Anyone who doubts the remarkable range of musicianship or the quality of local bands performing original music should have been at the Pearl Stable Wednesday evening for Estática Vol 2. Abbey Road Live Encore. Teen musicians with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio took to the stage with four different rock bands out front to reprise Beatles hits and perform original compositions. The atmosphere was electric and built to a sonic end with all of the musicians on or around the small stage as an audience of more than 100 delivered a very vocal standing ovation.
The Beatles broke up in 1969, and only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still alive, but the songs sounded as fresh and dynamic as ever in the hands of local musicians and their orchestral backup. YOSA Music Director Troy Peters led the 14 young musicians in a special performance that followed a recent performance of Abbey Road with many more local bans at the Tobin center for the Performing Arts.
Some Estática attendees were in the audience during last month’s Abbey Road Live tribute show at the Tobin, but Peters promised at the outset they would not be seeing and hearing the same performance.
“The stage is small, the room is small, it can only hold a few hundred people as opposed to 1,700 people at the Tobin,” said Peters before the musicians took the stage. “So there’s a closeness to the action for the audience. There’s a connection to the audience and to each other in relation to what’s going on.”
The audience may have been smaller, but fans were no less excited to be part of the intimate, unique musical experience. Attendees of all ages came out of their chairs to cheer, clap, and sing along with the bands and the orchestra.
“It’s opened up more opportunities to me, playing in a different style with more musicians than I would otherwise be,” said Prisca LaFuente, 17, a junior at Warren High School. She has played classical music with YOSA for eight years, but LaFuente enjoys taking part in less traditional performances. “Classical music influenced all other types of music, so it makes sense. They’re way closer to you than (typical) performances.”
The smaller stage allowed the four bands to play two original songs and one cover of a classic Beatles song. The acoustics inside the stable allowed the orchestra’s harmonies to complement the beats and vocals of the bands.
Beatles’ Portion of Program:
– YesBodyElse, “Octopus’s Garden”
– Emissaries, “Here Comes The Sun”
– Buttercup, “Something”
For the finale, the fishermen and the orchestra brought a psychedelic intensity and richness to the Beatles’ classic “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Lead singer Edwin J. Stephens commanded the room with his voice until the end, when guitarist Eli Medina dropped to the ground and played his guitar with two-delay pedals, forcing the sounds to fight each other, in a dramatic, spectacular way.
“At the end of the song, they create this void, the empty spiral of nothingness. I thought a lot about how they did that in the ’60s, and how that would translate in 2016,” Medina said. “It’s pretty amazing that they were able to do so much with what they had then, but it’s cool to see what has come from that, and how we carry that now.”
For more information about YOSA, or to view coming performances, visit www.yosa.org.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Beatles broke up more than 50 years ago. The band broke up in 1969.