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Music: The Paul Green School of Rock Gets the Beat

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Written by for the Rock n’ Roll Romper Room

The Beatles
The White Album

Ft. Washington, PA — The students of Paul Green’s School of Rock put on a concert of the Beatles’ White Album. Think about that? What an endeavour! Most musicians would not even consider it possible. To start with, the album has such a diverse mix of styles, sounds, sound engineering and recording techniques that it is hard to imagine trying to recreate the music. Then, to consider not just recreating it, but to do the music justice, seems an impossible feat. Nevertheless, that is just what the kids did.

The age of the students wasn’t listed in the program. However, a good guess would be the children ranged in age from 5-18. They took the stage and went right into Back In The USSR… then, played right through the entire 2-album set. Many of the students are multi-instrumentalists, as well as, vocalists. In between songs, the performers would change. Sometimes musicians would come on stage. Sometimes musicians would go off stage. Sometimes musicians would change positions — the bassist would change to guitar, or the guitarist might change to drums. On several songs, it felt like all 15 performers were on stage at the same time. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill included a menagerie of performers on stage.

One of the hardest songs to imagine covering would have to be Revolution #9. You would have thought, “just leave it out of the set-list. After all, Paul McCartney and George Martin wanted to leave if off of the album. Why even attempt to perform it?” Much to the delight of the audience, the school pulled it off. A multitude of performers traversed the stage creating a visual and audio extravaganza.

The entire show was enjoyable. It would be hard to pick out a favorite song. So, a “first timer” in the audience was asked their thoughts on the show. What was their favorite song? A: Helter Skelter.

That kind-of makes you think a little deeper. Another person in the crowd was overheard saying to the man next to him, “Do you even know who Charles Manson is?” Wow! What do you call that when an album from so long ago felt so relevant today — a timeless work of art? When you think back to the album’s original release, a song like Helter Skelter was a revolution in the sound of what would become known as Heavy Metal. Quite a few things about the album were revolutionary. Listening to the album performed in its entirety, you realize this concept album was way ahead of its time. Going back in through Pink Floyd’s The Wall to Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, you find their seed in the White Album.

The audience’s revolution that they were feeling the revolution of a new generation brought the spirit of the Beatles to heart. You might say the students got the beat of the Beatles.

Set 1
1. Back in the U.S.S.R.
2. Dear Prudence
3. Glass Onion
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
5. Wild Honey Pie
6. Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
8. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
9. Martha My Dear
10. I’m So Tired
11. Blackbird
12. Piggies
13. Rocky Raccoon
14. Don’t Pass Me By
15. Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?
16. I Will
17. Julia

Set: 2
1. Birthday
2. Yer Blues
3. Mother Nature’s Son
4. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
5. Sexy Sadie
6. Helter Skelter
7. Long, Long, Long
8. Revolution #1
9. Honey Pie
10. Savoy Truffle
11. Cry Baby Cry
12. Revolution #9
13. Good Night