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'Come Together' in Springfield for annual Beatles tribute concert

Come Together performs at Come Together Springfield on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Ruthie Herman for WYSO)
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Come Together performs at Come Together Springfield on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Ruthie Herman for WYSO)

Downtown Springfield will once again host Come Together on Friday, June 14. This free event for the public showcases live performances of Beatles music from atop the 99 parking garage, which overlooks the National Road Commons park. The concert kicks off at 5 p.m.

Two Come Together organizers, Brian Hoeflich and Brian Johnson, joined WYSO music host Juliet Fromholt to discuss the concert.

Founded in 2018, Come Together has evolved from an annual Dayton Beatles tribute concert into a traveling show, with performances this summer in Troy, Springfield, Dayton, and Fairfield. While the basic format of the shows has remained the same–Beatles tunes played from a rooftop, in homage to the band’s 1969 farewell concert–the Come Together band selects a different combination of songs for each iteration, said Brian Hoeflich. “We try to keep it fresh every year with new material,” Hoeflich, who plays drums in the band, told Juliet. He added that the Beatles’ deep discography makes choosing each year’s setlist an enjoyable challenge. “We were just joking before we got on the air here that we could take the whole set and scrap it and replace it with an equal number of songs, and still have an amazing two and a half-hour show,” he said.

Now six years in, Hoeflich and Johnson shared some of their favorite moments from previous Come Together concerts. Hoeflich recalled a instance of resilience in the face of near-disaster:

“There was a year where we got rained out for one show. And we didn’t just get rained out—we got pummeled. We had to rescue gear from the roof. We literally had to squeegee [water] away from our gear so we could move it, and then come back and do the show again the next day. I mean, that’s commitment… And we talked the same group of guys into doing the show the next year. That’s a proud moment.”

Brian Johnson, head of Level up Productions, shared a more serene memory of the band’s Dayton performances. “We perform from 7:00pm until 9:30pm, so we almost always catch the sunset,” he said. “And when we play ‘Here Comes the Sun’ right when the sun is setting, it’s pretty special.”

Johnson manages concert logistics for Come Together, a job which includes everything from coordinating shows with city officials to safely hoisting thousands of pounds of musical equipment onto building rooftops. Yet, after more than half a decade, he says seeing audience members gathered to hear music by one of rock and roll’s most iconic acts still puts a smile on his face.

“The production is a lot, but you have three or four thousand people enjoying themselves in their city. And to me, that is one of the most important parts of being alive: having a good time, and doing it together with people we care about. So if we’re able to provide that in this unique way, then it’s all worth it.”

For more details about Come Together, visit cometogetherband.net. Come Together Dayton will be held on Aug. 16 and 17 at Yellow Cab Tavern.

Text by Peter Day based on an interview hosted by Juliet Fromholt on June 12, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.