Capital One Hall in Tysons stages 60th anniversary tribute to The Beatles’ first ever US concert

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews a 60th anniversary tribute to The Beatles (Part 1)

On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles made music and TV history on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in New York City.

Two days later, the band held its first U.S. concert at the now-defunct Washington Coliseum in D.C.

You can enjoy a special 60th anniversary tribute this Saturday, Feb. 10 at Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia.

“The Beatles were really popular in England starting about 1963 and had a bunch of No. 1 hits over there. … Then early 1964, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ hit No. 1 here in the States,” musician Jim Owen told WTOP. “They arrived in New York on Feb. 7, had a day off on the 8th, then on the 9th they played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in New York. Feb. 10 they took a train down to Washington, D.C., then Feb. 11 they played their first concert in D.C.”

The first half of Saturday’s show is a faithful recreation of the exact set list from The Beatles’ first D.C. concert, which only lasted 30 minutes because it came at the end of a long lineup of other acts before them.

“They opened that concert with a Chuck Berry song. George Harrison sang it as they opened with ‘Roll Over Beethoven,'” Owen said. “Then, of course, that set list included a bunch of other great stuff like ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand,’ then they closed the show with a couple of great American rock songs: ‘Twist and Shout’ originally by The Isley Brothers and ‘Long Tall Sally’ by Little Richard.”

After a brief intermission, the second half of Saturday’s show finds the group of “Fab Four” impersonators joined by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra to perform all of your other favorite Beatles hits with epic instrumentation.

“After the 20-minute intermission, we’ll come back on stage backed by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and that’s when we get to do a lot of great stuff that The Beatles recorded with orchestra but never actually played in concert,” Owen said. “You get to hear ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ ‘I Am the Walrus,’ ‘A Day in the Life,’ ‘The Long and Winding Road,’ ‘Yesterday,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ all those kinds of songs live with orchestra.”

Owen portrays John Lennon, while Paul Curatolo plays Paul McCartney, Robbie Berg plays George Harrison and Chris McBurney plays Ringo Starr. The group is part of the Classical Mystery Tour, which Owen founded back in 1996 complete with vintage wardrobe and throwback hairdos that evolve across the various album periods.

“To help create the illusion, we also use costumes, so the first half we’re gonna have the black early Beatles suits,” Owen said. “After intermission with the orchestra, we’ll have the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ costumes, then there’s a costume change into what the Beatles wore on the cover of the ‘Abbey Road’ album. As a John Lennon character, that’s my favorite costume — the white suit with the long-haired wig and the glasses.”

He loves paying tribute to the band he insists is the greatest of all time.

“The Beatles are the greatest rock band ever,” Owen said. “The amount of music they wrote and the variety of it, it just all comes together with them, the way they sang, the way they performed, the sound of their records, their personalities and their message, absolutely the greatest rock band ever. … My favorite song to do in the show is ‘A Day in the Life’ from the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album. To hear that orchestra build up … I never get tired of doing it.”

Find more information here.

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews a 60th anniversary tribute to The Beatles (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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