The free, all-ages show commemorated the Beatles’ final performance, which famously saw the quartet performing new material on the rooftop of the Apple Corps. building on Jan. 30, 1969. Creme Tangerine has paid tribute to this show almost every year since its 40th anniversary in 2009.
Despite being slightly delayed as a result of strong winds, the performance drew a large crowd, which mostly gathered outside Kirkland Zoka Coffee across the street. Most audience members enthusiastically sang and danced in lieu of the winter weather.
The show kicked off with a rendition of “Get Back” and continued with such fan favorites as “Come Together,” “All My Loving” and “Got to Get You into My Life.” Covers of Wings classics like “Live and Let Die” and “Jet” were also featured in the set list.
Sponsored by the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, Saturday’s performance was the second rooftop show to be hosted by the Livengood Alskog building. It was also the first to benefit Hopelink, a King County organization that has served homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities for more than 45 years.
Creme Tangerine was founded in 2003 by Jeff Lockhart, executive director of the Kirkland Performance Center, and several of his friends. Lockhart said that while the group was initially formed for fun, several well-received performances inspired the quintet to more seriously pursue the band during their second year of performing.
The idea of putting on a rooftop show came around the time of economic collapse of 2008. Lockhart had coincidentally noticed that the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ legendary rooftop show was coming up the following year in January 2009, and thought that recreating the performance might ease economy-related anxieties.
“We thought, ‘let’s create a holiday for Seattle,’” Lockhart said.
Not thinking anything would come of it, Lockhart and company booked a show at Pike Place Market, aiming to pay homage to the aforementioned rooftop performance of four decades earlier. To Lockhart’s surprise, the event drew a crowd of about 3,000 people.
The recurring concert has received coverage various news outlets, both local as well as across the pond in the Beatles’ home country of the United Kingdom.
In the years since, the band has put on the rooftop show at Pike Place Market and the Hard Rock Café in Seattle and most recently, the Livengood Alskog building in Kirkland, which also supported the event in 2016. Previous performances have benefited organizations including Northwest Harvest and KPC.
While the rooftop show has changed venues in the years since its inception, remaining is the way it has had a positive personal impact on the greater Seattle area. Beth Gale, marketing and operations manager for the Kirkland Chamber, had never before been part of the event, but said she was excited to rev the tradition back up this year.
“I like the idea of business organizations uniting nonprofits with community,” she said. “I hope people have a fun time and take away a better sense of community.”
David Alskog, one of the partners at the Livengood Alskog law firm, is similarly new to the tradition, but is nonetheless eager to be part of it.
As a lifelong Beatles devotee, Alskog had previously enjoyed the energy of Creme Tangerine shows and considered himself a fan. Although he’d met the band’s members in the years previously, Lockhart became a close friend as a result of the close proximity of their professional circles.
When the rooftop show tradition sounded like it might be coming to an end a few years ago, Alskog offered his firm as a venue in 2016. The event was successful, drawing large crowds once again.
“I got nice emails from businesses saying, ‘gosh, that was great,’” he said.
Alskog said he hopes the rooftop show will continue in Kirkland and that community members take away something personal to them.
“There’s a joy in live music outside for free,” he said.
The rooftop show is not the only event Creme Tangerine will be putting on this year. On March 9, the group will be paying tribute to the Beatles’ “1” album at KPC. A later benefit show is also in the works.
Ultimately, Lockhart wants those attending the band’s shows to bring friends and have a good time.
“To play for people is a great privilege,” Lockhart said.
Blake Peterson is journalism student at the University of Washington and an intern for the Bothell/Kenmore and Kirkland Reporter newspapers.