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City Lights: 'Revolver' show holds up for this Beatles fan

November 05, 2012|By Michael Miller
(Courtesy Cindy…)

When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be the Beatles. Not just one of the Beatles — I wanted to be all four of them. I was very precocious that way.

Some time around the second grade, I got a hold of my parents' record collection and serenaded the house almost daily with "Rubber Soul," "Abbey Road" and those other vinyl slabs. After awhile, my admiration grew to the point where I launched my own one-man rock band in the living room, wielding a pair of drumsticks and playing an acoustic guitar, drum and cymbal all at once.

When you consider that I was trying to play a guitar with drumsticks, you can reason that I didn't have much technical savvy. Still, I tried to be as professional as I could — writing my own lyrics, recording my songs on a tape recorder, even hiding one tape in a bedroom drawer so I could have an "unreleased track," as I had read the Beatles did.

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Despite the loyal attendance of my two fans — which is to say, my parents, who did what they could to nurture an aspiring Mozart — I didn't make it very far as a rock icon. But even if we let our childhood dreams slide, they can still jump up and enchant us from time to time. And that was exactly what happened Thursday night, when I watched the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts play the Beatles' entire "Revolver" album from top to bottom.

The academy, better known as APA, is an intensive program in the Huntington Beach Union High School District that not only trains kids to perform like professionals, but also drills them in lighting, sound and other essentials of stagecraft. Considering that Thursday's performance at First Christian Church of Huntington Beach was technically superior to some adult rock concerts I've seen, those teachers must be doing something right.

They're also doing something ambitious. "Revolver," released in 1966, was a landmark in terms of recording technology, fusing genres from folk to classical to acid rock and layering them with backward guitar, tape loops and other studio trickery. As the students explained in one of a series of video clips that punctuated the show, the "Revolver" songs were so technically demanding that the Beatles didn't even attempt to perform them on stage.

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