Live At The Hollywood Bowl
The trouble with previous versions of these shows in 1964 and 1965 – official or not – is that the screaming of hysterical female fans buried the actual music. Now that the tapes have been worked upon and by Giles Martin son of George Martin no less we can all pretty much hear what nobody including the band on stage could ever hear before – the music. They were a kick-ass rock’n’roll band sounding much closer to the spirited performances heard on early BBC radio shows, the drums and bass sounding much harder and clearer and the guitars crisper.
Let’s give you a listing of the tracks included:
Twist & Shout
She’s A Woman
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Ticket To Ride
Can’t Buy Me Love
Thins We Said Today
Roll Over Beethoven
A Hard Day’s Night
Al My Loving
She Loves You
Long Tall Sally
And there are bonus tracks:
You Can’t Do That
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby
Baby’s In Black
All this pre-dates Sgt Pepper of course and by the end of August 1966 at Candlestick Park that was it for Beatles live performances, unless you were lucky enough to be on the roof of Apple HQ a couple of years later when The Beatles copied Jefferson Airplane’s rooftop show.
Tapes discovered in Capitol Studios in Hollywood were manifestly a better source for these songs. Three-track ones. Boffins including Sam Okell and Abbey Road’s James Clarke utilised demix technology with Giles to get to the sounds required and to eliminate the sonic graffiti. For one of the shows McCartney’s mike was on the blink, which didn’t help.
The group attacks outside writers’ songs as they do their own. It’s a fiery brew. The screaming is ever-present but the singing and music itself is so much clearer.
After a brisk Twist & Shout the ensemble is really rocking out on ‘She’s A Woman’ – and I do hope you know the Jeff Beck version of this number. John roars out a pounding ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ with George hitting the whining riff-as-solo part. The drums are a revelation but then the North seemed to be awash with great skinsmen, with Ringo being one of the most emphatic. Not too long after this he would be coming up with the sublime drumming on ‘Rain’. Paul introduces ‘Ticket To Ride’ and again the drums are spot on and the harmonies ache sweetly. They launch into ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ as if the Earth is about to explode. The cherry here is the then new song ‘Things We Said Today’ which George introduces. It remains a lovely mix of the minor and major. They wallop into the middle eight like a train with Sandra Bullock aboard.
Chuck Berry’s ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ evokes countless parties of the period. He bass runs are taken at rhino-charge speed and the solo is the very spirit of rock’n’roll. ‘Boys’ still has charming vibe as Starr gets his showcase. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ follows, with its bursting minor chord intro, the voices sound so lively. They follow this with ‘Help!’ being a current single in the US. Lennon sounds sublime and the drumming is spirited. ‘All My Loving’ is a rush of tumbling guitars and canny stops. ‘She Loves You’ send the audience wild, of course with the chords precisely splayed out. A pelt into ‘Long Tall Sally’ is Hamburg Star Club-raw.
For the extra cuts, we get ‘You Can’t Do That’ with its ringing 6 and 12 string guitars, again a genius middle eight ; big hit single ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand ‘ mixes choppy chords and single-note passages. ‘Everybody’s’ rocks out in true Sun label style. ‘Baby’s In Black’ ends the collection. John introduces it as a waltz and it really sways.
All this synchs in with the release of Ron Howard’s new film about the band ‘The Beatles Eight Days A Week’, by the way.
I like the packaging of this set – the fresh blue dominating shade cries out ‘open air live show’. The booklet incudes George Martin’s original 1977 liner notes as well as contemporary comments by David Fricke
So, a release to inform those new to The Beatles and for diehard fans an absolutely essential purchase.
The Beatles: Live at The Hollywood Bowl is out now on Apple Records.