The Paradise Gig
FACT: In September 1964, the Beatles, their private flight diverted by Hurricane Dora, made an unplanned visit to Key West.
FICTION: Poolside at their motel, the Fab Four fell into conversation with a snappy-dressing local named Bert the Shirt, who listened as the band worked out a harmony to the most beautiful song he’d ever heard–and wouldn’t hear again for over half a century.
FACT: That night, the Beatles played an unannounced free concert in the motel bar. Everyone was welcome. Local musicians showed up with guitars and keyboards, and had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of jamming with the Beatles till 4 am. This legendary event has forever after been known to Key West locals as THE PARADISE GIG.
FICTION: Next day, hung over and exhausted, the Beatles left for the airport, having somehow lost a stained and battered notebook that held a priceless stash of unrecorded songs.
NOW CUT TO THE PRESENT: A beautiful woman is doing a yoga headstand on a Key West beach when she’s abducted by a pair of thugs. An aspiring young singer is offered a recording deal that seems a bit too good to be true. Bad things happen to a couple of one-hit wonders…And old Bert hears a new song that is hauntingly familiar, but that he can’t quite place.
Could it possibly be the same song he’d heard at poolside so many years before? Could it be that all the present mayhem circles back through the decades to THE PARADISE GIG? Could the precious, even sacred, Beatles notebook possibly turn up after all these years? Could Bert be the hero who would rediscover that stash of unheard songs for music lovers everywhere—and save a young singer’s life in the process? With Nacho, his intrepid Chihuahua, at his side, and with no one but bumbling detective Pete Amsterdam for an ally, the undaunted Bert the Shirt sets out through the Florida haze to piece it all together, learning along the way how much the world has changed—and how much it has not.
In equal parts suspenseful and nostalgic, funny and romantic, this time-bending caper celebrates the power of music and the many tricks of memory, the joys of youth and the comforts of age, and the free and funky spirit of Key West.