Raj Patel has been The Bootleg Beatles’ company manager since 1993. His arrival coincided with the tribute icons’ transfer from the social club and university circuit to theatre tours… and beyond.

“It was Oasis who gave us the big break,” he says. “They’d become big fans just before their 1994 debut album Definitely Maybe and that resulted in the Bootlegs supporting Oasis at Earls Court and Knebworth. Soon, we were playing Glastonbury, T In The Park, Buckingham Palace and festivals around Europe.

“When I came onboard, it was still very low-key. The band carried everything in a 7.5 tonne truck – backline, a little PA, six PAR cans – and got away with it because the ‘tribute act’ was a new thing. But after the Oasis shows, we got a promoter in and did our first show at the Royal Albert Hall.

“Inevitably, we had to start thinking about production. I whizzed through The White Book, looking for a company that could provide a proper PA and lighting, and noticed Entec’s advert. Noreen O’Riordan was my first contact. She understood that we were quite new to all of this and helped us to put the whole package together, and looked after other aspects for us like trucking.”

Loyal

“More than 20 years later, we continue to be loyal to Entec. Quite frankly, it just works. Obviously our production has evolved with improvements to lighting and inclusion of video, and we have been graced with some terrific designers over the years, generally at Entec’s suggestion, and our latest is Simon Tutchener.

“Despite dealing with the finite core subject of The Beatles’ seven-year recording career, it’s very important that we experiment with our resorces and do something different every year. And I’m delighted that Simon, together with [lighting crew chief] Peter ’Pepper’ Schofield, Noreen and founding member André Barreau, who is now our visuals director, have worked wonders on this current tour.

“We’re now playing something like 90-100 shows a year, and I’m very pleased to say that Entec’s support is as great – if not better – than ever.”

Photography by Mark Cunningham

www.bootlegbeatles.com