50th Anniversary Concert for Sgt. Pepper in Havana

Temperatures rose higher than normal.

By Irina Pino

Sweet Lizzy Project

HAVANA TIMES — A well-attended concert on Thursday June 1st for the 50th anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was held at John Lennon park, on 17th and 6th streets, in Vedado.

At 6 PM, temperatures rose higher than normal, not only because of the rainstorm that threatened to sabotage the show, but also because of the excitement of thousands of people from all generations, who were waiting for Cuban bands to perform songs by the Beatles.

The concert was backed by the Institute of Music, the Pop Music Center and the Saiz Brothers Brigade; and was being directed by musician X Alfonso. It was also being recorded live, in HD by Canal Clave, for the world to see.

The parade of musicians began with a little bit of chaos and pauses between acts. There were few songs from the Sgt. Pepper album: With a Little Help Of My Friends, Fixing A Hole, Getting Better and A Day in The Life, performed by Hector Tellez Jr and the Renacer choir, Gens, Los Kent, and Eddy Escobar. The latter had kept his cover as faithful to the original as possible. Other songs that sounded good were, I Want You and Cold Turkey, performed by the Old School; while Sweet Lizzy Project sang Hey Bullbog, from the Yellow Submarine album.

El público

Here Comes The Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, by Harrison were among the better covers. A lot of them fell short, in terms of arrangements and singer’s tessitura, the closing song with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band became a great confusion of noise, but that usually happens when so many voices come together.

Personally-speaking, I thought Pablo Menendez and the Colmenita children’s group were too much, and they should have invited Habalama and the guitarrist Luis Manuel Molina instead. Both of them were set aside, I don’t know why.

People’s opinions varied. It wasn’t some people’s favorite album, in spite of it marking a milestone in the history of contemporary music and rock, because of its aesthetic design, and the originality of its lyrics. It isn’t an album you can rock out to; it’s to listen to because it tells you things. Everybody was dancing, singing along to songs, and they even threw drumsticks to the audience.

Eddy Escobar y su banda.

Over two hours of joy, enjoyment and happiness, prove that we need rock concerts and that there are options of having them in a park like this one, which maybe represents the rebellious symbol that Lennon was in his time. However, if George and John came back to life, I’m sure they would have thanked the Cuban people’s tribute, who continue to be passionate about their music.

Likewise, if Ringo and McCartney see this concert sometime, they might say: “thanks for still listening to our music, it doesn’t matter what happened before, if they broke our Cds, if stupid officials banned them; today, albums are indestructible and new generations will realize that everything we touched became gold.”

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Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

Irina Pino has 265 posts and counting. See all posts by Irina Pino

2 thoughts on “50th Anniversary Concert for Sgt. Pepper in Havana

  • I had to have a giggle bjmack about the Irish having some major problems with England! Maybe Nick will resolve them?

  • It was my favorite all time album and as a 16 year old, an enlightening experience. Glad we share the same love. Oh, interesting as I am an Irish citizen and we were having some major problems with relations with England but the Beatles squared that up!

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