Filled with so many memories of my childhood, and beyond, Just Imagine was an emotionally ride for me. For some, this might be the Beatles time machine that we have been waiting for; Tim Piper is John Lennon reincarnate in the flesh. Right before your very eyes you see John Lennon’s features, mannerisms, voice and story relived. As much as you may think this may be smoke and mirrors it is not. No illusion, no magic, just pure talent and the ability to tap into a place where only Tim Piper can go. I, like most of the audience members, was truly blown away by this time capsule, rich in unabridged history.
The show starts as John Lennon gets shot at The Dakota’s, Mark Chapman, December 8, 1980, that ill-fated day is one I will never forget. It’s almost like when President Kennedy was assassinated, you knew exactly where you were and how you responded, or like 911. John Lennon was a huge tragedy, one of the biggest in the 20th century.
The band was awesome. This is no cover or tribute band; this is the real deal, backed by rock band Working Class Hero; Greg Piper on bass; Don Butler on guitar, Morley Bartnof on keyboards and Don Poncher on drums. These guys are truly in sync.
The LA Weekly wrote, “GO! The fun of seeing and hearing Tim Piper’s great John Lennon impersonation in an intimate setting with an outstanding band, under Greg Piper’s musical direction, is just undeniable.” Agreed the Los Angeles Times, “CRITIC’S CHOICE… Nothing matches ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ live, dense and ecstatic, raining down around your ears.” KABC Radio enthused, “Tim Piper IS John Lennon,” and KLOS 95.5’s Chris Carter raved that “[Just Imagine is] “Breakfast with the Beatles approved… if you like John Lennon, you will love this show.”
Tim Pipers talents are very prolific; he is s singer songwriter and actor. He has had many roles as John Lennon, and has traveled the world portraying him. Tim Piper and Steve Altman write the show. Tim Piper was in the CBS production The Linda McCartney Story, E! Channel’s John Lennon Story, Beatle Wives and as the singing voice of Lennon for the NBC TV movie of the week, In His Life -The John Lennon Story. He has also done many special events; with working the re-release debut of Yellow Submarine and the John Lennon 20th anniversary memorial gathering in Central Park.
Written and directed by Steve Altman, Just Imagine combines John Lennon’s songs with the story graphics behind them to create a unique and electrifying multimedia concert experience. A big part of the production is the graphics displayed on a screen in back of the players. From historic photos to psychedelic Peter Max type artwork, we really get each and every nuance depicted on stage by Tim Piper and his band mates. The back screen chronicles the history of John Lennon’s life and music. Each song and scene has a backdrop depicted that is either upbeat or sullen. Like during The Magical Mystery segment there are walrus’s flying pigs, abbey road keyboard, and butterflies. The graphics truly bring each song and scenes point across. It adds a curious flavor to an already existing memory. There are also wars video clips and photos, reminding us of a horrible time that is long gone.
Tim Piper starts off wearing all back with cowboy boots. His toe tapping style, as John Lennon is so exact, it’s scary. He uses a few jackets to show the audience the different John Lennon Beatles phases. From the Nehru to the sergeant pepper jackets we get the message. The band never changes costumes. The complexity here is a marriage of Tim Piper being dead on as John Lennon and the great graphics that are running throughout the show.
What is transmitted onstage is hard to define, because there is so much of a story here about John Lennon, The Beatles, war, and Johns wives, you are left in a fog. But then miraculously the musical ends with John saying, “I just had to let it go” and him walking up a never-ending stairway to heaven. I know on that horrible day a true music pioneer was lost, and the fact that you relive this event through “Just Imagine”, is astounding.
“Just Imagine” runs through August 25, 2013, at The Hayworth Theater. This show is a must for any Beatle fan, but even if your not, its still an amazing glimpse into a music history. Be prepared to sing or hum along, that is if your like me and remember every single lyric. Run don’t walk to this spectacular show.
The Hayworth Theater
2511 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90057