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Pala concert allows Yesterday band to commemorate Beatles legacy

On March 15, 2015, yesterday was March 14, 2015. Prior to August 1965, yesterday meant the previous day. On Aug. 6, 1965, the Beatles released their Help album whose songs included "Yesterday," and in 1989 Don Bellezzo founded a Beatles tribute band called Yesterday.

The Yesterday tribute band members live in the Las Vegas area and performed at Pala Casino's Events Center on Feb. 2, 2024. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr performed on that same stage with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band on March 14, 2015, and the following day Starr and his band played at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

"It's an honor to play on the same stage as him. That's fabulous," Bellezzo said.

The band Yesterday consists of Bellezzo as John Lennon, Rich Fazzi portraying Paul McCartney, Omar Olivares taking the role of George Harrison, and Tony Felicetta replicating Ringo Starr.

"It's always fun to have played on the same stage as these other greats," Fazzi said of playing where Ringo Starr performed nine years earlier.

At the time of the February concert, neither Bellezzo nor Fazzi were aware that Starr played at Pala Casino in 2015. "I wish I would have seen it," Fazzi said.

Although the Palms Casino is not near Fremont Street, Starr's 2015 concert is commemorated near the "Abbey Road Crossing" in the 600 block of East Fremont Street, so that concert is better known to Las Vegas residents.

"We used to play a lot down on Fremont Street," Bellezzo said.

Fremont Street between Main Street and Fourth Street is closed to vehicular traffic, and the four-block-long Viva Vision screen covers the top of that part of Fremont Street. What is called Fremont Street Experience includes a stage across from the Golden Nugget, and Yesterday played on that stage in the past before being offered nationwide performances.

Bellezzo was raised in Los Angeles County and founded Yesterday prior to moving to Las Vegas. Fazzi, who is actually left-handed like Paul McCartney, was invited to join the band in 2006.

"It's a great place to play," Fazzi said of Pala.

"They treat us very well," Fazzi said. "It's a long way to go, but it's well worth it."

Pala's Events Center is traditionally set for 1,500 spectator seats. Approximately 1,700 tickets were sold for the Yesterday concert.

"The crowd was great. I enjoyed that," Bellezzo said.

Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison were in a band called the Quarrymen before changing the band's name to the Beatles. The new name reflected that Buddy Holly's band was called the Crickets. Holly performed at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1959, before being taken to the airport along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, so the Pala Casino concert was on the 65th anniversary of Buddy Holly's final concert.

"I love Buddy Holly," Bellezzo said. "I'm a big Buddy Holly fan."

Bellezzo performed at the Surf Ballroom with Yesterday. He had known the date of Buddy Holly's final concert but didn't remember that on the actual day this year when Yesterday played at Pala Casino.

"It means something to me now," Bellezzo said.

"I wasn't thinking about it," Fazzi said. "I always remember the anniversary of the crash on the third."

The plane carrying Holly, Valens, and Richardson took off at 12:55 a.m. Feb. 3 and crashed shortly afterwards, killing the three musicians and the pilot.

February 2024 includes another significant Beatles anniversary. The band made their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. "It's hard to believe it's been 60 years," Fazzi said. "They came on the scene and they changed everything, and that's why they continue to be an influence to many other musicians."

Yesterday played in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on Feb. 9, 2024, which was the 60th anniversary of the Ed Sullivan Show performance. The Yesterday shows included footage of the Beatles playing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The band hopes to return to Pala Casino in the future. "I really enjoyed it," Bellezzo said. "I like the sound there, I like the people. It's great."

Pala Casino also has the outdoor Palomar Starlight Theater. No concerts at that venue have yet been announced for 2024, but Yesterday is hoping to be booked at the outdoor venue later this year.

"Looking forward to getting back to Pala. It's a long way for me to go, but it's such a great venue," Fazzi said.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001

 

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