NOT many have the chance to sing and dance at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) in Kuala Lumpur City Centre. This opportunity came recently when the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) paid tribute to the Beatles to commemorate the band's 50th anniversary.
It was in 1962 that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr formed the band that later took Britain, and shortly after, the world by storm.
Those were the days of Beatlemania and there is still nothing like it 50 years on. The Beatles is one of the most commercially successful and influential trendsetters in the history of popular music. Indeed, there is no other rock band in history that has had an impact on the world like the Beatles. It is said to have sold more than one billion albums worldwide and that number is still growing.
Those who attended the MPO event, with the fabulous conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald at the helm, relived the yesteryear. The hits included Can't Buy Me Love; a medley of Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane; And I Love Her; She Loves You; A Hard Day's Night; Hey Jude; and Let It Be.
When Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club was played, the conductor donned the fanciful blue sergeant's uniform! He was still in uniform when he signed autographs at the end of the concert.
The rendering of Yesterday stole the show as many were transported to the glory days of Beatlemania.
Judging by the attendees' age group, most were still in their teens in the 1960s. The Beatles were iconic, from circular Lennon-type glasses, Ringo's multiple-ringed fingers and Paul's left-handed guitar to George's shiny shoes. And there was the revolutionary mop-top hairstyle they sported!
The audience was invited to sing along to the chorus of Ob-Bla-Di, Ob-Bla-Da and The Yellow Submarine, majestically performed by the MPO.
They were also invited to do the twist and shout on the floor of the DFP. More than a handful of people seized the chance to show off the long-forgotten moves -- all in good fun.
It made the audience's day to have the privilege to sing and dance at the DFP.
The International Beatles Week, which happens between Aug 22 and 28, will celebrate drummer Ringo joining the band in the same month in 1962. This is fitting because the Beatles is still an international phenomenon with thousands of documentation on it and new interest emerging now and then. Its popularity is evergreen despite it having long disbanded.
In fact, there was a lingering hope that it would perform again as a group, though this is now impossible with the demise of John and George.
While the band was officially together for less than a decade, from 1962 to 1970, its number of albums is difficult to beat.
Mind you, this was the group that Decca Records rejected in its early days with the comment, "Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein (the Beatles manager)."
It is said "the difference between a great band and a musical phenomenon is that a great band produces great music, but a phenomenon goes further to influence a multitude of cultural outlets such as art, photography, literature, fashion, politics and belief systems".
And that is certainly the Beatles and its diehard fans!