Saturday, October 24, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

I am usually griping about politics here, but my real passion is music, and The Beatles have been my favorite music since about 1965. I remember a neighbor girl coming up the driveway one summer between third and fourth grade, saying to me "I just heard the coolest song... it goes 'Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you' you should hear it!" It wasn't long before I heard it. I was hooked. Those songs wrote the soundtrack of the rest of my life.

I found this series of The Beatles in concert. Not lip sync, not overdubs, but the real Beatles playing real instruments.

Check out George playing the solo in "Til There Was You". If it seems odd for a rock & roll band to sing show tunes, remember that the movie The Music Man was a huge hit in 1962, just two years earlier.

The television cameras of that era had a hard time with glare off shiny objects, like the instruments. You'd get a black halo around the bright spots.

In the next video, the three part harmony on "This Boy" is amazing. This is partly why they were considered the best rock band in history. They had chops.

People like to diss on Ringo's drumming, but check out how precise and flashy his playing is on "Please Please Me". He was no slouch. He just wasn't showy.

Here, George nails the solo in "I'm Down". It isn't a hard solo, but it's fun to watch him play it, as well as John massacring the farfisa organ. And of course, Ringo singing the Buck Owens classic "Act Naturally" is a hoot.

On "Help!", Ringo is playing the drums just like he does at the beginning of the movie, where the religious extremists are throwing darts at him... "You Can't Do That" is just fun to watch.

The crowd gets a little overwhelming at Shea Stadium. It's harder to hear the band. I don't know that crowds at rock concerts are any quieter today, but the sound equipment was a lot less powerful. The Beatles were basically just playing through their Vox amps, and a public address system for the vocals, into a stadium full of screaming people.

Paul is in fine form on the vocals in "Baby's in Black", and George's country twang guitar cracks me up. Those songs in 3/4 time are just fun to sing along with in a big crowd.

It's a good rendition of "I'm Down", although John is really cutting up this time. He may have known the audience couldn't hear them. We hear them much better on the soundtrack than the audience could possibly have. The vocals on "Help!" come through better in this concert, than in the previous video.

It's fun to watch them play, after spending all those years listening to their records. It takes me back to a much happier time in my life. The government and I were both much smaller then.

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