To quote a lyric from “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” they've been going in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
The four-piece band that accompanies Billy McGuigan and his brothers, Matthew and Ryan, for their Beatles tribute show “Yesterday and Today” has seen a complete turnover since the show began in 2008.
“When you have to learn 212 Beatles songs, it's not so easy to replace them,” said Billy McGuigan, who prides himself on being able to meet any audience request, however obscure.
That same band also still does an occasional performance of “Rave On,” McGuigan's salute to Buddy Holly and 1950s rock'n'roll, adding to the song list.
Recently Darren Pettit, who had been with both shows since the beginning in 2003, left for a full-time job at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The McGuigans recruited, retooled, and reinvented. Friday night “Yesterday and Today” opens for what's become an annual holiday run at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
McGuigan said family and job obligations understandably take a toll on the musicians he depends on.
“But every time somebody leaves, the show tends to improve — not because that person left but because we have to work that much harder to fill in the blanks,” McGuigan said. “We go at the music in a different way, playing to each person's strengths.”
For this show it will be Leon Adams on keyboards, George Laughery on sitar, piano and guitar, Rich Miller on drums and vocals, and Jason Ferguson on lead guitar.
Billy plays guitar and keyboards, Matthew plays bass guitar and Ryan is on acoustic guitar. And the brothers blend vocally or solo on every number.
After the Playhouse gig, the group will continue the touring season that began in late September on the East Coast and tears through the Midwest, down to Texas by May. The group will drive 34,000 miles in the next four months, Billy McGuigan said.
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