Ah, look at all the happy people. Where do they all come from?
If the Philly Pops were smart, they’d get their email addresses, all those young(ish) Beatles fans who came to hear a show conductor Michael Krajewski called “authentic recreations” of an English band that broke up 43 years ago. Members of the Classical Mystery Tour, cloaked in accents and hippy garb, sang and played Lennon and McCartney favorites in Verizon Hall Friday night while Krajewski and his band played back up.
I claim no special authority on the repertoire – being, in the ‘60s, too young to be fully sentient. But then again, a lot of people in the ‘60s weren’t fully sentient, and the act seemed a decent if not particularly striking imitation of the real thing. Others looked convinced. By the end, hundreds of listeners were swaying lit cell phones in the air to an encore, “Hey, Jude.” And it was oddly hilarious to watch an unintended anti-authority pantomime playing out in the conductor’s circle – an usher telling these cell phone wavers to turn them off and put them away. At a certain point he gave up. Leave it to the Kimmel to start acting nervous when people start having fun. Really, what could have been the harm?
The Beatles proxies grabbed the spotlight somewhat from Krajewski, who was making his first appearance with the Philly Pops even though he was named music director-designate several months ago. He takes over in the 2013-14 season, and, having promised more of these nostalgia visits from the pop culture realm, the concert was probably fairly representative of what we can expect from him. During the second half of the show, when the Pops was joined by its guests, his contribution was mostly as metronome and skilled traffic cop.