Loneliness. It’s one of the main themes explored on The Beatles’ Revolver, the record that changed an industry and inspired a spark in the minds of bright young talents, launching careers and records for generations to come. Yet, within the warmth of Leaf, on the date of the album’s 50th birthday, it’s love that we find.
An entire room of people have crowded in to celebrate Revolver’s birthday, with ROXANNE DE BASTION set to perform the album in full, with, of course, a little help from her friends – who just so happen to be Liverpool’s finest musicians and songwriters. After a small speech about how The Beatles marked her life from childhood to adulthood, she takes to the stage with THOM MORECROFT to open with Taxman. What emanates is a pure and crystalline duet, full of sweet falsettos and beautiful, intricate fingerpicking. Never has, or perhaps will again, a song about higher-rate tax levels sounded just so beautiful.
Before the last chord has even stopped rippling, newcomer FABIA takes to the stage and sits at the piano to play the record’s second track. From the opening chords of Eleanor Rigby, she takes the room into a dark and dreamlike environment. Her voice, deep and swelling with heartache and emotion, billows through the venue – summoning us all to that graveyard at the church where Eleanor lays.
Before long, De Bastion returns once again for I’m Only Sleeping, showing that she harnesses the kind of voice that is so pure and honest that it is impossible to ignore, before Thom Morecroft gives a charming solo performance of Here, There and Everywhere. With his sweet vibrato and underpinning of Buckingham grit, his performance is the equivalent of a hot tea during snowfall. ELEANOR NELLY is next to have her moment, with a soulful rendition of Good Day Sunshine. Full of a love and youthful innocence that couldn’t help but lift the spirits of any hardy soul, she leaves the audience singing after her.
At this point it’s easy to remember that The Beatles were a wakeup call for so many, regardless of age or genre, as we’re also reminded of the collective power of music to bring people together. This is only highlighted during the twist of the evening, when it’s revealed the next performer is in fact, us, the audience. As the lyrics to Yellow Submarine appear on the screen in karaoke style, I’m sure the chorus in the room could be heard halfway across Merseyside.
The SOUTHBOUND ATTIC BAND, DEREK KING, JOE SYMES, ALAN O’HARE and RICHARD DE BASTION all perform their takes on the record before SHE DREW THE GUN draw the tribute to its close, offering a mind-blowing, electric, otherworldly performance of Tomorrow Never Knows, reminding everybody just how experimental and game-changing the song was.
In truth, it was that experimentation that was Revolver’s key. It was taking different sounds and cultures and blending them in ways not thought possible – highlighted only by the varied genres and musicianship of the artists taking part this evening. It’s clear Revolver will keep on inspiring musicians to take risks and will provide listeners with a journey through music for generations into the future, as we all play the game ‘existence’ to the end of the beginning…