“How can you listen to that horrible racket?” elderly people often asked me when I was a boy. The British invasion was in full swing when I fell in love with rock music but my teachers and supervisors felt aghast that I would actually love that “evil-sounding racket.” Fortunately, things have changed and baby boomers are now the seniors of society.
In an effort to get to know more local people, I joined Radway’s New Horizon’s Seniors Club. Surprisingly, they let me join even though I’m not technically at retirement age. During the two years that I’ve been a member, I made some great friends and went to some wonderful events.
The latest excursion we went on was to see a play called The British Invasion at the Jubilations Dinner Theatre, located in West Edmonton Mall. I was afraid that most of the members wouldn’t enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised when all the comments about the play were positive.
The British Invasion portrayed what would have happened if Ed Sullivan’s daughter had booked not only The Beatles but Herman’s Hermits, The Rolling Stones, and other British bands by flirting with their members before hand. The comedy showed how some of the band members discovered her trick.
Between back stage scenes, actors played the songs of the various acts live and in the outfits of the sixties groups. Many people asked as the dinner was served during the intermissions if the cast were lip-synching to a recorded backing track. They couldn’t believe that the music was played live.
The food was wonderful as well, Everybody remarked how delicious it was. Moreover, the dinner menu printed in the brochures at each table had hilarious sixties-oriented titles. For example, there were entrees like “All You Need Is Beef,” “Don’t Let the Chicken Catch You Crying,” “”It’s Only Fish & Chips But I Like It,” and Sgt. Pepper’s Vegetarian Pasty.”
The dessert items had similar humorous titles. For example, the menu displayed such treats as “You Say Good-bye, Black Forest Cake” and “I Say Hello, Sticky Toffee Cake.” We all had a good laugh at these memory-evoking titles.
Near the end of the show, anybody with a birthday during the following two or three days was asked to come on stage. In character, Peter Noon and Ringo Starr interviewed the patrons. Then the actors playing The Beatles sang “Birthday” in honour of them. Each birthday person also received a five-inch by seven-inch post card of the cast.
The fun continued as our bus driver drove us home. As we chatted excitedly about how good the show was, Jeanette fired up her smart phone and played several Beatles songs. To my delight, most of the folks joined in. I knew most of the lyrics to “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” so I sang loudly.
Rock music played a large part in my childhood and adult years. I wrote about the sixties tunes in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. It and my debut memoir can be found on my Bruce Atchison’s Books page. How I Was Razed, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers, shows how my love of rock music was criticized as wicked by the house church members. I now know that music is just a tool like anything else and can be used for righteous or wicked ends.