If you’re a fan of The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and great rock ‘n’ roll in general, you owe it yourself to check out the new release from Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul called Macca to Mecca. Recorded in a one-off afternoon concert in 2017 at the legendary Cavern Club, it was an in-the-moment tribute to the Beatles performed before about 250 lucky fans.
The great thing about the performance is that Little Stephan does the music justice without trying to mimic it… So it sounds like Little Steven and it sounds just right and it works! Happily he dives deeper in The Beatles’ catalog and does fairly incredible versions of songs from the latter half of the band’s career — music that didn’t get played live much, if at all.
Included on Macca to Mecca are “Good Morning, Good Morning” (from Sgt. Pepper,), “Got To Get You Into My Life” (from Revolver) and “Magical Mystery Tour.” It also includes quite possibly the most complete live version of “All You Need Is Love” I’ve ever heard anyone attempt to do including all the little parts that made that song so special (yes, they even do that nifty coronet part at the end!). Bravo for the attention to Beatle-details!
Little Steven’s choice of early Beatles songs are prime including the Ringo-classic-cover of The Shirelles’ “Boys,” Larry Williams’ “Slow Down” and the Cavern Club staple the Fab Four used to play back in the day: “Some Other Guy.”
They even do a great cover of Arthur Alexander’s “Soldier of Love,” a song which The Beatles didn’t officially record but performed live early on and which was included on The Beatles Live at the BBC. [Side Note: Marshall Crenshaw recorded a fantastic version of this tune on his fabulous self titled debut from 1982!]
So while Macca to Mecca is a tribute — events which are often loving but ultimately unsatisfying affairs — this one is certainly not a tossed off set. Little Steven and his band are well oiled and they play this music with passion as if it were their own. Amazingly, they put the show together while on tour in England, pretty much rehearsing the music on the bus between their regular gigs.
He wanted to make it special and did.
The CD sounds just fine and it comes with a DVD of the full concert. The video quality is very grainy but that only adds to the charm of the event; when you watch the making-of mini documentary included you’ll understand how small the space is and why there was probably no room for special lighting…. its amazing they got cameras in there! You’ll want to stick with the 48 kHz, 16-bit PCM Stereo version of the soundtrack as that sounds best, actually quite good and rocking. The Dolby Digital surround sound option has some sort of issue going on with the center channel where I assume the lead vocals should be appearing (but they don’t really). Its not a big deal as the Stereo soundtrack is perfectly fine and works great with the whole impromptu aesthetic of the show. In this instance, Stereo rocks just fine, thank you.
Macca to Mecca is a fun package and is like taking a trip to Liverpool with an old friend. And as a bonus, you get to see Paul McCartney sit in with the band from another 2017 performance doing “I Saw Her Standing There” making this set essential for serious Beatle-philes!