Excluding Elvis impersonators, I’ve often wondered what the first tribute act was, so I looked it up. It seems it may have been one of the Beatles tributes, such as The Buggs (and, as Michael Caine would put it: ‘Notta lotta people know dat …’).
But the theory posited in the late 1990s by Sunday Times journalist Tony Barrell was that Australia was the main cradle of the tribute act – this because of the reluctance of big names to put exhausting Oz tours on their itineraries and the Aussies’ unembarrassed confidence to create their own home-grown versions.
One of these, the ABBA tribute Bjorn Again, successfully toured Britain over 20 years ago, and it’s in the past two decades that tribute acts have mushroomed and multiplied worldwide, becoming an established and significant part of the entertainment scene today.
Sounding, dressing, playing like and imitating the mannerisms and style of the famous stars they portray, the better acts soon become known in their own right, with followings to boot.
Now Ray McRobbie knows a good thing when he hears it and over the past three years the Radisson Blu Doha hotel’s director of entertainment has brought some of the cream of tribute acts to perform for Doha’s appreciative aficionados of the genre, including, in 2017 ABBA Revival (voted best act of its kind for three years running by the UK Agents Association) and in 2018 The Queen Experience (both sell-outs), as well as earlier this year the superb Bowie tribute.
His latest coup is to secure The Stones tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones (‘the greatest rock and roll band in the world’ with over 200 million albums sold) for another ‘top-value all-inclusive gourmet buffet-beverages-band’ package at just QAR395, this time on 21 November.
The original Rolling Stones line-up was Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman, with Mick Taylor (first) and Ronnie Woods both, in turn, replacing Brian Jones. The Stones faithfully reproduce these personnel changes in their act while bringing out not only the passion, verve, excitement and energy of the original band but, with authentic vintage instruments, costumes and mannerisms, capture the feel and sound of the music as well – something they all take very seriously in doing.
Ben Wattam as Mick looks uncannily like him (physical similarity not always being the case with tribute acts) and has closely studied his voice and moves to faithfully interpret one the world’s first and greatest frontmen in his prime; while Richard Jordan (a professional guitarist since leaving school) pays fine attention to detail with the types of guitar Keith Richards used, the same kind of equipment and the way he played – famous riffs included!
Jason Wood ‘plays’ Brian Jones and Mick Taylor (one of his favourites) and has backed a veritable who’s who of artists in earlier decades. In his playing and with his instruments Jason, too, strives to bring authenticity to his roles.
Bill Wyman is played by bassist Steve Bircumshaw, for whom an early influence was Suzi Quattro (one of the few prominent bass players around then). A veteran of several bands, Steve has closely analysed Bill Wyman’s style and he too has picked up authentic guitars and amps along the way. Meanwhile, James Jordan, the band’s youngest member, plays drums à la Charlie Watts, following spells with several other tribute acts and appearances on TV and in theatre.
There may not be 30,000 there on 21/11 (as there were at a European Festival The Stones played at recently), but the show is already well on the way to being another capacity audience sell-out – and I have a feeling those of us packed into the Giwana Ballroom will be making just as much noise …
You can get tickets to The Stones – the UK’s finest tribute to The Rolling Stones – on q-tickets here. Or you can find out more about The Stones on their website. You can also have a look at our Events Listing to find out more about the event.
Author: Paul Paterson
Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.