It's a concert that even The Beatles would have deemed too ambitious to undertake.
Now in their 20th year performing together — accurately and reverently recreating the music of The Beatles, without wigs, costumes or accents — The Fab Faux will be performing the "Abbey Road" album in its entirety, plus a selection of songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame solo careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Augmented by a horn section called The Hogshead Horns (a reference to the "Sgt. Pepper" song "Being for the Benefit for Mr. Kite") and a string section called The Creme Tangerine Strings (a reference to the "White Album" song "Savoy Truffle"), the band specializes in songs The Beatles never performed in concert because of how involved the recordings were.
The Fab Faux’s members are bassist Will Lee (the CBS Orchestra/David Letterman), guitarist Jimmy Vivino (music director for "Conan"), lead-singing drummer Rich Pagano (Rosanne Cash, Roger Waters), guitarist Frank Agnello (Marshall Crenshaw, Phoebe Snow) and multi-instrumentalist Jack Petruzzelli (Joan Osborne, Patti Smith).
Although they respect other Beatles tribute bands, Vivino said of The Fab Faux's non-theatrical, music-focused presentation: "When you go see the philharmonic, they don't wear powdered wigs or silk pants. For us it's about our classical music and playing it and having a good time."
Vivino, who has also worked with Levon Helm, John Sebastian, Laura Nyro, Felix Cavaliere, Al Kooper, Dion and others, was 9 years old when The Beatles made their landmark appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Having not heard much rock 'n' roll music because of his father's affinity for trumpeters like Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, it was a revelation for Vivino. "They all sang and played, and our parents didn't like them — which was very important," he said.
According to Vivino, when he lived in New York, Lee would tease him about putting together a "Beatles thing." Then one fateful night, Lee summoned Vivino to his apartment, where the members of the future Fab Faux were assembled. "Before the night was over, we were playing ('Abbey Road' track) 'Because.' If we can do that, we can do anything," he said. "Will pushed people to do things beyond what they thought was possible. 'Jimmy, get a sitar' (the Indian classical stringed instrument that The Beatles introduced into pop music). The learning part of this gig never ends for me."
Perhaps the most challenging part of performing "Abbey Road" is the medleys of song fragments. "The audience is the X factor. They're pulling for us to pull it off," Vivino said.
"(Lennon and McCartney) weren't in the spirit of finishing each other's songs anymore, and they were kind of ignoring George Harrison (who contributed 'Here Comes the Sun' and 'Something'). 'Come Together' and 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' were jams," he said, adding that McCartney incorporated the episodic feel from the "Abbey Road" medleys into Wings' hit "Band on the Run."
Speaking of the solo years, this inspired note-for-note re-discovery of The Beatles by The Fab Faux will also feature what Vivino called "wild card" selections from the 1970s, like two Ringo Starr songs, Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth" and McCartney's "Junk."