Re-creating a classic

Courtesy photo, Mirror photo illustration by Nick Anna Tom Work (left), Mac Ruffing, Robert Potter and Mark Benson came together in the early 1980s to form what has been hailed as “The Best Beatles tribute on Earth.”

The Beatles are known around the globe. Their music is nostalgic for older generations and connects younger generations to times gone by. Both crowds will converge for the 1964 The Tribute concert Sept. 7 at the Mishler Theatre. The band will bring to life the era of the Beatles touring days during their upcoming performance.

1964 The Tribute was hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as “The best Beatles Tribute on Earth.” The group has been performing as the famous British quartet since the early 1980s and are closing in on the end of their 34th year playing together as a Beatles tribute band.

“When we started we were all performing top 40 music in other bands,” said Mark Benson, who portrays John Lennon onstage. The new group formed and started recording songs. They realized they all had a mutual love of and were inspired by Beatles music. The guys decided to begin playing Beatles hits.

For their band, they chose to recreate the days when the Beatles were touring and filling stadiums. Their hair, wardrobe and instruments completely transform the men during their performances into the super group of the ’60s.

“Our stage is as close as it gets to what it was like to see the Beatles touring when there were 80,000 screaming fans filling stadiums,” said Benson.

The show focuses on the touring days of the band and recreates the band’s stage days with precision and accuracy. Their rock songs take the audience on a journey full of the Beatles energy, magic and timelessness.

“This music unites everyone. It doesn’t matter the age, geographical location or race; everyone just loves a Beatles show,” Benson said.

He recounted a story of a recent concert where a grandfather brought his 7-year-old grandson to the show.

“The granddad grew up with the music and plays it on guitar. He and the grandson had just finished performing Beatles Rockband before they came and the granddad thought how cool it was that they were bonding to this music,” he said.

Fans of all ages who enjoy Beatles music will enjoy singing along with the band to their popular tunes.

“This is a show for people of all ages from kids 2 to 3 years old, on up to their grandparents. Everyone dances in the aisles and knows the songs. It’s very family-oriented, clean, respectful and reasonably priced,” said Ben Hart, president of BPE Productions, who works with 1964.

The group has performed for all people of all ages, both nationally and internationally — including the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, England — complete in their Beatles regalia. They performed at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh an astounding 14 times and have also played at the picturesque Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

“They played at Red Rocks exactly 50 years after the Beatles played there,” said Hart.

The group keeps a busy schedule and plays between 80-100 shows together a year. Even though they perform so often and have for decades, they never tire of recreating the Beatles magic.

“We still have fun, lots of fun. People ask how long we’re going to do it; I always say as long as we’re having a great time and are enjoying it,” Benson said.

1964 are not the only ones who have a good time at the concert. Audiences keep coming back for more, whether it be for nostalgic purposes or just to revel in an evening of lighthearted fun paired with good music.

Benson said, “People leave the show happy. Everybody loves it. In these times it’s nice to just be able to have peaceful, good and clean fun.”