Daily Herald

Arcada rocks way back

Wings members, Beatles tribute fill seats for return

Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005

It was a hot night Wednesday at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, in more ways that one.

Beatles tribute band American English and members of Paul McCartney’s other band, Wings, rocked the 1926 theater building to its foundation.

Some buzz was generated earlier in the day that McCartney might make an appearance to join his old bandmates. Although that didn’t come to fruition, audience members twisted and shouted their appreciation, even as they sweated in a theater that had lost its power and air-conditioning earlier in the day.

The concert was the first event at the Arcada since Chicago-based Onesti Entertainment Corp. took over management of the theater. The outfit demonstrated its ability to put paying customers in nearly all 900 seats.

Ron Onesti, president of the company, stood on the stage and thanked audience members for coming to the show and putting up with the heat.

Beatles cover band American English fills the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles Wednesday night at the first concert since the theater came under new ownership.
“The popcorn was popping in the concession stand and the machine wasn’t even on,” Onesti quipped.

American English, one of many acts in Onesti’s stable of entertainment, proved extremely popular with the crowd composed primarily of baby boomers.

After American English’s 18-song set, original Wings members Denny Laine, Howie Casey, Steve Howard and Thaddeus Richard joined the group to play a few Beatles tunes before delving into Wings numbers.

Wings was co-founded by Paul and Linda McCartney and Laine, who also was an original member of The Moody Blues.

“Original band members of Wings have come from across the nation and England for this show,” Onesti said earlier this week.

Onesti told the audience he plans to stage more live musical events at the theater.

American English started the concert attired in the trim black suits of the Beatles’ early mop top era, blazing through favorites including “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Please, Please Me,” “Help!” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

As Paul, John, George and Ringo, the band members played their parts to the hilt, with plenty of banter among themselves and the signature Beatles bow at the end of each number.

As the show progressed into the psychedelic era, the band members changed into the colorful costumes of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, ending the first set with “A Day in the Life.”