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The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:31 pm
by garth cartwright
I followed Bob Lefsetz's instructions and watched this on iTunes - the first US Beatles concert! Amazing how primitive and simple things are - only 2 mics and when Ringo goes to sing Paul brings the main mic around for him to use. As they are playing in the round they constantly shift equipment around - Ringo's drum riser looks like it might fall apart at any time! They are such a good bar band. So raw! This is really fun and reminds me of why we fell in love with rock'n'roll when kids.

Lefsetz writes:

Ringo's a revelation!

Somehow, the Beatles coming to iTunes has become a business story, but that band was always about the music. The mania came after. The sheer joy of playing in a group, of living your life for music, not money, was the genesis. Watching this film you can see right through the images all the way to the U.K., where the sons of soldiers picked up instruments to fight their way out of drudgery and boredom. That's the power of music. It can make you forget your circumstances. And if you're really good, it can create a world you couldn't even envision when you first started to play.

Beatles on iTunes? No big deal. Typical Fab Four. Leaders in their day, followers ever since.

Except that's not the real story. The Beatles wanted to be on iTunes. It was an EMI problem. Castigate Guy Hands all you want, but by putting Roger Faxon in power, a deal could finally be made.

Is there a lot of money to be made?

Of course not. Just like when the Beatles first formed. They didn't know they'd go on to be some of Britain's richest citizens. Hell, you can't get that rich playing music anymore. If you're all about the bread go to Wall Street, be a banker, or go work for the corporation, being two-faced and conniving to ascend to a platform wherein you can rape and pillage and make double digit millions. But it won't be fun. And each and every one of those so-called winners would trade everything they've got to be up on stage with these guys.

That's what's wrong with the mainstream media. They miss the story. So busy talking about Steve Jobs and EMI and Apple they didn't focus on this Washington, D.C. concert that's part of the hype. FOR FREE!

Don't say Steve Jobs never did anything for you.

Go to iTunes. You're confronted with a big black box that says "The Beatles". And in the upper right-hand corner, you're gonna see a little box that says "Watch The Concert". Click on that RIGHT NOW!

Stay tuned through the voice-over. It's lame. But the images are cool.

And then you get to the gig.

Security is not wearing yellow windbreakers, they don't look like they're on steroids and will beat you to a pulp. It's a positively civilized affair, with the Beatles on a low riser in the middle of the hall.

And that's when you see them move their own equipment. You can call it humble. I'll just tell you this is what a musician does. He SCHLEPPS! Talk to anybody who plays live for a living. Sure, if you're a household name you've got roadies, but everybody below that level is lifting amps into a van or a trailer, or if you're just starting out, a car. And you set up your gear at the gig yourself. And until you truly make it, you have no monitors. You play by your wits.

The fact that these cats can get it so right, barely able to hear themselves, is amazing.

But what's really amazing is their ability to play. George picking out the leads. Paul on the bass. Our dear departed John bouncing up and down with his legs spread. If you didn't imitate that look, you weren't alive, or you were blind.

McCartney shvitzing. Music, when done right, is a workout.

And speaking of workouts... This film should put to rest any guff about Ringo's ability to play the drums. He's the anchor, he's the powerhouse, and he's railing and flailing and pounding that big bass drum. You can have a lot more equipment, but you've only got two hands and two feet.

And when they bring the mic up to him and he sings "I Wanna Be Your Man"...

Or how about George singing "Roll Over Beethoven"?

But stay until the very end. When Paul rips apart "Long Tall Sally" to such a degree he trumps Little Richard. Not that either he or Richard would agree, but watch with your own two eyes.

This was the beginning. This was the genesis. This was where it all began.

In America.

But for the Beatles it started years before. They had a dream. They played shitholes. They didn't have rich parents. They didn't expect to make a record a week after they formed and have it be a hit. They just played and played and played until ability was not a question and they could focus on showmanship.

And what's truly amazing in this movie is the audience is irrelevant. This is a gang, having a blast. They're not playing for the media, they're having a lark. A serious one. They don't want to mess up. But it's truly shocking that they're so on at what many today would consider a secondary gig. I mean who's paying attention in D.C?

But we were all paying attention. Because nothing we ever heard before came out of the speakers like "I Want To Hold Your Hand". There was an energy and a confidence and when these guys do the "oos" and all the other initial Beatle tricks/trademarks/cliches your head will explode. Just watch the audience... Oprah never got this reaction.

Everybody's sitting there, with their Brownie cameras and programs. They've spun the LP at home. They know all the words.

Not that Paul is aware of this. He's got no context. He's explaining.

But we already knew.

That our lives would never be the same.


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Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:57 am
by Adam Blake
garth cartwright wrote: They are such a good bar band.


Bar band! Bar Band!! BAR BAND!!!

The only bar band I've ever heard that could sing three part harmonies like that and stay in tune over a PA like that in front of an audience screaming their lungs out.

But I know what you mean, Garth. Glad you enjoyed it!

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:21 am
by garth cartwright
You know, a Hamburg bar band!

Things that struck me watching it - Ringo rocks as a drummer! Paul was already the front man of the band and the most enthralled by rock'n'roll (John, in that concert at least, very much takes a back seat). They were tight but ragged, never slick. The audience was very calm - they screamed a lot but no one rushed the stage or got up to dance. George plays very few lead breaks at that stage. They really liked one another as people and had a great group vibe. No instrument changes and a tiny PA but it did its job - the whole thing of supersizing band's equipment and changing guitar every song represents the antithesis of rock'n'roll. I still like the Beatles best from this era although of course they wrote great songs across their entire career.

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:28 am
by Adam Blake
garth cartwright wrote:I still like the Beatles best from this era


Yeah, I agree. This is actually the very end of my favourite Beatle era. After they made it in America they were never the same again. How could they be? I think "A Hard Day's Night" is their best album too, which is what they were working on around this time. They were just coming to the end of the most astonishing roll in the history of British pop (come on, no-one's even come close since), they were invincible and unstoppable and they were damn good and they knew it too. As far as they were concerned, at this point in the their career they had made it beyond their wildest dreams. And Ringo? Only ignorant people cast aspersions. He was the best drummer in Liverpool and he was a professional when John, Paul and George were still playing youth clubs. They had to wait till they got a record deal before they could ask him to join. As a straight rock'n'roll band with Ringo on board they were the best we ever had. No contest. McCartney tears up "Long Tall Sally" better than anyone could reasonably expect. I'll shut up now before the gush gets any worse! But it's nice to hear you enthuse about the Beatles, Garth.

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:42 am
by Jonathan E.
May I recommend Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould as an absolutely fascinating, detailed, and intelligently written book about The Beatles. It covers their entire career, but emphasizes the American experience to a degree as well as explaining the Englishness of The Beatles to Americans and has some detailed analysis of various songs. Definitely the best book I've read on The Beatles, but I haven't read many.

BTW, I am bewildered by The Beatles on iTunes as a phenomenon. You can now buy the remastered physical CDs for $7.99 each on Amazon as opposed to a download for $12.99. The Stereo Box Set physical is $129.99, while the digital download is $149! So? You can buy individual songs for $1.29 — BFD! Apple doesn't even bother to tell you if you're getting the stereo or mono mix except for the few early "Big 4" of "Love Me Do," "Please, Please Me," "From Me To You" and "She Loves You" on The Beatles 1962—1966 compilation. And you can only play the tracks on iTunes 9 and above, not other players. It's a sham to any real Beatles fan. And I've read comments from people claiming to have all the remastered CDs who'll now download the digitals from iTunes. Just what is their problem? Too much money? All I can say is that whoever has been in charge of exploiting The Beatles catalog to the last penny has done a masterful job!

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:13 am
by Jonathan E.
See also http://www.charliegillett.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=16468, started by John Poole, where Adam requests a link to this topic. Combining the two would make sense. I keep forgetting where I am even more than usual.

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:30 pm
by john poole
Adam Blake wrote:McCartney tears up "Long Tall Sally" better than anyone could reasonably expect

He had to be on top form to follow John's 'Twist and Shout'. Highlight of the concert for me - 'This Boy' with the three crowded round one microphone.

Re: The Beatles in Concert 1964

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:25 pm
by Adam Blake
john poole wrote: Highlight of the concert for me - 'This Boy' with the three crowded round one microphone.


Wasn't that astonishing? They stay in tune, they blend so well - and under such conditions!