Local Spins brought That Beatles Thing, a professional video team and mountains of gear atop a downtown building to replicate that classic ‘Get Back’ performance from 1969. Watch the video.
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In 1969, The Beatles staged an unannounced concert on the rooftop of a London building – their final public performance.
More than 53 years later, Local Spins staged an unannounced rooftop concert in downtown Grand Rapids replicating much of that 42-minute set starring That Beatles Thing – an uber popular Grand Rapids tribute band calling it quits at the end of 2022.
And just like the Fab Four’s elaborate-yet-spontaneous undertaking (revisited late last year in a much-buzzed-about “Get Back” documentary), this re-creation required a small army of workers: Local Spins staffers, volunteers and impromptu guest “assistants,” not to mention the graciousness of condo owners Mark and Ashley VanDellen who opened up their rooftop deck to the band, “Destination Live Music” video team and mountains of gear.
The brainchild of sometimes-daffy Local Spins publisher John Sinkevics, it proved to be a taxing endeavor in many ways.
The team hauled several loads of amplifiers, instruments, band gear and video equipment up an elevator to the fourth floor of the 600 Monroe Building above SpeakEZ Lounge. The crew then had to carry that gear up a flight of stairs and, finally, maneuver it carefully up a narrow spiral staircase to reach the roof.
Let’s quantify that: 40 steps up and 40 back down, including 22 spiral staircase steps that required slow and steady navigation of heavy, unwieldy apparatus.
Talk about sweat equity.
But when That Beatles Thing cranked up their amps for its performance about 4:45 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon in downtown Grand Rapids, the results were absolutely stunning and smile-inducing with the band pulling off stellar renditions of “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Even some scattered raindrops midway through didn’t deter band members James Murphy, Pete Bardolph, Fritz von Valtier and Bill Van Ess along with the video crew and photographers.
By the end of the performance, folks were gathered on the sidewalk along Monroe Avenue NW to bend an ear to the surprising show several stories above the street, and some 30 guests, musicians and fellow condo owners had squeezed onto the roof to watch.
It was epic, unprecedented and one of the highlights of last week’s Local Spins Week, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the online publication that covers West Michigan’s music scene.
(By the way, the Facebook live-stream of the entire concert already has attracted more than 3,000 views and is available online here.) Special thanks to Downtown GR Inc. for being a sponsor of this unique project.
VIDEO: That Beatles Thing on the Roof of 600 Monroe (5/19/22)
Video by “Destination Live Music” – David Darling (Cinematographer/Editor), Tyler Joslin (Camera), Michael Whitenack (Producer/Director)
Read more about Local Spins Week and the rooftop concert, and view a photo gallery here: That Beatles Thing unleashes rooftop concert spectacle + an unparalleled hip-hop showcase
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