Published on January 4th, 2024 | by Andrew Bistak

John Kater Interview (The Beatles – 50 Years On!)

Prior to THE BEATLES – 50 YEARS ON performance in THE TIVOLI (BRISBANE), we catch-up with John Kater (The Beatnix, The Beatle Boys, Lee Kernaghan, Doug Parkinson, Jon English) to talk about his love of The Beatles and how as a fan, he plays the living legend himself, Paul McCartney.

Tell us a little about THE BEATLES 50 YEARS ON?

The Beatles 50 Years On involves a night of celebrating the tunes of The Beatles. We showcase them with raw unbridled energy in the way they would have done it, and we make our way through some of the most iconic songs of that generation. It doesn’t get bigger than this. By the end of the night, we have the crowd up and stomping. We are proud of the way in which we deliver The Beatles. Our ‘tip of the hat’ is nostalgic, yet contemporary, genuine, yet raw. We give the songs the respect that they deserve in a live full-frontal format. People are left feeling a sense of fulfillment knowing that they have seen a new way of putting on a show. We don’t merely ‘go through the motions’. This show is alive. No two nights are the same, but all of them are packed with interactions, energy, dry-spun humour, and live Rock’n’Roll.

How did you become involved in THE BEATLES 50 YEARS ON?

Rod and I are the founding member of the show. The idea sprang from the desire to break out of the tribute format. We had been in shows long enough to know that was time for something fun. So we put our thinking caps on, and along with Ben Maiorana Entertainment, and came up with an idea to satisfy the needs of our evolving audiences. The Beatles catalogue deserves a forum for sonic wonder on the live stage and so we knew from the start that this was going to work. We are very proud of this concept.

Growing up, what was your favourite Beatles song?

My favourite song growing up was ‘Every Little Thing’ by the Beatles. People tend to expect me to have a lesser popular song as a favourite, and I guess I delivered. But there is something about that melody. It struck me as a brave song as a lot of the melody lines seem to hit a cul-de-sac!!! Like they are deliberately sabotaging the lines. But the more you listen to it, the easier those melody choices are to accept, and then before you know it, you’re addicted!!! They knew exactly what they were doing.

What about now as an adult?

My favourite is ‘Fixing a Hole’. For me, it ticks a lot of boxes. It has a killer bass line, harpsichord, McCartney in a moment of candour and reflection, its irreverent switching from straight to swing in the weirdest moments, a genre in which you can’t pigeonhole, and incredible guitar sections.

You play as Paul McCartney – what’s it like playing a living legend?

Every second is dedicated to McCartney’s legacy. In fact, we all make sure that the audiences know that the four people on stage are just another four fans, fans who hope they are doing The Beatles justice. Playing McCartney is like climbing Mt Everest, as long as the audience want to come along, we could get ourselves a grand ol’ view of what it was like back then. I never take my job for granted.

In the performance, what’s your favourite song and why?

I love performing ‘Back in the USSR’ because we have our audiences on their feet to a legendary Rock’n’Roll tune. I get the sense of satisfaction at this point of night when I look around and see everyone in a trance. That is what this is all about.

And most challenging?

The most challenging part of the performance is not being able to see all the faces in the crowd. It is why we love to have some lights on them a couple of times. It helps us to connect with them. There is a lot crowd participation (and even conversation) throughout the night, and great moments are captured when we see eye to eye.

Lastly, what’s the favourite part of your performance?

My favourite part is when I see the reactions. When I see people with their eyes closed and smiling away, I can’t think of a better feeling. Whether they are lost in a ballad, or shaking to a rock song, they become the parts of the night that make it all worthwhile.

The Beatles – 50 Years On! TOUR DATES

Saturday 13th January, 2024 – THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE QLD  – Bookings: (07) 3852 1711

Sunday 21st January, 2024 – GLEN STREET THEATRE, BELROSE NSW  – Bookings: (02) 9470 5913

John Kater (Paul McCartney) Biography

John Kater is best known for his performances with The Beatnix, The Beatle Boys, Lee Kernaghan, Doug Parkinson, Jon English, 1927, History of British Rock, The Doc Neeson Band, Ted Mulry Gang, The Rock Show Trilogy and Golden Guitar nominated trailblazers of Australian country Jonah’s Road.

John’s voice has been described as mesmerizing and world class and has been praised by staple dignitaries such as Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger) and Dave Gleeson (Screaming Jets). He has even sung for the Sultan of Brunei! Having had his own songs recorded and broadcast all over the world, he has a deep appreciation for the gift of the songsmith. John continues to fill rooms around the country stunning audiences with his dynamic and eclectic vocal presence.

About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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