Friday, Sept. 23 WCU Live! presented Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience at 7:30 p.m. in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.
Unlike most cover bands, Billy, Ryan and Mathew McGuigan did not impersonate, dress up or act like the Beatles. Their performance was solely based on the idea of playing Beatles music because it meant something to the audience, and it meant something to them as well: their father.
The three sons’ father passed away after a long battle with leukemia when they were just becoming young adults. They attribute their musical talents, passion and love to their father, who loved his sons and listening to the beautiful sounds of Beatles music. Twenty years after their father’s death, they united together to form a band that would serve as a living tribute to him.
Before the performance, audience members could fill out a slip requesting their favorite Beatles song. They wrote their name, the song and had to give a reason why they chose that song. Based on these slips, the band put together a unique set list that scattered songs across multiple albums including “Revolver,” “Rubber Soul” and of course, “Yesterday and Today.”
Each time they read off the next song name, they called out the name of the person who requested that song and go on to tell their story of why that particular Beatles song is their favorite.
One elderly couple danced to “I Saw Her Standing There” because it was the song that played at their high school dance where they first fell in love.
Another requested “Blackbird” because it is the best song for Paul McCartney’s voice. Others requested songs in honor of someone they loved.
The McGuigan boys performed all these songs wonderfully and cracked cheesy, fun jokes in between.
Occasionally they would discuss how certainly songs related to them, and so the entire event played off of the band and the audience’s experiences.
“It opened up the dialogue and provided a safe, fun space for everyone to share each of their stories and memories,” third-year student and Quad Managing Editor Kinjal Shah said.
It was a unique way of celebrating Beatles music and discussing why it meant so much to everyone—something that rarely occurs when seeing a live music performance.
To learn more about the band, visit www.billymcguigan.com.
Samantha Mineroff is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.