– By Cary K. & Victoria Conover –

Have you ever been hit square between the eyes? I mean, nearly knocked down? That happened to a whole auditorium of theater-goers at the Rosemary Clausen Center for Performing Arts in Holstein.

As unsuspecting attendees entered the beautiful sold-out facility, little did they know they’d be struck with re-creation of the best of one of the most well-known, most honored and most loved musical groups that has ever existed. The Abbey Road Band did it up big time in bringing the sounds of the legendary Beatles to Holstein, And like a smack in the face, we never saw it coming.

The affable group, hailing from Rapid City, S.D., poured out their collective musical geniuses through cord structure, close-knit harmonies and exacting replications to give us a true Beatles experience. And it wasn’t lost on their very receptive Clausen Center audience.

With the house lights set low, this writer observed lots of toe tapping, hand tapping, knee bouncing and head twitching to the rhythms of the songs they know and love from their own Beatlemania experiences. There were no below-the-belt punches here; just four ‘old guys’ pouring out the tunes we all love.

Who needs Beatles-wigged wannabes when you can have the purest musical form recreated by musicians dedicated to making the music they themselves love? The band explained it this way: they didn’t look like the Beatles, but then the audience this night did not look like 10,000 screaming girls.

The Abbey Road Band began its first set with the classic, “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Next came “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Ticket to Ride.” The hits kept coming one after another for the rest of the evening. You get the picture? An evening filled with a collection of all their best songs.

Special listening treats included the harmonica introduction to “Love Me Do” and guitar introductions to “Here Comes the Sun” and “My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The tight vocal harmonies were easily recognized in “She Loves You” and “Nowhere Man.” The hauntingly beautiful Beatles’ melodies of “This Boy,” “Hey Jude” and “Something” were phenomenal and proved the versatility of The Abbey Road Band.

What a great evening of entertainment! There was a personal remembrance of the Beatles’ very first TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and then the Band played the same two songs from that night: “I’ll Send All My Lovin’ to You” and “Day Tripper.”

Understand, it was a two-way street; the audience loved their performance and the band, well, listen to band member Monte Madison. “In 17 years of performing, we’ve never had better hospitality than that offered by the Clausen Center management team and the people of Holstein,” with fellow band member Scott Miller adding, “So great to play in a town a lot like the one I grew up in and to see such a great venue…for the town’s size, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

So get out your old Beatles paraphernalia if you want, but The Abbey Road Band’s wish for you is to relax and enjoy that special time and that special music they perform so well. And if the music knocks you over, just smile and enjoy the ride.