Arts and Entertainment

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da: Kirkland Beatles tribute band rocks Pike Place Market | Slideshow

In 2009 Crème Tangerine performed its first annual rooftop concert. It was an instant success. A blockbuster hit. Now five years later, the band celebrated the fifth anniversary with another performance.

On a chilly Friday, Crème Tangerine lit up Pike Place Market during the lunch hour by performing hit songs from the Beatles’ “White Album.” In the heart of the Market – not far from the famous fish throwers -  the band rocked out on the Copacabana Café balcony. Despite the frigid and overcast weather, around a couple hundred people turned out.

For Crème Tangerine, which got its start in Kirkland, the event started as a way to honor the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ legendary rooftop gig. On Jan. 30, 1969 the Beatles rushed onto the Apple Records’ building in London to perform some of their songs off their “Let It Be” album.

First-year attendees Julie and Arnold Arnan said the event was a blast. As friends and fans of the band, they said they enjoyed having a nice lunch while listening to live music.

Despite a cloudy sky, the Arnans said they were relieved it wasn’t raining. “So glad the weather held out,” said Julie Arnan. As a result, she and her husband plan on coming again next year to show their support.

The event’s biggest supporters have been owners of Copacabana Café, Michael and Martha Morrow. They have allowed the band to perform on their balcony since the inaugural gig.

“It was humbling Crème Tangerine chose us,” said Martha as she and her husband worked the café’s lunch hour. “We love the Beatles and we thought it was a great idea.”

The band is committed to using their talents to give back to the community. Each year for this event, they have partnered with a different charity; this year’s was Northwest Harvest. Bins were available for people’s donations; also, they could give via text. They found their fund-raising efforts brought more people out, said drummer Jeff Lockhart.

Crème Tangerine’s charitable roots date back to the first rooftop performance when they partnered with Seattle’s Leukemia Foundation.

According to Lockhart, over the past five years they have raised about a $1 million for various charities, at this and other events.

Along with fund raising, the band likes to throw a bit of a cool new spin to the event by bringing out a special guest. The tradition began the first year with Ken Mansfield, former U.S. manager of Apple Records and a Grammy Award-winning producer.

In past years faces like Alan White, drummer for the band Yes, and Seattle native Roger Fisher, guitarist and one of the founding members of the band Heart, have made appearances. This year’s event did not have a featured guest.

The little things like making somebody’s day or signing autographs keep Crème Tangerine performing every year. But band members still get butterflies before a concert. According to Lockhart, he could barely sleep the night before Friday’s act.

Saxophonist EJ Erickson said, “I’ve learned to convert my butterflies into raw pure energy. Once I made that transition, anything that resembles butterflies is immediately turned into radiant sunbeams.”

Maybe Erickson’s raw energy, paired with the rest of the band’s vibrant sounds, helped to clear the skies. As the band finished the final sounds of  “Here comes the Sun,” the clouds hovering over Elliott Bay actually did part.

The mood continued to be sunny throughout the rest of the 90-minute performance.

Crème Tangerine is already planning on coming back next year. “Long as people keep coming out, we plan to keep playing,” said Lockhart.

More information

For information on Crème Tangerine, visit; Youtube: Cremetangerinetv, Twitter @cremetangband,

Avneet Singh Chattha is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.


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