Attention to detail is key for tribute band
Last night was a good one for the Cavern Beatles. At least, judging by their pounding hangovers, it was a good night.
"I'm sitting in a restaurant looking at the bass player, who was an absolute wreck," said Rick Alan, who appears as George Harrison.
"We're just trying to sober up."
Despite the fogged minds caused by strong German beer – Rick's speaking to the Mail from Bremen – the band are in fine fettle.
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Now in their 24th year, Rick is the one remaining founder member, the group continues to bring a close facsimile of the Fab Four to the masses.
Playing an average of 150 dates a year, the tight-knit group, which alongside the four band members includes a lighting director and a sound engineer, cross continents together.
While their popularity across Western Europe and America is a given, new markets are starting to emerge.
The band has performed in China, with Eastern Europe, where The Beatles' music was banned under Communism, proving a major draw too.
"We're very popular in Russia at the moment and the former Soviet states such as Ukraine," Rick said.
"When we were in Prague we were invited to this Beatles exhibition, which we thought was going to be awful. "As it turned out, it was fantastic. It was a glimpse of a completely different side to life behind the Iron Curtain.
"It showed how the fans were creating their own bootleg memorabilia. There was a whole underground scene around The Beatles."
Rick says the band's standing – it is the official group for the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles honed their live act – is due to their attention to detail.
"When we started, there were very few tribute bands – I'm not sure if the phrase had even been coined," Rick said.
"It was a covers band at first, with some Beatles numbers, then we realised we could make an act out of it.
"We've all been in bands and we've all got this big passion for Beatles' music.
"We keep it as close to the look and sound as we can and being from Liverpool helps with that.
"It is more than just the music for us, it was everything to do with them – the culture they represented, and their humour."
Rick plays a replica of the Gretsch guitar that Harrison played on stage in 1963.
Though with the band performing tracks from across The Beatles' career, there are a lot of instruments to transport.
"The important thing is to get it to look right and sound right," said Rick. "There are a lot of guitars, 12 or 13, that we use in the stage shows."
With the Hull City Hall performance sandwiched between a series of continental performances – the band will be in Arnhem, Holland, two days later, the group particularly enjoys following in the Beatles's footsteps.
"Every time we step on stage it is another moment for us to remember," said Rick.
"What we love is when we appear the venues that the Beatles did. Going back to the places where they played is always a thrill."