Adelaide Fringe 2022: Classical Mystery Tour

Who: Bombora Creative

What: Rock orchestra

When: 6:30 pm Feb 24 – Mar 6

Where: The Moa at Gluttony

How much: $58 – $66 details here

The Beatles snuck the creation and release of Magical Mystery Tour into the back end of the ’67 Summer of Love. While overshadowed by it’s predecessor Sgt Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour goes under appreciated as the no-skips psychedelic masterpiece it is. That’s why I leapt at the chance to see this album celebrated appropriately with a rock band and orchestra hybrid. The 15-piece orchestra and rock band collide to create the whimsy that is the Magical Mystery Tour. In the open air venue amidst the waning sunlight, the audience consisted mainly of those around during The Beatles record-breaking visit to Adelaide in 1964, keen to hear the evolution of their beloved mop-tops.

Doing justice to the genius that was the Beatles’ producer, George Martin, the dedication to honour all the intricacies of Magical Mystery Tour is apparent. The sheer amount of orchestration that went into this album is overlooked, and Classical Mystery Tour accurately replicates and embellishes the originals.

This tribute to The Beatles works so well as the rock band doesn’t intentionally try to mimic the voices of the Beatles—some tribute acts leaning into the nasally cadence of Lennon, or Harrison’s Scouse drawl. Punctuated by the lead singer/MC/DJ guiding the audience through the album’s track list and providing background for the more casual Beatles listeners, the show is elevated with a tech edge and proves just how impossible it is to escape Peter Goers in this city.

Beginning with rollicking opening track, Magical Mystery Tour, the orchestra weaves together Flying and Blue Jay Way, reminding the audience how atmospheric these often overlooked numbers are. Fun sing-a-long elements were incorporated in iconic I Am The Walrus, and the orchestra recreates the signature cacophony within Strawberry Fields Forever beautifully. Penny Lane includes a Bach arrangement from the orchestra, followed by the band rocking out to the punchy Baby You’re a Rich Man. Closing with the universal anthem All You Need is Love, spirits end on a high.

The musicians relished every moment on the stage, with the band’s camaraderie and positive energy emanating into the audience. Go into Classical Mystery Tour as an avid Beatles fan, or a casual listener who can’t tell their Penny Lanes from their Fools on the Hill, and you’ll still feel lighter and brighter than when you entered.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Milly Farmer

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