Beatles fans are in for a treat this month with the Knoxville arrival of 1964 "A Tribute," arguably the closest one can get to seeing those four lovable lads from Liverpool present day.
The band has been hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest Beatles tribute band of all time.
The group first formed in 1984, making their longevity as an active, touring band three times that of the original Fab Four. Mark Benson, the "John" of the quartet, founded the act. Striking out on his own after playing for a previous Beatles tribute, he roped his pal, the recently late Gary Grimes, into joining him as Paul. James Pou and Greg George rounded out the group as George and Ringo, respectively, later on.
The act is well noted for their commitment to authenticity, although a few differences between the original and replication do exist, one being sound quality.
"People will come up to us and say, 'I saw the Beatles in 1964 and the only difference is I can hear you,'" said Benson.
A second difference is length of sets. Early in their career, when the Beatles still played live shows pre-Sgt. Pepper, the lads performed two sets lasting 30 minutes apiece with no encore. Today, 1964 plays 45 minute sets.
"We tried playing the original 30, but people weren't happy with that," said Benson.
Sets consist of mainly the band's early work, including hits like "She Loves You," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", and "A Hard Day's Night." A few selections from the middle period of the group's career are thrown into the mix.
Junior pyschology major Jordana Dunn, a self-proclaimed "Paul girl," is hoping that Yesterday is one such prospective song.
"I'm crossing my fingers that they play it," she said. "It is the most covered song of all time for good reason."
Dunn expects to see a turn out of Beatles fans spanning all ages at the event.
"I'm really hoping I get to meet some people who saw the actual Beatles play in the 60s," she said. "That would just be the coolest thing."
A younger crowd will also be present for the experience, she thinks.
"I have some friends who will be going and I'm sure we won't be the only college-aged kids there," she said. "The Beatles music resonates with multiple generations. There's just something about the Beatles that make them so timeless."
The tribute helps provide eagerly anticipatory fans like Dunn with as realistic of an experience as possible by honing the small details.
Beatles boots are worn, cheeky on-stage asides by band members made, and vintage costumes and equipment used.
Alistair Taylor, former president of Apple Records, was amazed upon seeing the tribute.
"The resemblance was uncanny," he said. "It sent shivers down my spine. It was just like the boys. Never have I seen another group go to such detail... It's like the born-again Beatles."
Such acclaim from such exalted places has led to the group performing prestigious gigs, including at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. The group also carries the unique distinction of being the only tribute officially approved by a Beatles' relative. Louise Harrison, sister to the late great George, was so moved after seeing a '64 performance that she threw a party at her home in their honor.
No matter their age, audience members can expect an entertaining, authentic Beatles experience with 1964.