It’s no secret that there are a lot of Beatles tribute acts on the road. There’s Rain: The Tribute to the Beatles, and the Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute, Beatlemania Now and 1964: The Tribute. There was even, famously, a Beatles parody, the Rutles, created by Monty Python’s Eric Idle and supported by a Beatle himself, George Harrison.
Coming to the Bing on Friday is a Beatles act with a twist. The Beatles split in 1970. A decade later, John Lennon was murdered, and in 2001 Harrison died. The Reunion Beatles Fantasy Tribute imagines what it would be like if all of the Fab Four were alive and performing together not just music from their acclaimed catalog, but their solo hits, too.
For Nick Bold, who plays George Harrison, the decision to join the show was an easy one to make.
“Luckily, it feels very natural, and I’m not just saying this,” he said by phone last month from his home in England. “I’ve always felt an affinity with George. He was the first person I looked too when I took up the guitar. My older sister was a huge Beatles fan so we had all the albums, so I just learned all his parts early on. … He was my first guitar hero.”
Bold would parlay that love of guitar into a career in music. He played lead guitar in a 1970s and ’80s band called Virginia Woolf, which featured Jason Bonham on drums for a time and recorded with Roger Taylor of Queen and toured with Jimmy Page and The Firm. He now has a blues-rock band, Nick Bold and the Raging Sea, that tours England.
It helps, too, that he bears more than a passing resemblance to “the quiet Beatle.”
“And people always said, ‘Do you know who you look like? You look like George Harrison.’ ”
In interviews, Bold is fond of referring to Harrison as a “guardian angel.”
“It sounds corny,” Bold admitted. “He gets me lots of work, I know that much. And I love George, I love his music, I love the Beatles, and it really is a natural fit.”
He likens the Reunion Beatles Fantasy Show in a sense to “Hell Freezes Over,” the 1994 tour that saw the Eagles finally get back together.
“Our show is a fantasy show, so you have to suspend belief, obviously, that certain people are still with us. That in their 50s, they got back together and played the final show it was incredible, and the guys were all friends again,” Bold said. “That’s the dynamic of our show really. It’s different than any other show. It’s special.”
In an odd way, Bold is paying tribute to two guitar heroes on this current tour. One of his favorite moments of the night is performing Harrison’s classic track, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” from 1968’s “The White Album.” And while Harrison wrote the song, he’s not the one who recorded the famous guitar solo.
“Eric Clapton actually played that fantastic guitar solo, so I try to reproduce it note for note the best I can, and that is big shoes to fill,” Bold said. “It’s an incredible guitar solo. Masterful.”
Still stepping into Harrison’s shoes might give some musicians pause. For Bold, the challenge is to live up to the Harrison name.
“I hope I do his music and his singing and his guitar playing justice,” he said. “I do believe he is watching over me. He’s been such a huge part of my life”
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