By Veronica James, Claremont Club Member of 27 years
On June 27, summer weather conditions were perfect for an evening concert at The Claremont Club. As a light breeze fluttered tablecloths lining numerous tables around the Olympic swimming pool, The Fab 8, a Beatles tribute band, finished tuning their instruments. Young children played excitedly nearby, while adults laughed and chatted over drinks around the pool.
The Fab 8 opened their show with a set of early 1960’s Beatles songs, beginning with “Any Time At All.” I was pleasantly surprised by the group’s great sound and taken back in time to my earliest childhood memories of hearing the Beatles on the radio at home and nearly every place I went. Another early hit, the melancholy “Things We Said Today,” a 1964 single, was my favorite song of the night. The Fab 8’s performance of “Things We Said Today” was so moving it actually gave me chills!
As the youthful TCC swim team finished practice, the hits continued with tight harmonies, especially on “I’ll Follow The Sun.” After a rousing rendition of “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl,” band leader, Hai Muradian began discussing Paul McCartney’s latest studio album, Egypt Station. Obviously a Beatles fan, Muradian also described his group as the “best and only Beatles band in Claremont.”
The seven piece band consists of Muradian on vocals, guitar and flute, Pat Naish on vocals and guitar, Martie Echito also on vocals and guitar, Matt Snyder on vocals and keyboards, Dale Brooks on vocals and percussion and Doug Brooks also on vocals and percussion, although he missed the concert due to recent surgery. An eighth member is no longer with the group; however, band members said they retained the group’s name, The Fab 8, because they now consider the audience to be their eighth member.
Audience participation varied, from hand clapping and singing along to several people dancing around the pool deck toward the end, but that doesn’t include the children who may have had the best time of all. Whether playing in the wading pool, jumping in the bounce house, sitting with their parents or dancing to the music, the kids had as good a time as anyone, if not better.
Food was provided by Claremont’s own Grizzby’s Biscuits & Donuts. My husband had the ¼ Pound All-Beef Hot Dog, which looked delicious and I had the Chicken Salad Biscuit. We both enjoyed the Grizzby’s fare, which we had never tried before. Now we want to go to the Claremont Village to enjoy it again. The Fresh Strawberries ‘n Cream Donut was to die for, thanks to my tennis friend, Anne Valdez, who so graciously bought an extra one for our table to sample. Other menu items included Sourdough Grilled Cheese, BBQ Pulled Pork Biscuit, Village Cheeseburger Biscuit and Mixed Veggies ‘n Hummus. I highly recommend Grizzby’s and their delicious food.
After a short break, the Fab 8 resumed with another long set of Beatles tunes, including “If I Needed Someone,” “You Can’t Do That,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” featuring Muradian on flute. Several more songs ensued, like “She Loves You” and my all-time favorite Beatles song, “All My Loving.” The concert was fun and thoroughly enjoyable, with no shortage of entertainment. I counted 32 songs played in all, and I knew them all, too. But that didn’t matter because the winners of having the best time were probably the people there who knew the fewest songs: the children. They may have had a better time than all the rest of us. It was a fun night.
Veronica James is a 27-year member of the Claremont Club and a freelance writer who has contributed hundreds of articles and columns to such publications as the LA Times, The Orange County Register, Surfer Magazine and The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. She holds a BA in Social Ecology from UC Irvine.