For those who’ve felt the last two years of the pandemic have left them feeling like a nowhere man, lost in a Norwegian wood, then it’s time to think for yourself. Look at all the lonely people and say, “Good day, sunshine” because tomorrow never knows. If you’re picking up what we’re putting down then yes, it’s time to be here, there, and everywhere with Santa Cruz’s famous Beatles tribute band, the White Album Ensemble.
“I think the people really need it,” says legendary local musician and unofficial White Album leader, Dale Ockerman (ex-Doobie Brothers/Quicksilver Messenger Service). “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Starting June 17, the WAE will rock a two-day residency at the Rio Theatre, performing one of their most beloved shows, “Rubber Revolver”—the songs of Rubber Soul and Revolver along with the singles from that period.
“In the old days [the Beatles] wouldn’t put the singles on the album,” Ockerman explains. “‘Daytripper’ and ‘We Can Work It Out’ were Number One singles, they weren’t on Rubber Soul. So we include them.”
This will be the Ensemble’s first show since the 2021 Santa Cruz County Fair; their last five shows were all canceled at the last minute due to Covid.
For their two-night gig the six-piece core group of the White Album Ensemble will be joined by 11 other musicians, including the Mind Over Matter Horn section, the White Album Ensemble String Quartet and American Idol himself James Durbin–performing John Lennon’s vocals.
“The first time I saw him, my jaw dropped,” Ockerman remembers.
He and Durbin have worked together for over 15 years, and Ockerman originally brought a young James into the White Album Ensemble in 2007, after the Across the Universe movie release when there was a resurgence of young people discovering the Beatles.
For Ockerman, the White Album Ensemble’s 19 years of success represents just how captivating and ageless the Fab Four’s music truly is.
“It was really a magical time, and looking back, it’s amazing to see their influence on the world,” he says, then adds with a smile. “When we play shows, the audience is hypnotized. And they’re not even on drugs—just listening to the music and digging it.”
The White Album Ensemble performs ‘Rubber Revolver’ at 8pm on June 17-18 at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $30/$45, available in advance at tix.com or Streetlight Records.