Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Beatles tribute band with Largo tie will re-enact 1969 rooftop concert

LARGO

For the three brothers, it's a homecoming of sorts.

They spent their teenage years in Largo. They have aunts, uncles and cousins who live there, and it's the place where their father spent his final days.

On Tuesday, the three will return to Largo as performers in the Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today. The band is performing a free rooftop concert at the Largo Cultural Center to help celebrate the performance hall's 15th anniversary.

Billy, Ryan and Matthew McGuigan, who play guitar, will perform as Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison during the lunchtime concert. The band, based in Omaha, Neb., also has five other musicians on drums, horns and keyboards.

They will perform from a perch on the roof over the Cultural Center's Parkview Room, about 35 feet aboveground. The band is re-enacting the Beatles' historic London performance on top of the Apple Records building in 1969.

The brothers were on a cruise ship and could not be reached for comment, but McGuigan family friend Colleen Quinn said they are eager to return to the place they lived as teenagers.

"I know they've wanted to do this rooftop show for quite a while,'' said Quinn, who is a managing partner of the musical production company Rave On based in Omaha. "They wanted to take it home to Largo because they really felt like their dad would be shining down on them.''

William McGuigan died of leukemia at Bayfront Medical Center in June 1996.

"Ryan and Matthew were living in Florida and were there already, but Billy, who was in his early 20s, was in Omaha. He quit college to go down to help care for his dad,'' Quinn said.

In the days leading up to their dad's passing, the brothers made a routine out of going into his room and playing music. They made sure that he spent his days hearing what he loved the most — the Beatles.

"They have always said that their love for the Beatles was given to them by their father,'' Quinn said. "They've described themselves as poor military kids, and everywhere they went, their dad kept his love for the Beatles alive. As a family, their Friday nights were spent pulling out guitars and a fat book of Beatles songs that their dad referred to as the bible.''

Coincidentally, 1996 was also the year that Largo completed construction of the cultural center on the site of the former Pinellas County Fairgrounds near East Bay Drive and Seminole Boulevard.

The grand opening of the center was held Nov. 1 that year, and guests — mostly people who worked long and hard raising the money to build the $3.7 million facility — dined on stuffed pork medallions, wild rice and strawberry cheesecake. Broadway star Terrence Mann performed.

While the McGuigan brothers have spent the past 15 years carving their niche in the music industry, the cultural center has had success, too.

In 2011, 30,000 tickets were sold to 137 events, said Rob Mondora, artistic director for the center.

The rooftop concert Tuesday will serve a dual purpose, Mondora said.

"We're raising awareness of the cultural center, and we hope to see the community come out so we can thank them for supporting us all these years,'' he said.

The program starts at 11:30 a.m., with the band performing at noon. Several food trucks will be selling their specialties in Largo Central Park. The trucks will include Fire Monkey Food Truck, Burger Culture and Sinful Pleasure Dessert Co.

The McGuigan brothers will be back in Largo on March 30, when their band will perform another concert, that one inside the cultural center.

Piper Castillo can be reached at (727) 445-4163 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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