Fans of iconic 1960s rock band The Beatles were treated to a rare treat on Saturday, a marathon rendition of every song in the band’s 213-song catalog.
Sgt. The Peppercorn Marathon is in its 11th year and continues to attract dozens of local musicians and Beatles enthusiasts. The marathon usually starts around noon and ends around midnight.
The title is a mashup of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ”- widely regarded as one of the most influential rock albums ever to be released – and Joe Peppercorn, the founder of the annual event.
The Beatles event gets bigger every year
The musicians initially presented the show in dive bars, but eventually moved on to larger stages. The Athenaeum Theater at the corner of East Gay and North Fourth Streets in downtown Columbus was this year’s venue.
“I had a book of all the songs, and I thought, ‘It would be great to know them all,’ Peppercorn said of his inspiration for the first marathon.
After the death of a dear friend and local DJ who admired Beatles music, Peppercorn decided to put on a special show for Beatles fans.
“They are the best group ever,” he said. “There is no one nearby. The complexity of the music constantly rewards you. And the more we learn the intricacies, the more we love the songs. “
Why the event promoter says the Beatles still matter
The music tells a personal story to performers and audiences, added Peppercorn.
The musicians, who perform regularly together in Greater Columbus, said the Beatles were an inspiration to them and to modern music in general.
“They took the seeds of the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Chuck Barry and combined them into something that was reminiscent, but was very fresh,” said guitarist Jake Remley.
The performers do their best to recreate the vibe of a Beatles concert, even mimicking the band’s British accents when speaking between songs.
“It’s such an incredible achievement”
For the public, the event is practically unique among rock concerts.
“It’s an incredible achievement,” said Colin Adams, 56, of Italian Village.
Fans come in and out throughout the day, but some revelers have said they’re trying to get through the entire marathon.
“To hear it all the way is pretty amazing,” said Amy Gareff Adams, 53, who is the wife of Colin Adams. “A lot of my friends come to the last part of the series, but I like the first stuff as much as the last.”
For Colin Adams, the annual concert is a pride for Columbus.
“No other city in the world can claim this,” he said.
The musicians said the marathon was trying but rewarding.
“He’s a steamroller,” Remley said. “You just get into a groove, you don’t feel any pain. If mistakes are made, you immediately forget about them and move on.
“Every year, it grows and we improve in music”
Most of the musicians come in and out throughout the day for a break, but bassist Chris Bolognese stays on stage throughout the performance. The bassist said he leans on his fellow musicians, but energy drinks are helpful as well.
“A year after the show it was so blurry that I said to Joe, ‘We forgot about Magical Mystery Tour’, and he said, ‘No we didn’t, you were just in a trance. “” said Bolognese. “There are times when you are so full and others when you are on autopilot.”
Peppercorn expects the show to continue well into the future.
“Every year he gets bigger and we get better at music,” he said.