LIVE: The Fab Faux @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, 4/30/16

Will Lee
Will Lee

Review and photographs by Ed Conway

A quick read of the playbill prior to the show told you everything you needed to know about the Fab Faux’s recent performance at The Egg’s Hart Theatre. There were going to be two sets, the first being a live rendition of the Beatles’ Revolver album, with the second being a mixture of favorites. Of course, this didn’t stop an audience member from shouting a request for “Good Day Sunshine” soon after the end of “Taxman,” to which Jimmy Vivino answered back, “That is song number eight on our set list,” unless “they wanted to move the needle” ahead.

This was not just a note-for-note re-enactment of the Beatles album, but more a celebration of their music. While all of the key musical phrasing was there, it didn’t stop each of the musicians from exploring beyond the notes played on the original various albums. In essence, the songs were no longer just part of nostalgia, but were now living and breathing on their own as fresh ideas. It was as if the musicians were inside of the heads John, Paul, George and Ringo creating new life for these wonderful songs. This became clear when, during the opening sitar solo for “Love You To,” Vivino, with a devilish smile, launched into a quick snippet of “Sunshine of Your Life,” to which the sold-out crowd approved enthusiastically.

The five main artists, who have been playing together for 18-plus years, each were accomplished musicians on their own and could move from instrument to instrument smoothly as each song dictated. Center stage was Grammy Award-winning Will Lee (bass). Between his wardrobe and constant movement, it was hard not to watch him all evening. Drummer Rich Pagano switched between two complete drum kits on stage. Frank Agnello, on guitar, has played with a who’s-who of musicians over the years, including Marshall Crenshaw and Al Kooper. Vivino, best known as the musical director of Conan O’Brien’s television show, also played guitar and keyboards. Rounding out the core musicians on keyboard, guitar, bass and percussion was Jack Petruzelli. All took turns at lead and harmony vocals throughout the evening.

Joining the group at various times were the Crème Tangerine Strings (Sibel Finn and Amy Kimball) setting up a spot-on rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” with Pagano stepping out from behind the drums to sing. Also stepping in to fill out the sound were the Hogshead Horns (Sam Bortka, Jerry Vivino, Tom “Bones” Malone and John Chudoba), who stepped into center stage for an extended “Yellow Submarine.”

Lee was not only center stage, but was also the center of attention as the man of constant motion. Whether singing lead or harmony, he would step back from the mic to bob and weave with the music. At one point during “Strawberry Fields,” he picked up a pair of drum mallets and proceeded to accompany Pagano in a drum duet. Vivino had the audience on its feet after a stirring rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” taking the now famous riffs to new heights while at one point playing to a clip of George Harrison singing.

There are a couple of ways to approach a Beatles tribute show. One way is to celebrate the spectacle that was the Beatles, complete with costume changes to mark the various stages in their career. (See my review of Hey Jude…The Tribute…) The other is to celebrate their music as a living organic thing. I enjoy both very much. The Fab Faux is an example of the latter done… to perfection.

Eleanor Rigby
I’m Only Sleeping
Love You To
Here, There and Everywhere
Yellow Submarine
She Said She Said
Good Day Sunshine
And Your Bird Can Sing
For No One
Doctor Robert
I Want to Tell You
Got to Get You Into My Life
Tomorrow Never Knows
Hello Goodbye
Baby, You’re a Rich Man
Glass Onion
I’m a Loser
Savoy Truffle
Nowhere Man
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Strawberry Fields Forever
PS I Love You
Ballad of John And Yoko
Don’t Let Me Down
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Penny Lane
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
Her Majesty
I’m Down

Rich Pagano
Rich Pagano
Jimmy Vivino
Jimmy Vivino
The Hogshead Horns
The Hogshead Horns
the Crème Tangerine Strings
The Crème Tangerine Stringsf
rank Agnello and Jack Petruzel
Frank Agnello and Jack Petruzel
  1. Richard Brody says

    Great review and photos. You nailed it.

  2. Ed Conway says

    Thanks, Richard, it was a great show.

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