(NEWS CENTER) -- The Beatles — John, Paul, George and Ringo — were together as a band for about eight years. Beatles Night in Portland has enjoyed a longer run. This weekend it will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary.
It began when musician Spencer Albee was booking bands for The Big Easy, a club in Portland, and couldn’t find a group to fill an empty slot on a weekend night. “Anybody who’d normally headline wasn’t available,” he says. “It was, like, I know what to do. So we did Beatles night.”
Spencer called in some musician friends and they put on an all-Beatles show that was fun for them, fun for the fans. They did it the next year and the next, moving on to bigger venues as time went by, until they settled in at the State Theater in Portland. This weekend Spencer and friends along with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra and the Fog Cutters will play all of the Revolver album Friday night, all of Sgt. Pepper Saturday, and then a sorta/kinda greatest hits show on Sunday afternoon. Getting ready for these shows requires real commitment. "We have 45 songs we learned for this year, which is a lot,” Albee says.
Beatles night is getting bigger every year, and in 2018 it will move out of Maine for the first time, with a show in Burlington, Vermont, and one likely in Boston. Obviously, it wouldn’t have lasted if the musicians weren’t having a blast playing some of the greatest music of the last sixty years. "We get jazzed about it after every single rehearsal,” says arranger Sean Morin. “We hang out with each other and we don't stop talking about it. Nine months can go by and we're still sitting with each other geeking out about music the Beatles wrote 50, 60 years ago."