Let It Be Live @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 15/5/2022

Three years after their blockbuster Abbey Road Live show at Thebarton Theatre, Australian Rock Collective (ARC) returned to stamp their brand of rock over another Beatles classic album.

ARC, consisting of Kram (Spiderbait), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), Mark Wilson (Jet) and Davey Lane (You Am I), plus special guests Jason Flemming and Brett “Wolfie” Wolfenden, reimagined The Beatles’ twelfth and final studio album, Let It Be. Released in 1970, Let It Be garnered commercial success. Unfortunately, it was also critically panned. As die-hard Beatles fans, ARC managed to capture all that was wonderful about the album and bring it to the forefront in this concert. They highlighted the reasons for its success. To this, they added a tsunami of rock ‘n’ roll to make it uniquely their own.

The quartet opened with Two of Us and Dig a Pony before Flemming and Wolfie joined them on stage for the remainder of the show. The first set was a near play-by-play of Let It Be but with an extra song – Don’t Let Me Down – thrown in.

Middleton, Lane, and Kram alternated singing, each adopting songs to suit their vocal nuances and strengths. Wolfie even took the mic on One After 909, to our delight. However, it was Kram, the ever-present showman, who made it a point to get the party started and raise the roof off the Thebby.
Walking with purpose in and amongst the crowd, smashing his drum sticks together during Dig It, he whipped us into a frenzy. With moods elated and the smoke-filled haze lingering through the theatre, he belted out Let It Be with a chorus of hundreds backing him up.

By the time Get Back was played, we had navigated through moments of rock with I Me Mine, pop with Maggie Mae, and mawkishness with The Long and Winding Road. There were melodies intertwined with phenomenal double drums, and sub-par lighting which thankfully did not detract from the music. All in all, ARC successfully captured the inherent sentiments of the album and reworked them with a contemporary flair. It was a fantastic homage to the closing chapter of one of the greatest musical stories.

After a short break, ARC returned to the stage to open a new chapter of their own: an eleven-song set of The Beatles’ greatest solo hits. This set brought the unpredictable and the unprecedented as Kram kicked off with Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed.

Lane then tackled John Lennon’s Mind Games before Middleton performed a solo rendition of McCartney’s Junk with an unexpected cameo from Flemming. If it weren’t for Middleton stopping mid-way to laugh and proclaim the vignette was not planned, we wouldn’t have known. This piss-take summed up the looseness of the band and light heartedness of the show.

From the serene to the visceral, we were transported when Kram took the lead on Lennon’s Mother. A truly gut-wrenching performance generated body chills as he bellowed, “Mama don’t go/ Daddy come home”.
Not to be outdone, Wolfie found himself front and centre again for his cover of Ringo Starr’s Photograph. It was a fun number to lighten the atmosphere and prepare us for arguably a show highlight. With all three vocalists downstage with guitars, Band on the Run took us on an amazing journey. With a spectacular composition that ranged from psychedelia-esque dreaminess to rock ‘n’ roll, it was impossible to not jump up and sing and dance along.

Lennon’s Working Class Hero saw Kram back on the vocals before another show highlight as Middleton performed Imagine. He afforded the song the thoughtfulness and pathos it deserved. At its conclusion, as the three hugged on stage, the impact of this song and The Beatles collectively and individually, was abundantly evident and appreciated.

Middleton continued as lead vocalist with McCartney’s All Things Must Pass. Lane, who was in stellar form all night, then performed a high energy version of Lennon’s Nobody Told Me. His momentum carried through to the final song of the second set, Jet, the song Wilson’s legendary band was named after.
The screaming, foot stomping, cheering, and clapping ensured the break before the encore was brief. And the encore was the of stuff legends. Kram and Lane’s Venus and Mars quietened the masses but not for long as Mull of Kintyre generated the night’s largest sing-alongs. Instant Karma!, lead by Lane, who was running literal circles around the crowd, concluded the night on a high.

As they left the stage for the final time Lane shouted, “You are fucking awesome!”

Well, so are you!

For fans of The Beatles, Let It Be Live was a sensational homage to a band that changed the landscape of music. It was also just a brilliant night of entertainment.

With all the talent and allure that ARC bring to the table, we cannot wait to see what they come up with next.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

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