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Saturday, October 6, 2007   

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American English: BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND HELPS CAUSE AGAINST CANCER

Last night was a chance to relive a part of the '60s or, for those who are short a few decades, to get a taste of what could have been, as Beatles tribute group "American English: The Complete Beatles Experience" held the first of three benefit concerts for the Edward M. Calvo Cancer Foundation.

"Come Together -- A Beatles Tribute" will continue tonight with two more shows. Tickets for Thursday's festivities were $75 and included a '60s-themed cocktail gala and a wide array of hors d'oeuvres. Tonight's shows, which are straight-up concerts, are $35.

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This is the group's first trip to Guam, though American English has been around the world to put on shows, including to Tokyo and the birthplace of The Beatles: Liverpool, United Kingdom. The group's second Liverpool show as headliners of International Beatle Week in 2002 was one of its most memorable concerts, says front man Eric Michaels, who plays the part of Paul McCartney.

"We played to about 50,000 people and we closed every night," says Michaels. "There were bands from all over the world, and we had such a great time. There is nothing like 50,000 drunken English people singing along."

Michaels' favorite song to perform is "Golden Slumbers."

"It was on the last album the Beatles ever recorded together," says Michaels. "It's one of Paul's favorites. We do the encore with that song. It's a beautiful song because it exposes one of the great things about Paul, his amazing vocal range. It was always one of my mom's favorites too, so it has a special place for me."

However, songs that get the biggest crowd reaction are a toss-up between "Twist and Shout" and "Hey, Jude," he says.

"The crowd would go crazy because it's a wild type of song," says Michaels of "Twist and Shout." For the slower, sweeter melodies of "Hey, Jude," Michaels noted "people join in and sing in the end, in the chorus."

"It's awesome -- we love that," he added.

A lot of work went in to becoming a Beatle, says Michaels. Tom Gable is Ringo Starr, Doug Couture is George Harrison, Young Hines is John Lennon and their fifth member, Ken Zemanek, fills in for Beatles producer George Martin as keyboardist and sound architect. American English studied video and audio to get the speech, movements and mannerisms down pat. Clothing for every period was tailored to the Beatles' signature looks.

"We became actors," says Michaels. "I wanted to make (American English) into an act rather than just be a band."

Like a play, the concert has several acts, covering different periods of the Beatles' career, from their start in Liverpool to their rise to worldwide fame. Michaels says he favors the early years "because it was such madness. It woke up a generation of people," but that the last period, when the double album "The Beatles," commonly known as the White Album, was released, struck a chord with him as well.

"They were saying things that needed to be said and at the pinnacle of their creativity," says Michaels.

The concerts aren't just about good music, though there was plenty of that. The events are also about good will, as all proceeds go to benefit the Edward M. Calvo Cancer Foundation. The foundation was formed after Edward Calvo's death from liver cancer in 2004, according to a press release.

Grants from the foundation help cancer patients and their families to provide for treatment, airfare, and other special needs. To date, more than 280 grants have been awarded.

Michaels has had his own painful experiences with cancer. His parents passed away from the disease.

"It's a terrible disease," says Michaels. "I think we really need to concentrate more as a human race on getting rid of it."

Freelance reporter Sun Mi Kang in Chicago contributed to this article.



StoryChat Post a CommentPost a Comment   View all CommentsView All Comments

Comments by: Tumon Chief Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:40 am
The Beatles .... love, peace and drugs.

They understood that love is all you need.

Give peace a chance make love not war

Post a CommentPost a Comment   View all CommentsView All Comments

Originally published October 5, 2007

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   Zoom Photo

Photos courtesy of American English

Help!: Tom Gable as Ringo Starr, Doug Couture as George Harrison, Eric Michaels as Paul McCartney and Young Hines as John Lennon.

IF YOU GO

  • What: "Come Together -- A Beatles Tribute" benefit concert

  • When: Tonight at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

  • Where: Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort Ballroom

  • Cost: $35

    Tickets are available at Bestseller in the Guam Premier Outlets and Micronesia Mall. For more information, call the Edward M. Calvo Cancer Foundation at 472-6854 or Marie Calvo-Monge at 637-5826.



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