IT will be 60 years ago on July 6 that A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles’ first film was released – with the soundtrack following three days later.

It couldn’t fail, arriving at the height of Beatlemania and being rather good – although probably not ‘the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals’, as one critic would have it.

Starring The Beatles as themselves and a stalwart cast of British actors (notably Wilfrid Brambell, John Junkin, Norman Rossington and Victor Spinetti) the movie absolutely set the template for madcap pop antics on celluloid.

So, it’s appropriate that The Mersey Beatles, to me not the most familiar Fab Four tribute, should commemorate the diamond anniversary of the George Martin-helmed elpee by playing the album in full, plus a lot more.

The Mersey Beatles are pretty much steeped in Beatledom, Liverpool-born and the resident band at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool for more than 600 gigs before striking out on their own – that’s 300 more than the Beatles managed.

Here were, on their first date back in Blighty after a short tour in Florida, Mark Bloor (John), Steven Howard (Paul) and Brian Ambrose (Ringo), who all went to the same school in Liverpool, along with Craig McGown (George).

The 13-track album, as was the 1960s fashion, had no fat and clocked in at precisely 30 minutes so we needed some chat and contextualisation to fill a first half consisting of A Hard Day’s Night, I Should Have Known Better, If I Fell, I’m Happy Just To Dance With You, And I Love Her, Tell Me Why, Can’t Buy Me Love, Any Time At All, I’ll Cry Instead, Things We Said Today, When I Get Home, You Can’t Do That and I’ll Be Back.

The set was simply dressed, authentic looking equipment and a big screen showing mostly monochrome sixties films and old adverts. The MBs arrived dressed in the classic grey, collarless suits , immediately showing this was not a mere lookalike show. 

Neither did they particularly have the individual voices off to a tee, George being the closest, but collectively they produced a fine version of The Beatles in the sense that it was a show about the Mop Tops rather than a tribute in its purest form.

But small quibbles. They raced through the Lennon-heavy A Hard Day’s Night album chronologically and it was good to hear the lesser known side two tracks.

Half an hour in and the band nipped off to change into black suits, returning with All My Loving, I Want To Hold Your Hand, From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, a really good shot at She Loves You and Eight Days A Week.

Throughout the show the screen displayed Mersey Beatles images, interspersed with old bits of film, as though they were living through Beatlemania. Notably, no images of the actual Beatles were in evidence.

Part two took us into 1967 and the Sgt Pepper era, all shiny, colourful suits, longer hair more intricate songs (a fair amount was, needless to say, on backing tape) and Lennon occasionally at the piano – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was followed by Penny Lane and the singalong, phone lights on, All You Need Is Love.

An excellent version of A Day In The Life was followed (after the execrable Yellow Submarine) by a move into 1968 and McCartney, solo, doing the White Album’s Blackbird as the rest changed into hippy mode for the latter years section.

The best thing about these Mersey Beatles is that they’re not afraid of straying from the path of Fab Four familiarity (well, as far as one can go with the world’s most familiar band) with track choices outside other tribute band favourites.

Thus we had Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun among the likes of Revolution, Back In The USSR, the closing number Get Back and the inevitable encore, Hey Jude.