Tribute bands ‘Come Together’ at festival

Gimme Abbey members perform their collaborative 1969 show at the Wichita Theatre in Wichita Falls, Texas, in March 2014. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

Combined tribute band Gimme Abbey will perform the 1969 Rolling Stones and Beatles concert that never was on Saturday at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.

When tribute bands The Revival and Satisfaction began merging their musical affinity for 1960s rockers into one show last year, the product was a celebration of the most well-known British Invasion rock hits.

Michael Fulop, who plays the George Harrison role for The Revival, said the Gimme Abbey show channels the shifting style of the era with some inter-band dialogue and a projected multimedia element to truly set the stage in 1969.

“Instead of an oldies concert today … we’re trying to make it sound exactly like it would have back then,” he said. “So more of a re-creation than a tribute.”

The performance will kick off at the Shrine Mont venue in Orkney Springs at 8 p.m. Saturday. Each band will play its own set of tribute hits from the era and then come together to play a combined melody of both bands’ older songs.

Fulop said that the biggest challenge that comes with performing the ending tune is just physically having nine performers playing on stage at the same time.

“It’s funny, because from a logistical standpoint it’s tough, it’s not an ideal situation,” he said. “You’re just trying to get through it, just trying to get by.”

Despite the difficulties of a crowded stage and occasionally hard-to-see visuals, he said bringing the two bands’ distinct styles together at the end of the show is an interesting break from either band’s usual lineup of tunes.

“It’s fun to play those old Rolling Stones songs for a while,” he said. “You kind of forget how memorable those songs were from both groups, very timeless in a sense.”

Fulop estimated that Gimme Abbey performs about once a month, while the two groups do most of their touring separately. The next collaborative show will be on Sept. 12. After a few well-received performances in 2006, The Return will return to Japan for the entire month of November.

“The first time we went over there, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” he said. “It was pretty overwhelming. Not only were we playing, but at the time there were two clubs that were within a mile of each other that do nothing but Beatles.”

The original idea to showcase both bands in a “what if?” scenario originally came from Satisfaction’s Chris LeGrand, who serves as the band’s Mick Jagger and executive producer. According to Fulop, LeGrand had entertained the idea for close to 15 years before finally setting plans in motion with The Return around three years ago.

Performing together a few times a year keeps the material fresh for both groups, but there may be more opportunities for Gimme Abbey on Broadway or down the Las Vegas strip.

Even after sound checks when the musicians sometimes can’t even hear themselves on stage, the enthusiasm felt from young and old fans of both groups makes for a rockin’ good time.

“It’s just a really neat event,” Fulop said. “We have a lot of fun and the crowd does too, which really makes it worth it for us.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com