New Sheffield show for hit Tramlines Beatles tribute

The Sheffield Sgt Pepper Project's take on the famous album cover.
The Sheffield Sgt Pepper Project's take on the famous album cover.

One of the big hits of the Folk Forest at Sheffield’s Tramlines inner-city music festival was the Sheffield Sgt Pepper Project.

The scheme saw a huge group of local musicians playing the iconic Beatles album all the way through.

The project, celebrating 50 years since Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, brought together 30 professional and semi-professional musicians.

And now the show is now going to be repeated in Sheffield in November – tickets are now on sale – and may go off on a national tour.

Last year’s line-up included members of Screaming Maldini, Hey Sholay, Renegade Brass Band, Before Breakfast, Captives On The Carousel and Cats.For.Peru. Wanting to play the music as authentically as possible, some of the city’s leading classical and jazz musicians played strings, brass and Indian instruments to recreate the sound.

This year, they were joined on vocals by Sheffield stars Steve Edwards and Jack Weston, aka Kid Conventional.

Gina Walters, one of the singers, said: “We did Revolver last year at the O2 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the album. It was such a big success. They were happy to have us at Tramlines, because Sgt Pepper is such an incredible album.

“We’ve been trying to keep the performance as faithful to the album as possible. The Beatles never performed it live.”

The band included orchestral string and brass sections, a harp and a tabla.

Gina said: “It was great fun. We wanted to use different musicians and styles of bands. It represented what is great about Sheffield as a community.

“There were four different singers instead of just two – We were never going to sound like Lennon and McCartney, it wasn’t just a tribute act.”

Drummer Dominic Ridler said The Beatles had no intention of playing the album live.

He said: “We’re doing what The Beatles couldn’t do.

“We spent so long on the music and orchestrating it. It’s been really rewarding to do.”

Nick Cox, who played guitar and keyboards and sang backing vocals, said: “It was great. It went better than we hoped, everyone played out of their skins.

“We were pleasantly surprised how many people turned out, there was maybe 2,000 people.

“That just shows the appreciation for the album out there, 50 years later.

“People ask, are The Beatles still relevant?

“Absolutely. You could see kids singing along with the songs.”

Rehearsal time was limited, so they were thrilled that the show came together so well on the day.

Dominic said that his favourite part of the day was performing the Sgt Pepper intro and reprise.

He said: “It is great fun and has great energy and set the tone of the album.”

Nick loved Getting Better, while Gina said: “It was Day in the Life for me.

“I just really love that song and there were 28 of us on stage at the same time.”

The group would love to find a sitar player, the only missing instrument – student Ford Collier, who has just won a Sheffield University recital prize, stood in on the tabla at Tramlines.

The Sheffield Sgt Pepper Project play the city’s O2 Academy on Saturday, November 25.

Tickets, priced from £14.60, are now on sale from www.sheffieldacademy.co.uk

An spokesman for the city centre venue, said: “Experience the incredible adaptation of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as a 30 piece live band plays the album – including favourites like Lucy in the Sky with – in its entirety for its 50th anniversary.”