Time to Twist and Shout with Classical Mystery Tour and Pacific Symphony on July 4

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Classical Mystery Tour in concert

By Simone Goldstone | NB Indy Soundcheck Columnist

Roll up, roll up to the Classical Mystery Tour—it’s waiting to take you away into a world of orchestration, symphonic genius, and a respectful time warp through the Beatles career.

The world of music is nothing if not innovative, and the Beatles are perhaps the best example of that. From introducing the sitar to the Western world to using horns and orchestras in songs such as a “Day In The Life,” The Beatles transformed the way we view classical and rock music.

No tribute band pays respect to the brilliant clash of orchestra and Liverpudlian rock the way Classical Mystery Tour does. Between costume changes, perfect accents, and the familiar, wonderful music, you’ll believe you’re seeing the Beatles. Classical Mystery Tour performs with Pacific Symphony on July 4 at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine.

Classical Mystery Tour provides an unforgettable way to spend an evening. By adding a live orchestra, Classical Mystery Tour elevates the Beatles experience.

Classical Mystery Tour has been creating fabulous memories for audiences since 1996. The show was created by Jim Owen, who grew up in Huntington Beach. He was raised on classical music, but once he heard The Beatles he knew his destiny was set.

Jim Owen as John Lennon performing in Classical Mystery Tour

“I remember the first time I heard The Beatles,” recalled Owen. “Up until then I’d listened to mostly classical music at home, but my dad’s sister played The Beatles. I was like ‘Woah, who is this?’ I’d grown up going to pops concerts and seeing Henri Mancini at Long Beach Pops, so having both classical music and The Beatles inspired me. I played classical piano, and could match The Beatles’ music by ear.”

By age 16, Owen got paid to play Beatles music on stage.

“I had a friend who played saxophone and I wanted him to come up and play the sax part for ‘Lady Madonna.’ He didn’t want to, but at that point I kept thinking how I should get an orchestra together to put on a show.”

The first Classical Mystery Tour took place in 1996 at Segerstrom Hall.

“It was unbelievable to stand on stage,” said Owen. “Good thing I was young, ‘cuz if I was older, I would have said ‘there’s no way I could do that.’”

Jim Owen (right) performing as John Lennon with Classical Mystery Tour

Owen originally played as George Harrison, but looked more like John Lennon and eventually switched. However, as a guitarist, he’d learned Harrison’s guitar parts since he was eight years old.

“I enjoy playing John though, it’s a bit more singing,” Owen said.

Putting The Beatles music to orchestrations seemed natural.

“They had these arrangements already. You hear the song ‘Yesterday,’ which is piano and acoustic and then a string quartet, and it made such a bit impact in the song. They introduced a full orchestra with ‘A Day in the Life,’ and it’s the best for our show, as well as my favorite to perform. It’s really cool to hear the trumpets playing on ‘Penny Lane’ or the ‘Golden Slumbers Medley,’ which was purposely made to be symphonic. Those are some highlights of the show. We didn’t rearrange any of the music, we play it as is.”

Despite being in a world-renown Beatles cover band, Owen maintains that he doesn’t have any Beatles memorabilia. He did go to Liverpool though, and met the original Beatles drummer, Pete Best.

On July 4th, Classical Mystery Tour will play with the Pacific Symphony at FivePoint Amphitheatre. The show goes through The Beatles’ era, starting with The Beatles suits and transitioning to “Sgt. Pepper” outfits, and then finally what they wore on “Abbey Road.”

Jim Owen (right) performing as John Lennon with Classical Mystery Tour

“The Beatles have such a dynamic band, and for the audience to think they could be watching the Beatles, that’s the goal,” stated Owen. “To recreate it with such respect to the music and the band and have the audience come out of it thinking for a moment they were really seeing the Beatles is what makes it all worthwhile.”

Don’t miss the July 4th show and enjoy a night of the Beatles unlike you’ve heard them before. The detail, respect, and musicianship of Classical Mystery Tour certainly sets them apart. After all, they’ve been doing this for 27 years, and there’s a reason for that: they’re simply the best.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the July 4 concert, visit https://www.pacificsymphony.org.

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