The City National Grove theater of Anaheim is situated on a far corner of the Angels Stadium parking lot. This night, The Angels were playing Toronto and an impressive roster of musicians were gathered at the Grove to play a night of some of the most beloved and admired music ever recorded.
Rubber Soul and Revolver were both landmark albums for The Beatles when released in 1966. They marked a transition from the teeny bopper pop of their early days to a more mature sound with their psychedelia and drug influenced music.
CITY NATIONAL GROVE OF ANAHEIM
May 28, 2022
Though not originally on the US version of Rubber Soul, they began with the song “Drive My Car” with its catchy chorus of “Beep, beep, beep, beep, yeah!” going right into the George Harrison penned “I Want to Tell you” from Revolver.
Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, and Jason Scheff formerly of the band Chicago all alternately shared lead vocal duties on these classics with support from Denny Laine of The Moody Blues and Wings, and Joey Molland of the veteran British band Badfinger.
It became obvious that each artist’s talents were being put to their best use. Christopher Cross and Jason Scheff’s higher vocal ranges were ideal for the Paul McCartney sung song’s, while Todd Rundgren and Joey Molland were a great fit for the John Lennon tunes.
Christopher Cross’s first song in the spot light was Eleanor Rigby and his voice still has the sound and vocal range he has always been known for.
Denny Laine’s turn came as he sat at the piano and sung the opening line of “We already said…goodbye” to the Moody Blues song “Go Now” My introduction to this song, so long ago, was its inclusion on the 1976 platinum, triple live album “Wings Over America”. Denny next, along with Christopher sang the Wings hit “Band on the Run” with the crowd singing along to the chorus.
In addition to them playing almost every song on Rubber Soul and Revolver, each artist got their own moment to sing two of their more popular songs.
Christopher Cross, assisted by Jason Scheff, preformed the “yacht rock classics” “Sailing” and “Ride Like the Wind” and with them, bringing a distinctly different feel and early 80s vibe.
Everyone has a Beatles song that means a little something special to them and for me the one is “Here, there and Everywhere” a romantic ballad Paul McCartney wrote with his inspiration being the Beach boys “God Only Knows”. This song was one picked by me to be played at my wedding and has always been special to me.
For a group of seasoned stars to even attempt such an ambitious project they need to be backed by a group of talented musicians and Jason Scheff introduced them – each one at a time. “Playing every instrument known to man” Darin Murphy who also played John Lennon on Broadway”; guitarist and vocalist Wayne Avers who played with the Monkees for over 25 years; Steve Ferrone, was Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers drummer for 22 years and on keyboard and synthesizer was Gil Assayas who is a frequent member of Todd Rundgren’s band and someone that “they all fight over.”
Jason Scheff’s portion of the show began in earnest with the Chicago hits “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and continued with the epic “25 or 6 to 4” which was done so well, it brought the crowd to their first standing ovation of the evening. Gil Assayas on keyboards was able to replicate the sound of Chicago’s horn section with remarkable accuracy. in fact, I felt he brought so much to the show that he made it possible for many of the songs to be played and sound so fantastic.
A highlight of the show for me was Todd Rundgren’s front and center performance of “Tomorrow Never Knows”. He sang and danced with what can only be described as “a wild abandonment” very psychedelic and heavy. Swinging and flailing his arms about while singing “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream” which added to the whole psychedelic vibe of the music.
The climatic ending and big sing-along was Yellow Submarine, which had the entire crowd singing along to the never ending chorus of “We all live in a Yellow Submarine” probably the first Beatles song I ever taught my children as we sang along in the bathtub and a fitting ending to great night of music.