Bea­tles trib­ute all on

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

FOR two nights Beatle­ma­nia cre­ated a wave of hys­te­ria through our streets.

It was June in 1964 when The Bea­tles graced the stage at 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 in cel­e­bra­tion of the con­certs’ an­niver­sary.

The trust’s 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.

Both nights will have a dif­fer­ent lineup, with artists per­form­ing two songs each from the Bea­tles cat­a­logue.

Stu­dents from Dioce­san School for Girls and Sa­cred Heart Col­lege 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 which were left ring­ing 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 in 16-year-old per­former Grace Breb­ner.

By the time the young Dioce­san School song­writer was 8 she knew each word of ev­ery song on 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 be per­form­ing 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 multi-gen­er­a­tional con­cert.’’

Play It Strange was set up in 2003 to shine a spot­light on young song­writ­ers.

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 mid- Six­ties – where is the New Zealand in­va­sion now?’’

But he be­lieves the young per­form­ers will make people stand up and take no­tice af­ter these shows.

A Strange Day’s Night is 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.

Photo: JESS LEE

No.1 fan: Play It Strange Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive and Split Enz co-founder Mike Chunn, and Dioce­san School for Girls stu­dent Grace Breb­ner will both per­form in The Bea­tles’ an­niver­sary con­cert at the Auck­land Town Hall.

Photo: ALEXAN­DER TURN­BULL LI­BRARY

Fab four: The Bea­tles dur­ing their New Zealand tour, June 1964. They per­formed two shows at Auck­land Town Hall.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of The Bea­tles ar­riv­ing at Welling­ton Air­port in 1964.

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