People don’t seem to tire of tribute acts. I’m not telling tales out of school here. They’ve been successful for years and for various reasons. You know going in you’re not seeing Neil Diamond, Journey, or the Supremes. But they sound just as good as the real thing. Maybe better if you compare these tribute performances with the current shows from a 70- or 75-year-old singer.
Then again, seeing Mick Jagger in the flesh—whether he hits those high notes or not—is worth the outlandish ticket prices to many. To others, not so much. That’s another case for tribute acts.
What you don’t see much of are multiple tribute acts in one concert. Let alone multiple acts from the same band. That’s what you get with Magical Mystery Doors, coming to the Levoy Theatre in Millville on Friday, December 29. For one price of admission, you get The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Doors. To add more spice to the mix, they take many of the songs of these groups and combine them to make something new and unexpected.
It’s as if you’re hearing a new band altogether.
In its press packet, the band justifies why these three should be combined as one: “These iconic groups have changed the face of music as we know it. Their songs have become part of our history. Their melodies have moved people everywhere to ‘Come Together.’ ”
Band member Vinny DeRenzis waxed serious, maybe a little clichéd, when he said the particular bands “spoke to my heart in different ways.”
“I grew up heavily influenced by all of them, but once we started rehearsing, I understood the powerful connection of how the music blended together. I could tell early on how deeply these bands would connect with audiences, the way they affected me,” said DeRenzis, lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, and harmonica.
“While exploring the musical material of these bands, producer Jeff Tomrell discovered unique ways to blend songs between them,” DeRenzis said. “The core elements of the show are always included. However, we do alternate songs and sections, especially when returning to a venue.”
Make no mistake, patrons attending the performance at the Levoy can expect to hear 90 to 120 minutes of timeless tunes from each of these bands. Throughout the show, Magical Mystery Doors combines classic compositions in ways that will surprise audiences. The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” laying atop Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop,” for example. Or the bluesy Zep tune “When the Levee Breaks” coupled with the Fab Four’s “Dear Prudence.” The thematic sequence of “The Rain Song” blended with “Riders on the Storm” and the jaunty “Here Comes the Sun,” a meteorologist dreamscape.
It took some time to build this show, said Tomrell, who handles keyboards, bass, guitar, baby trumpet, and vocals. “We wanted to do something different. When we decided to create this band, I spent hours and hours just listening through these massive catalogs of songs. I was trying to find ways to connect the artists, through lyrics, themes, or similar tempos and keys.
“Once I got to the point where I was singing these classics in my sleep, the special arrangements started coming together pretty quickly. That’s what really separates us and makes our show unique. We love the elbow tap moment, when we spot an audience member tapping the person next to them like ‘Woah! Did you hear that?’ It’s fun to be able to deliver these unexpected surprises that bring joy to audience members.”
The November 3 setlist at the Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem included:
The band fused Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” The Door’s “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” and “Come Together.” They did separate performances of “Eleanor Rigby,” “Kashmir,” and “Touch Me.” The Doors and Beatles were blended with “Love Me Two Times” and “Day Tripper.” “Whole Lotta Love” burnished with “Helter Skelter,” “Stairway to Heaven deftly infused with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The show closed with “Hey Jude,” “Black Dog” and “Love Her Madly.”
The musical performance adds a visual presentation to the mix, the band says. “Modern video screens and a stunning array of lighting allow this act to create an environment where the music comes to life,” the band states in a release.
Other band members include Brendan Marro on lead guitar and vocals; Mike Intelisano on drums and vocals; and Greg Reigle, bass, guitar, mandolin, and vocals.
If You Go…
Magical Mystery Doors performs the music of the Beatles, The Doors and Led Zeppelin