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Fab Faux offers a double feature of Beatles albums in Ann Arbor
During its 17 years, the Fab Faux -- the Beatles cover group led by late night TV musicians Will Lee ("The Late Show with David Letterman") and Jimmy Vivino ("Conan") -- has covered most of the Fab Four's canon. Lee, in fact, surmises that the troupe is "about three tunes shy" from having played everything, at least once.
This time out, however, the Faux is offering "a double feature," playing both 1965's "Rubber Soul" and 1967's "Magical Mystery Tour" in the same night.
"I love the idea of doing an earlier and later Beatles album," says Lee, 62. "I love the contract between the two sort of directions of those particular albums. 'Rubber Soul' is a rhythm section doing all the heavy lifting -- just guitar, bass, drums and the occasional sitar -- contrasted with 'Magical Mystery Tour's' kind of horn-laden songs.
"And it's exciting to show off this band doing the 'Magical Mystery Tour' album because I really feel like this Fab Faux was made to do that album. We['re probably the best-equipped of anybody to do it, because it's so heavily instrumentalized and we're so used to that. And it's got a lot of our personal favorite tunes from the (Beatles) catalog, too."
The Fab Faux is, of course, known for its slavish attention to detail and musical accuracy; as Lee explains, "Everything has to be just so. We're digging deep into the details to get it right. It's challenging, and it's jsut as fun as it is challenging." The group has never recorded any of its renditions of the Beatles' music -- "They were already done perfectly the first time around. Our job is just to bring those records to the stage," Lee notes -- but there's a desire for some sort of live DVD down the road.
"There's talks now and again," Lee says. "But it's a big undertaking to do that. It has to do with getting the performance right. It's costly. The Beatles music is kind of on a different scale than just covering the blues, for examples."
Schedules have also been an issue for the Fab Faux, but that will be changing soon for Lee. With Letterman signing off on May 20 and heading into retirement, he'll have more time on his hand for the band as well as for his busy schedule as a producer and session player.
"I'm looking forward to a lot of that kind of freedom," says Lee, who's skipping this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on Saturday, April 18, too play with the Fab Faux in Ann Arbor. I think I'm still in denial about the whole thing being emotional. I'm the longest-standing member of the band, other than Paul Shaffer. I just keeping thinking that my musical life outside of the show is really, really involved with a lot of projects and stuff, so I keep thinking how convenient that's going to be.
"But after 33 years, it's probably going to be kind of emotional. It's a very big deal that a guy who's been on the air for longer than any other talk show host ever is going to leave. That's a big deal."
The Fab Faux
8 p.m. Saturday, April 18.
The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.
Tickets are $29.50-$65.
Call 734-668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.
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