Director’s Chair: A tribute to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Editors note: Directors Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.Summer is far from over for music fans in the Vail Valley! Weve still got several huge headlining concerts on tap, including Al Green on Sept. 1 and John Hiatt & the Ageless Beauties, with special guest Joan Osborne, on Sept. 5. And on Wednesday, the Vilar Performing Arts Center presents one of the biggest shows to ever play the theater: It Was Forty Years Ago Today A Tribute to the Greatest Album of All Time: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is performed by a whos who of rock and pop musicians, including Todd Rundgren, Lou Graham, of Foreigner, Bo Bice, of American Idol fame, Christopher Cross and Denny Laine, formerly of The Moody Blues, and Wings. The first half of the evening will feature each of these musicians performing several of their biggest hits. For the second half of the evening, they will perform the album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety. Playing with these headliners is an amazing five-piece band led by guitarist Jesse Gress, who also is the musical director for the tour. On drums is Prarie Prince, a member of the The Tubes and founding member of the group Journey, who has also worked with Chris Isaak, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne, George Harrison, Richard Marx and John Fogerty. The band also features Greg Hawkes on keyboards and synth. Hawkes is best known as the keyboardist for the new wave band The Cars. Also on keyboards and synth is John Ferenzik, who plays with Todd Rundgren and Jefferson Starship. And on bass is Jonathan Clark, who has played with such artists as Joe Walsh, Christopher Cross, Don Henley, Michael McDonald and Peter Cetera. To round out the all-star lineup on stage is an eight-piece Classical Hits Symphonette. As you can imagine, with all this talent packed onto one stage, the audience is in for an incredible musical treat.In August 1966, the Beatles played their last live concert in San Francisco. After three years of almost constant touring, they were fed up with not being able to hear themselves above the screams. Their records were being burnt across the United States after Lennon said the band was more popular than Jesus. They were exhausted and disillusioned; they wanted to hide.McCartney proposed that on their next record, they take alter egos. On the plane back from America, Harrison said, Thats it. Im finished. Im not a Beatle any more. Sgt. Peppers is the album that came out of the discord. Considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time, Sgt. Peppers is one of the first concept albums of all time and has influenced artists and listeners ever since. Dont miss the opportunity to see this incredible lineup of artists pay homage to this landmark work.I hope to see you at the theater.