Stockwood (Beatles tribute) Concert

Waucondafest, Wauconda, Illinois, 24 June 2007

by Mark Drobnick

Stockwood has become a full-fledged Beatles act now in its own right, performing great Beatles music. They methodically interpreted 31 early Beatles songs, over one-and-a-half hours, non-stop, at “Waucondafest” as the main attraction.

The “world’s youngest Beatles tribute band” has developed into a force to be reckoned with, since this reviewer last saw them perform some 15 months ago at the Genesee Theatre, in Waukegan, Illinois. Their ages range from ten to fourteen. They’ve been at it 3½ years, so, do the math. Evan, who portrays Ringo, was 6½ years old when they first embarked upon this.

By now, they’ve garnered a repertoire of 70 Beatles tunes, and, are scouting around for their next album’s recording studio. May I suggest cities where to look: Nashville, Hollywood CA, and Chicago?

Suggestion no. 2: besides the expected Beatle covers, include bonus tracks of original Stockwood material, penned by Collin, Evan, John, & J.D. These bright lads, by instinct, will know what persona the new material shall evince. Why add them? Answer: just seems like a good career-move; thus, they become known not only as actors and technicians, but also as innovators and creators. Epilogue: some day we may see, “Stockwood,” tribute bands!

Collin Berg

The most modern song played was “Taxman,” complete with George H.’s jazzy/Hendrix-like, D seventh augmented ninths {D7(# 9)}, punctuating its biting commentary; John Morefield, on light, cream metallic-green, Fender strat., cadenced chords, on cue. John & Co. also had done a competent and ambitious rendition of “And Your Bird Can Sing,” just before.

In the last year, they’ve been working out with voice lessons as part of their skills development, and, does it ever show (audibly)! Collin Berg, singing, demonstrates an uncanny resemblance to John L. It’s near perfection. Collin especially shined on “It Won’t Be Long,” “Slow Down,” “Little Child” (here too, doing fine harmonica), and “Bad Boy” (Now Jr., Behave Yourself). He merits a solid “A” for his efforts.

The group, as a whole, displayed true vocal harmonies throughout, with the exception of “Hold Me Tight,” where purposely, they did justice to their predecessors’, recurrent cacophony, in accurate imitation of the Beatles’ studio version. Conversely, very soothing harmonies prevailed on “This Boy (Ringo’s theme),” as the three guitarists gathered about a single microphone, to croon.

Doing emcee service, usually, was John. He introduced various songs and gave us Beatles history. Example: “one of Beatle George’s favorite musicians was Carl Perkins,” as the intro to “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby.”

John’s rendition of “I Need You” was right on, vocals very stirring, and guitar chords accompanying, rendered as that soft, almost muted tone we’re used to, accomplished by discarding instrument pick, replacing it with thumb strumming. John’s also adept as a keyboard player, although only guitars and drums prevail during the Stockwood performance. In addition, he has jazz capability, so, given this dexterity, relatively simpler rock-and-roll has got to be a cakewalk.

All four youths are baseball players, another of their proclivities. The fact is that John belongs to a championship team with whom he had been playing earlier that same day, before taking the music stage. So, verily, he had passed “A Hard Day’s Day!”

In J.D.’s vocal turn, at “Can’t Buy Me Love,” I swear I could have heard him singing: “Can’t buy me love, BUB.” How curious! Can only guess, as to why. Other improvisations included John & Collin’s chord essays and volume adjustments, between numbers. J.D. (Fuller) briefly donned emcee hat to announce their web-site for upcoming concerts, etc.:

Their accomplishments and itinerary have included, earning a first-place competition win at Chicago’s Beatlefest last summer, gigs in Milwaukee and (upcoming) Lake Geneva, and, most recently, Abbey Road on the River, Kentucky. At this last, 45 thousand fans frequented the event!

Waucondafest’s stage was at the center of an amusement park set up for the town’s four-day festival. For music, stands were put to accommodate 150 spectators. These were 80%+ filled, added to an equal number of fans “SRO,” so that about 250 focused upon Stockwood’s music, without mentioning transient passers-thru.

There were a dozen or fourteen teeny-bopper girls pressing near the stage, front-center, throughout. (Apparently, there are six or eight groupies who follow Stockwood to all the shows.)

Various fans, a range of ages, danced behind the front row, golden years down to twentyish, men and women. My Loida Maria was the one in jeans skirt dangling lace, rocking and rolling, twisting and shouting. I got to shore up camera duty with familial, pre-school, “crowd control.”

Evan (Collin’s brother) gave very sturdy vocals on “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Act Naturally.” All four boys looked phenomenal in their Beatle garb, but somehow, it was Evan who looked most comfortable, rested, energetic, and at ease. (Maybe his job is easiest; then again, maybe he had the most shade.)

Recall when it was “pre-game,” about 4 o’clock. It was then, Stockwood was expected to have been taking the stage. But, hello, yes it’s a hot, sunny, summer day, and they’re ascending the stairs, next, to commandeer, guitars and drums. Only unexpectedly, as they launch into “It Won’t Be Long,” turns out that they’re sartorially resplendent in Beach Boys garb! Wow, that’s different, are they going to dress “sport” today? No,…guess again. False alarm. It is only a preliminary sound check. Now, back to wardrobe to change into authentic Fab 4 gear, which, by the way, merited a 99 (out of 99 possible), for appearance, effect, and showmanship.

At their business table, front of stage corner, was displayed a photo album containing very cute, impressive, memorable photos from their first Genesee gig. In particular, the 8 x 10’s of them with their last generation counter-parts are especially striking. There stands each, front of his “1964 The Tribute” “twin!” You are seeing double, John, Paul, George & Ringo: pre-teens shadowed by gents who’ve been at it for 25 years. Priceless pix for posterity!

Like with so much in life, support is essential, whether it be from family, friends, school, team, and/or business associates. Turns out that lucky Stockwood has the essential keystones, in ample supply. Mingling with the fans, from start to finish, were a dad and two grand-parents, men i.d.’d by their shirts as “Paul’s papa” and “George’s grandpa,” and, a grand dame, “George’s grandma.” A mom and another dad, Mrs. & Mr. Berg, were on hand, accessible too. So, these kids have their families united behind them. Superb!

“They’ll be at it as long as they want to. We don’t want to be [pushy] stage parents.” It starts and ends with the kids. They elect whether to participate. The adults provide structure and coaching. These fortunate youths have on hand, 24/7, guidance counselors, support, orientation, and facilitators, beginning with their own kin.

The boys’ encore was preceded by Collin asking the crowd, “who [was] celebrating a birthday,” around June 24th? So, you got an inkling that a song from the White album, and, fan participation, were about to ensue. A couple of young ladies were recruited. They were given tambourines to accompany Stockwood on stage, for the medley “Birthday”/ (Abbey Road’s) “The End.” My three-year-old Linda (under vigilance by dad) mounted a corner of the stage to enjoy the music better, drawing a quizzical look from John.

Our boys, Mark Lewis and Joshua Daniel, were re-united with their idols after the show, during an autograph session: put to Josh’s T-shirts (both in use and folded), and, on Mark’s Fender strat.-type guitar, were all four signatures, i.e. including while Josh was wearing shirt, and, Mark had just finished a tune on his axe! What conversation pieces they now possess.

At my work, a colleague bid out a “Dave Mason Band” autographed Gibson guitar for five times its retail! We regard Stockwood’s pieces as already priceless. Just find out how much a (1st year) rookie baseball card of Sammy Sosa, Pete Rose, or Roberto Clemente, trades for these days. You get the idea!

I asked Mark L. and Josh, each, for post-concert critiques of the event. Mark: “they are cool because they switch instruments between songs and their helpers have the right ones tuned and waiting, just when John and Collin need them. They play rock songs. Girls are dancing to their music, even ones that are 20 years old!” Josh: “I think they’re cool because they sing rock songs and have hot babes.”

There you have it, from nine and seven-year old members of their public, straight from the source! Boys easily identify with them. That stems largely from Stockwood’s support and technical prowess, not to mention their ability to rally the fans, in particular, lovely lassies.

The author lives with his wife and kids in Lake County, Illinois, U.S.A. He’s active as a real estate agent, scientist, and writer. He’s a graduate of Carthage College and University of Illinois (U-C). He also enjoys applied music, particularly guitar and keyboards. Email: mark_h_drobnick(at)

Posted: 02 July 2007

Photos of Stockwood and fans, including Loida dancing in front (observed by onlooker, positively astounded), and Mark Lewis and Joshua Daniel with the Stockwood lads, are interspersed above.

Text and Images © 2007 by Mark Drobnick
Ottawa Beatles Site