Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Crowd digs a walk
down memory lane

6 classic rockers play
their Beatles favorites

By John Berger

It was a moment made for a music video. The rock star, classic Cream and an anonymous air drummer.

Whoever he was Sunday night at the "A Walk Down Abbey Road" concert, the guy was excellent! He appeared out of the crowd and stood by the stage just as Jack Bruce smashed into "Sunshine of Your Love," a guy with the physique of a body builder, the sides of his head shaved, the hair on top cut short and bleached albino. He matched Bruce's man on the drums perfectly.

Bruce's old Cream hit was single most powerful number during the concert at Blaisdell Arena. The arena-level seating was comfortably full of classic-rock fans and curiosity seekers who turned out to see how Bruce, Eric Carmen, Christopher Cross, Mark Farner, Alan Parsons, Todd Rundgren and a trio of sidemen would work together playing a hodgepodge of their favorite songs by the Beatles. Each of the stars also got to do a couple of their own hits with various combinations of musicians in support, with Bruce on bass backing most of others.

For the crowd, most of whom appeared old enough to remember when Bruce and the others first hit the charts, renewing acquaintances seemed to be half the fun.

Carmen slipped behind the Kurzweil and took the audience back to his Raspberries days. Farner rocked with "Bad Time" and got great audience response with "Closer to Home." Cross, seen here recently with the Honolulu Symphony, hit with "Sailin'" and "Ride Like the Wind," and told the crowd that "nothing validates you more with your 10-year-old daughter than having one of your songs covered by *N Sync."

Parsons commented that with his involvement in the show, he had "discovered the concept of having to learn words."

Farner added an interesting twist to the show when he played "Taxman" in an arrangement distinctly different from the original.

Bruce's powerhouse miniset was followed by an enthusiastic rendition of "Back in the U.S.S.R.," with all six principals performing up front. It was a promising introduction to the concept, and it felt that we were getting down to business. Then came the intermission.

What followed was closer to a jam session than a rehearsed show, but not so sloppy that it seemed disrespectful to paying fans. Rundgren affected a nasal country accent on "I've Just Seen A Face," Carmen took over on "No Reply," Cross got the lead spot on "Here There, and Everywhere," and at one point Rundgren said simply, "Somebody take the initiative here."

The crowd was forgiving of the ragged moments, adding a lusty "Hey!" to "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and yelling along to "I Should Have Known Better" as well. They were dancing down front long before the group closed with "Birthday."

Rundgren, who had the center spot on stage and seemed to do most of guitar solos during the Beatles half of the program, had the lead in an encore performance of "Revolution," and Bruce started things off on the "Abbey Road" medley that closed the show.

Most of the fans seemed satisfied.

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