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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Yesterday I played Penny Lane in Penny Lane

Carlos In Penny Lane, 10th November 2012

The first concert of my tour starts out in Liverpool

All concerts are special, but some are extra special. And so it was yesterday when I played Yesterday and Penny Lane in Penny Lane!

This was the first concert of my Magical Mystery Guitar Tour which takes me to seven more towns and cities in England over the next sixteen days. Where better to kick off the tour than at St Barnabas Church, Penny Lane, Liverpool, where Paul McCartney sang in the choir as a child and where he was best man at his brother's wedding?

Penny Lane, made famous by one of the Beatles' most joyous songs is a leafy road on the fringes of Liverpool's city centre. It was raining as I stepped out of the taxi on my arrival for the concert. I could see a barber’s shop across the road, and close by a fire-station, just like the song:

“Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
Then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain...”

It is but a short distance from Strawberry Field and from John Lennon's childhood home which is now property of the National Trust. The whole area resonates to the legacy of the Beatles.

In the programme I played Strawberry Fields too, the piece that took me the most time and effort of all my Beatles' arrangements. I also included another piece which I thought at one time wouldn't be suited to the solo guitar but which has turned out rather well even if I say so myself, and that is Lucy In the sky with diamonds.

St Barnabas Church is lovely and Martin Hudson and Colin Hall, the organisers did a grand job, including some spectacular stage lighting with light show. One moment my hands went yellow, the next bright pink, and then an alarming shade of purple, with the whole process repeated on a time loop.

Not all the programme was given over to Beatles' music, I also played my arrangement of Brian May’s Who wants to live forever and Asturias, Cavatina, Memories of the Alhambra plus music by Villa-Lobos and Rodrigo.

After there was a reception at the Penny Lane Gallery organised by Christine Colvin. At present it is largely dedicated to original works and prints about and inspired by the Beatles. There I met an ex-recording manager of the Cavern Club where the Beatles started out in the '50's.

This has been a Beatle-manic two weeks for me. On the 28th October in Phoenix, Arizona guitarist, professor and scholar Frank Koonce guided me through the finest museum of musical instruments I have ever seen anywhere,with each instrument illustrated by sound and video in a native settings. It was the last exhibit that moved me the most. There on a plinth stood a perfectly ordinary upright piano, with a film of John Lennon singing Imagine on the very same instrument, for it was on this one he composed that great song.

If you had told me five years' ago that I would be living these experiences and playing Beatles music from an album of my own arrangements which had reached number one on the itunes classical charts I wouldn't have believed you. But then Tomorrow Never Knows - so sang the Beatles on their Revolver album, and I agree.

My tour continues here, there and everywhere (oops, that's another Beatles' song). Hope to see you at one of them.

11th November 2012, London

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=1735 .
© 2019.


  • Paul says:

    Just discovered your Beatles arrangements. What a delight. So much better in every way that Takemitsu's: more inventive, more "guitaristic," more tasteful.

    • Paul says:

      I meant to say, too: interesting idea on the record, pairing Penny Lane with Kemp's Jig (which isn't noted in Spotify; maybe it's in the liner notes).

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