paul, George and Ringo rocked into town.
‘‘The Beatles saved me from madness. At boarding school they were an absolute total focus – it was virtually religious for us,’’ he says.
‘‘When Abbey Road came out all of the boys in the hostel gathered in the common room, we put the needle on the track and took it off at side two and none of us said a word until the end.’’
There are two concerts with two different lineups. Artists will perform two songs each from the Beatles catalogue.
Students from Diocesan School for Girls are among those sharing the stage with the likes of Tim Finn, Jordan Luck and Fiona McDonald.
Back in 1964 it was the shrieks and stamps of the young crowd that rang in people’s ears rather than the music of the Fab Four, Chunn says.
And it’s clear that Beatlemania is still alive and kicking with 16-year-old per- former Grace Brebner.
By the time the Diocesan songwriter was 8 years old she knew every lyric from the No 1 album by heart.
‘‘The Beatles are my idols – they’re just incredible and I am just so excited to perform their songs in a concert like this,’’ she says.
Grace will perform the songs Taxman and Let It Be.
Chunn says every generation alive today is comprised of Beatles-lovers. ‘‘That’s why it feels like the right time to do it as a multigenerational concert.’’
Chunn says there is a huge pool of talented young songwriters and musicians in New Zealand at the moment but he fears they will never break out.
‘‘The thing that worries me a little is it’s not what Lorde’s doing next, it’s who will follow her,’’ he says.
‘‘There’s a strange kind of nonchalance but I don’t think it’s because the talent isn’t here. There was the British invasion in the mid60s – where is the New Zealand invasion now?’’
He believes the young performers will make people stand up and take notice after these shows.
A Strange Day’s Night will be held on June 24 and 25 at the Auckland Town Hall. All funds raised from the two concerts will go towards the Play It Strange Trust, which was set up in 2003.
Go to ticketmaster.co.nz for tickets.
No 1 fan: Play It Strange Trust chief executive and Split Enz founder Mike Chunn and Diocesan School for Girls student Grace Brebner will both perform in The Beatles’ anniversary concert at the Auckland Town Hall.
Fab Four: The Beatles at Wellington Airport during their New Zealand tour, June 1964. They performed two shows at the Auckland Town Hall.