The pleasant weather and warm crowd reception kept the atmosphere light, fun and laid-back at the first-ever Bangor Symphony Orchestra concert on the Bangor Waterfront. The BSO performed with Yesterday, a national Beatles touring group, for about two hours, as the sun slowly set behind Main Street. Opening for the BSO and Yesterday was the Stone Doctors, a Rolling Stones cover band.
The show began with a medley of beloved Beatles melodies, with the BSO, conducted by Maestro Lucas Richman, sounding in fine form. The band took the stage in full Ed Sullivan-era costumes, and launched into the biggest hits of those early albums. The horn section for “Got to Get You Into My Life” sounded nice and punchy, and the audience singalong for “She Loves You” brought smiles to many faces.
Lackluster ticket sales for the event meant that there were a number of empty seats toward the back, but the BSO aggressively marketed reduced-fee tickets the day of the show and gave a number of tickets out to area schools and organizations, which brought the audience numbers up considerably. A nice surprise, to at the last minute attend the concert — a fact that a number of attendees commented on.
“I didn’t even know we were coming until today,” said Christie Cann, of Bangor, who was there with her boyfriend. “We got two tickets through a friend, and I was psyched. This is awesome. It was a nice surprise.”
After the first set, the band changed into its Sgt. Pepper’s costumes, and played through most of the mid-’60s hits, including a stirring rendition of “Something” and a spritely take on “Penny Lane,” for which cheers erupted when the trumpet player hit the high note near the end of the solo. The band itself sounded a bit wobbly at times, and it was clear that the John Lennon soundalike was struggling to hit some of his notes, and left the end of an otherwise lovely version of “Strawberry Fields Forever” sounding muddy and out of sync. Richman and the BSO did an admirable, nimble job of keeping up, however, and songs like “A Day In the Life” sounded fantastic, especially with the always-exciting crescendo at the end.
All criticism aside, it was a fun, family-friendly event, and even if attendance probably wasn’t as high as organizers would have hoped for, it was a treat to see the hometown orchestra play in an outdoor setting. Here’s hoping more area arts organizations can collaborate with concert promoters to offer events like this on the Waterfront.