Sometimes it isn't easy to preach to the choir. FIU's rock and roll professor, Dr. Armando Tranquilino, lectured about the Beatles to an audience of eager babyboomers — and a few twenty- and thirty-somethings -- at last night's Culture in the City talk in Coconut Grove.
For a Ph.D., the guy looked the part: faded jeans over well-worn black boots, nicely cut white shirt untucked under a casual blazer (which, true to rock'n'roll style, he removed midway through his presentation). And he had the gear: a pretty Taylor acoustic guitar and a hefty Rickenbacker bass.
His story of the Beatles arrival and evolution hit all the familiar — but oh so right — notes. He augmented his observations with a little music theory, discussing the Fabs' uncanny, untrained abilities to alight on surprising chord and even key changes.
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Unfortunately, he lingered too much on the early material, with sound clips that played a tad too long, even if they did incite a lot of toe-tapping and singing in the crowd of a couple dozen. He also got hung up with a lot of interruptions from his audience of well-versed Beatle fans, who corrected minor details and asked a lot of questions.
Before he'd finished exploring Rubber Soul, the Beatles' sixth album, he announced, "OK, I'm going to have to skip through Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, and The White Album —"
The crowd erupted: "NOOOOO!!!!" Everyone knew that was the best stuff. Tranquilino relented, but only a little, as he had run long. But he finished beautifully, playing along with the immaculate bass line from George's "Something."
This being Coconut Grove, one guy broke into the professor's discourse on the genius of Paul's key shift in "And I Love Her": "I realize this may be off topic, but what I want to know is, how did they split the money?" -Frank Houston