Magical History Tour: The Beatles In EIGHT DAYS A WEEK - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Magical History Tour: The Beatles In EIGHT DAYS A WEEK

Chris Morley ain't got nothing but love, babe.

After taking a look at the Beatles' final fling in Let It Be, we can in a sense follow in the footsteps of what the likes of the Beatles Anthology, various greatest hits & live compilations/studio album remasters have done for the retrospective ongoing popularity of their music and revisit them on film at the peak of their live power thanks to Ron Howard's work on Eight Days A Week.

The documentary came with the blessings of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono & Olivia Harrison, and charts the Fab Four's journey from their beginnings as a live band - firmly on the Liverpudlian soil of 1962 - to their final American tour performance of 1966 at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, with the added selling point of half an hour's footage from the famous concert at another venerable old American ballpark, Shea Stadium on 15 August 1965.

Starr would later recall of their visit to the hallowed & then relatively new turf (the New York Mets having moved in by 1964) that...
"What I remember most about the concert was that we were so far away from the audience. ... And screaming had become the thing to do. ... Everybody screamed. If you look at the footage, you can see how we reacted to the place. It was very big and very strange."
Lennon felt sufficiently moved to remark that...
"At Shea Stadium, I saw the top of the mountain."

The eleven-song set was given an audio sprucing up by Giles Martin & digitally remastered visually in 4K for the documentary itself, with an accompanying soundtrack album made up of material culled from two nights at the Hollywood Bowl in the Augusts of 1964 & 1965 released as a companion to the film on September 9, 2016.

Hitting the nail on the head as to exactly why the Beatles decided to give up on touring & become exclusively a studio outfit, as well as outlining the personal appeal of the project, director Ron Howard admitted that...
“I was interested in that bubble they were in. I began to think of the story as like Das Boot: they’re in it together, they have each other, they know what their objective is, but, y’know, it’s a dangerous world out there.”
He was also able to reach out through the internet for bootleg recordings to flesh out the soundtrack, and he & his team were able to strike it rich in finding some that actually captured the music the hordes of screaming fans wouldn't have been able to hear at the time! As Howard himself explains...
“We were lucky enough to find a number of bootleg soundboards, so we got them digitized and restored them to flesh out some of the concert moments, to add a lot more detail and bring the viewer in from arms-length, get them up close, intimate.”
It also probably helps that Ron is as big a fan as the intended audience for his film?
“I was already acting and I was going to school, so I wasn’t out of touch. I certainly knew enough about the Beatles to watch Ed Sullivan, which was in February and my birthday’s in March so I asked for a Beatle wig and Beatle boots. They couldn’t find any boots, but they did find this, in retrospect, really nasty-looking Beatle wig, but I was delighted and I wore it all through my 10th birthday.”
The Beatles had come a long way from the Cavern Club in Liverpool, footage of which was also enhanced and included within Eight Days A Week.

Howard was keen to capture the seismic shift for Liverpool's finest.
“I had a teacher who began to use lyrics off Rubber Soul as examples of poetry, to stimulate our imaginations. What I noticed even at that age was: ‘Two years ago they were singing I Wanna Hold Your Hand and She Loves You, but look at them now!’

They were changing with the times, reflecting a huge cultural shift – and leading it. I don’t know if they would have accepted that role if it hadn’t been thrust on them, but it was, and they did, and they excelled in it.”
If there's a more succinctly put summary of the journey from small bars to packed stadiums to the studio control room, its yet to be heard!

And, just to round things off before we move on to looking at Backbeat, the dramatisation of the trials & tribulations of life on the live circuit in Hamburg, let's just make it a hat-trick of remarkable insights from Mr Howard, eh?
“What makes it unique, to me, is the cultural pressures. It’s awe-inspiring – and I didn’t quite understand it, though I had a sense of it as a 10-year-old kid.

The fact that they were able to be that creatively ambitious, and maintain it, and keep growing at that moment, while they were coping with this remarkably wonderful, but also kind of shocking, reality of their success, is kind of awesome.

In a way, that sort of creative integrity is at the heart of the story for me.“
A story we'll be looking at through a slightly different lens as we “mach schau!”- that's “ make show” for anyone minus even a little knowledge of German, next time. One, two, three, four!

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