Beatlemania | Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

Until someone invents a time-machine, this is probably as close as you’ll get to the real thing.” The Independent

We travelled back in time last Thursday evening, not in a Back To The Future style time machine obviously (you never know in Abu Dhabi) but back to the 1960’s through the power of music. It may have been on the lawn of the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and not the dimly lit Cavern Club in Liverpool but still the music was very much of that era.


The event (

Now it wasn’t an easy experience to get our tickets. It was all a bit last-minute and involved a mini expat rant (yes it happened what can I say I was annoyed) involving extra ticket allocations, a lost e-mail, poor customer service then redeemed customer service followed by a frantic dash to Saadiyat Island within half an hours notice for the scheduled 8pm start.


The Irish quartet of ‘John, Paul, George and Ringo’ (aka Scott Maher, Fran King, Rob McKinney and Binzer Brennan) who make up the Classic Beatles (originally The Quarryman) brought their Get Back: The Story of the Beatles tribute band to the purpose-built outdoor stage at the golf club to mark the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles. A full complement of the band appeared on stage slightly later than planned (about 45 minutes late to be exact) but from the first note to the extended version of one of my all time Beatles favourites ‘Hey Jude‘ they immersed us in all things Beatles.


Looking exactly like the real thing (

Get Back: The Story of the Beatles tells the story of the Fab Four from 1963-70 showcasing the band’s music that were such a massive influence on modern culture from their early days until their final live appearance on the roof of the Apple Corps building in London on 30th January 1969. The show started with the band in the replica velvet collared grey suits famously debuted on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. 


The Classic Beatles (

The condensed compendium from the tribute boy band of a bygone era entertained the capital dwellers in true Liverpudlian style. I actually forget just how huge The Beatles back catalogue actually is and the audience sang and danced along to classic after classic such as ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Help’, ‘A Day in the Life’, All You Need Is Love’, ‘Back in the USSR‘, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Please, Please Me‘ to name a few and of course ‘Let it Be‘, all belted out with expertise.


This was my best photo of the night so you can imagine how awful the others were!

There was a fabulous solo performance of ‘Yesterday‘ from ‘Paul’ (who bore quite a resemblance to the man himself). A great performance by a band who are obviously accomplished musicians in their own right, delivering hit after hit (some dodgy lighting did not distract them) with vocal accuracy. Audience participation was a given as the band pitted girls against boys and tested our lyrical knowledge to some of the classics. 

10599629_10152739353735726_871191296258171060_nSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (

George delivered a calming solo rendition of ‘Here Comes the Sun‘ inducing a full crowd sing-a-long and the whole band reappeared after a short interval in their colourful Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band satin suits (from the 1967 album cover of the same name) and belted out more well-known tunes including ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds‘, the jolly ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da‘ and ‘Strawberry Fields‘ with John on keyboards. There was a song for everyone and that’s the age wide appeal of The Beatles and their music much to the obvious enjoyment of Thursday nights crowd, I think the other half was even tapping a toe or two.


The set-up (

As well as looking and sounding authentic (complete with legendary mop top hairdos), the Dublin quartet adopted their alter egos mannerisms and engaged in witty banter (in their best scouse accents) as the original Beatles were famed for on stage in their heyday. They remain the only Beatles tribute band in the world to have worked with actual Beatles producer Sir George Martin and they have even performed for the Queen back in 2004 at The Ritz, where she danced for the entire set to her favourite songs, a huge compliment considering she met the real band back in the day.

Academy Event Lawn

We saw Sir Paul McCartney here in Abu Dhabi at the F1 closing concert back in 2011 and he was absolutely awesome and I thought that would be the nearest I ever got to seeing the Beatles, but this show really was the next best thing to seeing the original band live. The highest praise of all must be when they were invited to play with Sir Paul himself for a John Lennon tribute special on MTV and Martin has heaped praise on the band, claiming the vocal resemblance between the band and the real line-up is ‘uncanny’, also working with them in the studio.

Reviewers have made comments such as “hard to believe that this was not the real thing!” and “Get Back is much more than a simple tribute band could ever hope to be, it is a love affair with the music, the time, the characters and the clothes”. Think that sums it up perfectly.

1236994_10152735089320726_6499782564794929732_nSuited and booted ‘The Fab Four’ on the fairway at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club ahead of their concert (

‘Get Back: The Story Of The Beatles’ brought ‘Beatlemania’ to a whole new generation of the capital’s music lovers and allowed the older fans among us to relive their past. The venue had great potential but was sadly let down by the overpriced beer and wine, terrible food (a shame considering Hawksbill Restaurant is usually very good) of stale nachos with yukky liquid cheese, greasy shawarma’s and the complete fiasco of lack of taxis at the end of the event.

Even with the best efforts of the golf professionals to attempt to soothe the over exuberant (or was that inebriated) expat crowd in the taxi queue (great people watching) it was sadly a poor and disorganised ending to an otherwise good event, lets hope that iron out the creases for the next event which I believe is a tribute to Micheal Jackson. On a brighter note there were some lovely new Porsches to stroke and coo over from the sponsor of the night.


A great tribute to a great band (

To read more about Get Back: The Story of The Beatles visit their website

All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.

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