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FitzGerald’s concert marks ‘Please Please Me’ anniversary

Phil Angotti is celebrating 40th anniversary Beatles’ “Please Please Me” with show FitzGerald’s.

Phil Angotti is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ “Please Please Me” with a show at FitzGerald’s.

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Beatles ‘Please Please Me’ Album


♦ 9 p.m. March 22

♦ FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn,

♦ Tickets, $6

♦ (708) 788-2118;

Never got the chance to see the Beatles live? For six dollars on March 22 atFitzGerald’s in Berwyn, you can see and hear Chicago singer-songwriter Phil Angotti, NRBQ’s Casey McDonough and Scott Ligon, and multi-instrumentalist Tony Kidonakis play the Beatles’ “Please Please Me” in its entirety to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the album.

A few weeks ago, Angotti read online that “Please Please Me” was released on March 22, 1963. He decided to call up longtime friends McDonough, Ligon, and Kidonakis to play alongside him to cover the album. Angotti and McDonough have been playing together for 20 years — they’re both part of the Chicago-based Beatle Brothers cover collective, who previously played all of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on its 30th anniversary, and John Lennon’s “Imagine” (in Liverpool) on its 40th anniversary (with none other than Alan White, who played drums on about half of the original “Imagine” recording).

While McDonough primarily plays bass, he will be on lead guitar for theFitzGerald’s show. Kidonakis will play bass, Ligon will play drums, and Angotti will be the lead singer and guitarist/harmonica player. Or, as he puts it, “I’m going to be John Lennon.”

A co-owner of guitar shop Avenue North Guitars in Wicker Park, Angotti has access to the same model instruments the Beatles used in 1963, a luxury that he hopes will contribute to a more authentic sound. Angotti will play a 1959 Rickenbacker 325; McDonough will be playing Angotti’s 1955 Gretsch Duo-Jet; and the two of them will share a 1960 Gibson J-160E. Kidonakis will be playing a reissue Hofner 500/1 violin bass, similar to the one Paul McCartney used.

“The goal is for the performance to sound as much like the record as possible,” said McDonough. “There’s something pretty cool about an old instrument. You can feel the difference in holding it. A brand new version of that same guitar just doesn’t feel right.”

The group is banking on nostalgia to permeate the evening’s performance.

“When I was young, my aunt gave me a mixtape with songs from ‘Please Please Me’ on it,” said Kidonakis. “Playing this album will recreate the magic of when I first heard the Beatles.” (At the age of 16, Kidonakis actually won a Paul McCartney sound-alike contest after playing “The Long and Winding Road” on piano.)

The “Please Please Me” set at 9:45 p.m. will be sandwiched by a solo acoustic opening set from Angotti at 9p.m. and a closing set from Ligon, McDonough, and Kidonakis’ band, The Federales, at 11 p.m.

Jordan Mainzer is a local free-lane writer.

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