NORTH CANTON The view of 400-plus die-hard fans of the only band-endorsed Beatles tribute act in the world, Liverpool Legends, standing in a rain-soaked Ohio field on a Thursday night was testament to the lasting impact of the Fab Four’s music.
It also said quite a bit about the devotion of past attendees and campers at YMCA Camp Tippecanoe.
"Camp right now is in need of some tender loving care," said Patty Campbell, co-organizer of the fundraiser concert Aug. 10 at Fieldcrest Estate. "And camp did so much for me; I want to make sure it is there for future generations."
Campbell, a former camper and camp counselor at the Camp Tippecanoe, said that due in part to the YMCA of Central Stark County’s policy of never turning a child away for financial reasons, many of the 1950s and 1960s-era buildings at the camp –where boys and girls ages 7 to 17 experience programs like adventure camp, horse and ranch camp, teen camp, and leadership camp for 14-17 year olds – are in need of continual capital improvements.
"All this money is raised to send kids to camp and that is wonderful, but we need a camp to send them to," Campbell said. "The cabins and the trails – they need some help."
A retired school teacher for the Canton City Schools, Campbell said camp helped "keep me normal" during her formative years and beyond.
"Camp has opened so many doors for so many people and I have my high school buddies and college friends, but my closest friends are still those from camp," she said. "It’s a great experience, and as a counselor, you learn so much. Like how to be flexible; two straight days of rain, so what do you do? You are responsible for these little kids (but) you never grow up. That is hard to do when you’re going down a mudslide with an 8 year old."
Sally Dale, owner of Fieldcrest Estate, was one of those campers Campbell counseled.
"You would be amazed at the amount of people in the community who went to camp," she said. "We are just trying to make sure it is there for many generations to come."
Return home with international flair
The concert was also part of a homecoming weekend for dozens of Camp Tippecanoe alumni. Some, like Kim Klee, of Sarasota, Fla., came from hundreds of miles away for the event.
"You know how it is; you grow up, get married, go your different ways," Klee said. "So to see 20 or so of us back together is wonderful. Camp meant a lot to all of us and we are still good friends."
Ironically, securing perhaps the most noteworthy Beatles Tribute band on the planet was easy.
"Sally and I had seen the group before and George Harrison’s sister, Louise, manages these guys," Campbell said. "Louise is very much into charity causes and helping out. So we just called them up."
After tossing around a few possible dates, the band was in – even donating the use of Louise Harrison’s unmistakable Liverpool Legends Yellow Submarine Volkswagen Beetle to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade earlier this month.
Liverpool Legends "The Complete Beatles Experience!" is made up of four musicians and actors hand-picked by Louise Harrison. Her involvement in the group makes Liverpool Legends the only Beatles Tribute Band with a direct family link to the original Fab Four.
"I often feel like I’m transported back in time with the lads," Harrison has said. "These are exactly the kind of fun loving quality musicians that my brother George would have loved to hang out with."
Liverpool Legends performs songs spanning the entire career of The Beatles and on through the solo years, with precise attention to musical detail, costume changes, vintage instruments and special effects.
The only Beatles Tribute band ever to perform Beatles songs on a Grammy nominated album, the group has recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London and toured the world – from early Beatles stomping grounds like The Cavern Club in Liverpool, to crowds of 17,000 in Mexico City and a headlining performance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in front of 68,000 people, an audience larger than the Beatles own legendary Shea Stadium show.
"I just thought she was kind of cute," Marty Scott, aka, George Harrison in the Liverpool Legends, said of his initial meeting with Campbell. "And we like doing things for good causes. Louise likes opportunities to give back to the ‘Beatle people,’ who are really everybody, right?"
From a personal standpoint, Scott added.
"And I never got to go to camp, so…"
A trip through time
As both a camp homecoming and almost frighteningly authentic live re-enactment of the Beatles, the Liverpool Legends show drew fans from all ages.
"My dad got me into the Beatles and I’ve seen at least four others (Beatles tribute bands)," said Steve Pancoe, of Bolivar – decked out in a denim jacket with the Beatles iconic Abbey Road album cover. "I should have been born in the ‘60s."
His wife, Karrie, said she was most looking forward to seeing how well Liverpool Legends pulled off the theatrical aspects of the act – key to any successful tribute performance, she said.
And while Louise Harrison may indeed be a stern judge of authentic Beatles history, the Pancoes surely can’t be far behind.
"Rain (Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles) has been the best," Steve said of his favorites thus far. "And we really like 1964."
To which Karrie added with a laugh.
"And he proposed to me at a Fab Four show."
Of course she said yes. How could she not? Since, well, you know, love really is all you need.