By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Celebrating Paul McCartney

If you like the Beatles or Paul McCartney or maybe you’re a fan of music altogether and just want to be entertained, then an upcoming multimedia experience may be just what you have been waiting for.

This musical extravaganza is enhanced with stories, evocative images, a musical education of sorts and animation. Stroll Down Penny Lane will play at the State Theatre in Modesto on Sept. 28.

“The sold out show debuted last year and delighted audiences, who sang along, were mesmerized by the films where they laughed and cried,” stated Executive Producer Joe Anastasi. “They were transported to the origins of the songs. They were transported to their memories associated with the music.”

The multimedia presentation Stroll Down Penny Lane is a tribute to McCartney’s career from the Beatles to his solo work. This live performance will feature original film, animation and a live concert from band members Anastasi aka Prof. Stompensplatt, lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Winter, lead guitar and vocals; Mike Sugar bassist, electric cellist, melodica, synthesizer and vocals; Mark Abbott on drums and vocals; and Matt Twain on keys and vocals.

“The challenge was to figure out how to tell the story about the music of Paul McCartney and the life of Paul McCartney, to do it in a setting where the audience can really become engaged,” explained Anastasi. “I thought doing a lot of extended banter in between songs to get that across but that seemed to be a little slow. So I came up with the idea of writing films, screenplays.”

Anastasi wrote 25 screenplays which were developed into 25 films. He had to hire cinematographers, motion graphic specialists out of Kentucky and an animator out of Barcelona for some of the films.

“It is kind of an interesting approach because the audience gets drawn right into observing the story telling that is in the film. Think of it as a silent film because we are presenting it along with a live performance of the song to which the film relates,” added Anastasi. “So the audience is not only getting a concert performance of a song but they are getting story telling about the song or about the history of the song or about the origin of a song or about the collaborations between Paul and John and creating a song. All these different kinds of avenues and then I found that as you talk and tell the story about the songs many of Paul’s songs are autobiographical in nature so it turns out you are telling a story about his life, too, so when you string that all together you have a multimedia presentation of the life of Paul McCartney and his music.”

The show will feature many levels of McCartney’s career including what his favorite song is and his most favorite song that he has written along with some surprises.

“The musicians are out of this world,” he said. “What we are able to present is quite remarkable. We are doing string arrangements as well as five part vocal harmonies; some of the Beatles songs, because they were doing multi-tracking, had five and six part harmonies so we are able to do that very, very well.”

Not only is Anastasi the executive producer but he is also the lead vocalist, storyteller and the one that put the show together. The musical arrangements took over 10 years to develop. 

“For the audience … they come to the show, it is hard to describe it but they become struck by the imagery and the story telling,” expressed Anastasi. “They get sucked into the first number and then a couple of numbers that we do where the audience consistently are brought to tears. You will be transported by the storytelling that is in the films and in-between the films that accompany the show.