Get back to Royal Hall: 'John Lennon' speaks about Bootleg Beatles return to Harrogate

Interview: The man playing John Lennon says he can’t wait to bring Let It Be to Harrogate’s Royal Hall next week as part of The Bootleg Beatles’ latest tour - and dispel a few myths at the same time.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 3:44 pm
Back in Harrogate next week: Tyson Kelly, front right, as John Lennon in The Bootleg Beatles’ portrayal of the Fab Four in the Let It Be era.

At the age of 34, the ‘baby’ of the world’s biggest and longest-running tribute act to the Fab Four who first joined in 2018, Tyson Kelly said the legendary Lennon has been misunderstood by some.

“It’s a myth that he was the rude one in the band or was mean,” he says, taking a break from a rehearsal studio in Walsall to talk to me over the phone.

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Fab Four - The Bootleg Beatles will cover every era of the band’s history in chronological order at their Royal Hall show in Harrogate.

“He could be sharp with people but so could the rest of The Beatles.

“I’ve always thought he was an optimistic person, as well as being very witty.”

The timing could not be better for the first shows since lockdown for The Bootleg Beatles, once acclaimed by the late Sir George Martin for always delivering “a terrific show”.

Last week’s release of Peter Jackson’s well-received new documentary The Beatles: Get Back on Disney+ has put the band back in the spotlight.

Tyson said he was particularly looking forward to helping recreate the famous rooftop performance by The Beatles as part of a special Let It Be segment in the new tour.

“We do the entire rooftop concert in the same coats and same clothes.

“It’s a special moment for us to play this. We try to replicate their final ever live performance without being too showy.

“It’s really cool that The Beatles went back to their roots like that, back to their early days.

“People still miss The Beatles. They want to see the closest thing to them, which is where we come in.”

Tyson may hail from LA, he may be the most recent member to join the world’s most famous tribute act, a band whose personnel has changed regularly since it first formed in 1980 when it invented the idea of a tribute band, but he showed all the right credentials to become only the third man to take on the role of John Lennon in The Bootleg Beatles.

“A lot of people are still inspired by The Beatles and I was one of them.

“I remember seeing the Anthology series on TV as a kid in the 1990s.

“I formed my own band at high school and got into acting and theatre. I spent ten years in various Beatles tribute bands in the USA, as well as doing my own music.”

Describing it as “an honour” to be playing John Lennon, Tyson says the tour will see the Bootlegs cover every era of the band’s history in chronological order.

Getting it right is a duty but he remains a fan at heart.

“It took a lot of work to even get to the final audition to join the Bootlegs but it was worth it.

“My two favourite songs are In My Life and A Day In The Life and now I get to sing them both.”

The Bootleg Beatles play Royal Hall, Harrogate on Thursday, December 9.