Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 22° Partly Cloudy
A&E >  Entertainment

By George, he’s something: Spokane’s Robbie Berg returns to the role of George Harrison this weekend with the Spokane Symphony

Sept. 28, 2022 Updated Thu., Sept. 29, 2022 at 2:18 p.m.

Robbie Berg, center, performs as George Harrison with the Fab Four. Berg will play the role of George again this weekend with the Classical Mystery Tour and the Spokane Symphony.  (Donna Reedy)
Robbie Berg, center, performs as George Harrison with the Fab Four. Berg will play the role of George again this weekend with the Classical Mystery Tour and the Spokane Symphony. (Donna Reedy)
By Cynthia Reugh For The Spokesman-Review

Spokane’s Robbie Berg is living a Beatles fan’s biggest dream.

Whisked away to perform as George Harrison in a Las Vegas tribute band while still attending East Valley High School, the vocalist and musician has been enjoying his own magical mystery tour for over six years.

“I’m lucky to have this job, because it’s really amazing what I get to do, traveling around and playing my favorite music. I am busy a lot, but I look at my life as one big vacation,” said Berg, who will join Classical Mystery Tour and the Spokane Symphony Orchestra for a showcase of Beatles hits Saturday at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Original Classical Mystery Tour band members Jim Owen and Tony Kishman, along with Chris McBurney and Berg, will add decades of musical experience to a stage overflowing with local talent.

“All of us on stage, us in the band and the professional orchestra musicians spent our lives learning and loving music and loving to perform music too … it’s always a treat,” said group founder Owen, whose idea of combining a Beatles tribute band with a live orchestra was inspired by a deep musical upbringing and desire to share his love for the Beatles with others.

Saturday’s performance, conducted by Morihiko Nakahara, will mark Berg’s first appearance with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and include nearly two dozen Beatles songs. On the set list are “Eleanor Rigby,” paired with two string quartets, rock-classical blend, “I Am The Walrus,” plus Sgt. Pepper’s masterpiece, “A Day In The Life.”

“The main focus of the show is performing songs you don’t usually get to hear live with an orchestra,” said Berg, who will be treating Beatles fans to one of Harrison’s most celebrated works, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

“It’s very cool to play live, because not a lot of bands get to do it often and it’s fun for me personally because on the record, Eric Clapton played the lead guitar, but live, I’ll be singing as George Harrison and playing Eric Clapton’s guitar part,” said Berg, the youngest member of his band, who was not even born when Classical Mystery Tour began touring back in 1996. Despite his youthful age, music, and the Beatles, have always been a part of his life.

“I would crawl into the kitchen and get out my mom’s pots and pans and make a little drum set and bang away on them,” said Berg, who was introduced to the Beatles by his uncle. “The first songs I ever heard were ‘Twist And Shout’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love.’ … It just blew me away, even when I was five years old. Ever since then, I was hooked.”

Berg exchanged his pots and pans for a real drum set to play along with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” during a third-grade talent show, later mastering multiple instruments and teaching himself to play Beatles songs note for note by middle school.

“I knew I wanted to be a Beatle, but I didn’t know which one I was going to be,” said Berg, who turned his focus to Harrison after landing a gig with Spokane tribute band Meet Revolver at the age of 15. “(Harrison) was the perfect fit for the other Beatles. His guitar playing was perfect for the way John and Paul wrote songs,” said Berg, who was invited to perform at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas while still in high school, later finishing his education online and accepting a dream position with the Emmy-winning Fab Four, a band he is still playing with today.

“There are definitely a few minutes in every show where I just go like, wow, this is amazing! I’m standing right where George would have been standing and the other guys are looking and sounding like the Beatles, so sometimes it does feel like I’m transported back in time,” said Berg, who is enjoying his current ride with Classical Mystery Tour. “They’ve been performing music by the Beatles for decades and they’re still enthusiastic and passionate about it. It just goes to show how great the Beatles are and how timeless their music is,” he said.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.