All photos by Randy Franklin




FAIRFIELD—The Sun Kings' motto is “A Beatles Tribute as Nature Intended” and it is so true. The Beatles were, of course, in many respects larger than life, but the remarkable thing about them was how they really always remained four regular (albeit incredibly musically gifted) guys just making music together.

That fact is what makes this tribute work on the level that it does.

The Sun Kings, sans costumes, wigs, mustaches or faked accents,

brought the essence of the Beatles to Fairfield on

Saturday, February 25, 2017.

Even before the show began there was a buzz all about the

Downtown Theatre. To be sure a lot of that was created by the

near capacity crowd, but also the building itself was glowing.


Local impresario Jeff Trager had told me about the lights and effects that Spectrum Systems SF had created for the exterior, lobby and inside of the theatre, but they had to be experienced to fully appreciate their awesomeness. The new look added warmth, a flashy but classy ambiance and fed into the excitement that culminated at 8 pm when the band took the stage.  

The Sun Kings (Drew Harrison as John Lennon on rhythm guitar, Jeff Toczynski as Paul McCartney on bass and vocals, Bruce Coe as George Harrison on lead guitar and vocals, Steve Scarpelli as Ringo Starr on drums and vocals and Michael Barrett as the orchestrator), kicked off the show with their melodic take on The Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout” and then the hits came fast and furious.

I think what impressed me was the most was the band’s attention to detail. The Sun Kings are not about imitation or simulation, but rather about capturing what made the Beatles so great onstage and in the studio. Their magic if you will.

The nearly 40 song (!) set they played included the obvious hits like “I Saw Her Standing There,” “A Hard Days Night,” I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Help!,” “Hey Jude” and many more.

But they also re-created songs more off the beaten path like “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and the Carl Perkins tune the Beatles covered that was sung by Ringo, “Honey Don’t.”

The rich, lush harmonies that made the Beatles so unique were flawlessly reproduced by the Sun Kings on numbers like “If I Fell” and “Nowhere Man.”

Other highlights:

  • Drew Harrison’s achingly earnest pleading vocal on “This Boy” that slid effortlessly back into the harmonious chorus.

  • The “VH1 Storytellers” moments where the band explained the backstory of certain songs before making them come alive. For example how cool it must have been for 23 year old John Lennon to have written a Motown-esque song like “You Can’t Do That” and then have it covered by the actual Supremes.

  • The focus on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the Beatles album most associated with it. The five tunes The Sun Kings did from that album included “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise),” and a show stopping version of “A Day In The Life.”

As it happens, the day of the show, February 25th, would have been George Harrison’s 74th birthday. The Sun Kings’ tribute to the Quiet Beatle featured tunes like “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” “If I Needed Someone,” Here Comes the Sun,” Birthday” and an electrifying performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that brought the crowd to its feet in a well-deserved standing ovation.

As a huge John Lennon fan I was so grateful they did some of my fave songs of his including “Don’t Let Me Down,” and “The Ballad of John & Yoko.”

From toe-tappin’ rock and roll (“Day Tripper,” “We Can Work It Out,” Revolution”) to poignant melodies that brought smiles to everyone’s face (“Penny Lane,” “In My Life, “Yesterday”) the faux Liverpool lads were in the zone all night.

Thanks to Jeff Trager​ for continuing to bring top quality authentic music to downtown Fairfield. Also a special shout out to​ Mike Meszaros and his crew at the theatre for making sure the band was in the sonic sweet spot the entire evening.

Now, you could fill a yellow submarine with all the songs The Sun Kings didn’t perform in their over two hour set, but, like the actual band, they somehow left us incredibly satisfied and yet still wanting more.