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The Beatles At Shea Stadium
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24 February 2014
4.48pm
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Billy Rhythm
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I'm not sure how many of you have viewed this hour-long made-for-TV special, for it's become somewhat of a rarity that hopefully becomes more widely circulated in the near future, a '2015 50th Anniversary' release perhaps?  It used to be one of the highlight features at the old 'Beatlefests' of yesteryears, before becoming one of the highpoints during 'The Beatles Anthology' documentary of the 1990's, if however highly edited.

 

The film, in its original form is a true gem, and it's not a stretch to suggest that it's 'The Greatest Concert Film Ever Made'.  What would define a "great concert film"?  In my opinion, it would be done in such a way to make the viewer feel as if they were really in attendance, or capture the feeling and experience of the actual event.  By this definition, this film succeeds where many other concert films do not.  There have been some good ones over the years, such as 'The Song Remains The Same' (I think that's what it's called for I'm no Led Zep fan), U2's 'Rattle & Hum' or The Rolling Stones' 'Let's Spend The Night Together', not to forget Paul McCartney & Wings' great 'Rock Show' flic, but 'The Beatles At Shea Stadium' is a cut above the others.  In order to render 'The Greatest Concert Film Ever Made' you need to stage the event in the first place, and when Murray The K declares "Welcome To.. what will be probably the 'Biggest Concert Ever In The History of Pop Music'" before introducing the 'Discotheque Dancers', he wasn't exaggerating.

 

Although the Discotheque Dancers' performance may indeed be underwhelming and likely included only as filler for an hour-long TV Special due to the limitations of The Beatles' half-hour set originally, its inclusion effectively reflects a certain mood of the times.  The Beatles themselves were known to hang out at the clubs whenever they could and were big fans of the Discotheque, the fashion and dance styles presented here is just one of the many little things shown throughout to "bring you back".  The performances improve greatly as the show progresses, King Curtis & Brenda Holloway turn in stellar performances before arguably the best performance of the evening (including The Beatles&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10 is turned in by Sounds Incorporated, I mean how about those moves by the lead singer!?  Excellent.

 

All the while during the opening acts' performances, great footage is shown of The Beatles en route via helicopter over Manhatten, backstage, and commenting on the newspaper articles written about them that very day, among other priceless moments.  What really makes this film succeed is the buildup to the moment Ed Sullivan introduces them and pandemonium ignites.  The wide-eyed teens who probably didn't blink the whole time in attendance, the ones brave enough to attempt to outsmart New York City's finest, the whole spectacle is immortalized forever during this classic footage, I don't think they missed a thing, it's all there.  And when the main event finally makes their way across the field to the stage, they didn't disappoint and turned in one of their better live performances ever in the U.S., all the tracks succeed while all four of them looked to be having the time of their lives, yes, this gets my vote for 'Greatest Concert Film Ever'...:-)  

 

 

24 February 2014
5.17pm
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meanmistermustard
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The quality isn't the best but here is the full programme for those who want to watch it. 

It is interesting that the Beatles went and sweetened a handful of the songs, ranging from the bass and vocals of a couple of tracks to replacing the concert audio of Act Naturally with the studio recording, in January 1966 before it was screened on the BBC and then abroad . It was only a few years ago that the full, original audio was auctioned, snapped up and subsequently bootlegged for us all to hear. Joe's entry for the studio overdubs is here

Along with the sweetening overdubs for the documentary the Beatles set list was altered from how they actually performed it with She's A Woman and Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby being omitted entirely (ETTBMB eventually seeing the light of day on Anthology 2). Wiki's entry on the BBC documentary 'The Beatles At Shea Stadium'.

 

Considering its historic significance the complete concert and the documentary should be officially available to purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray, instead we get official Beatles Leprechaun Detector Kits.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
24 February 2014
9.27pm
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Billy Rhythm
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meanmistermustard said 

It is interesting that the Beatles went and sweetened a handful of the songs, ranging from the bass and vocals of a couple of tracks to replacing the concert audio of Act Naturally with the studio recording, in January 1966 before it was screened on the BBC and then abroad . It was only a few years ago that the full, original audio was auctioned, snapped up and subsequently bootlegged for us all to hear. Joe's entry for the studio overdubs is here
 

I first heard this concert on a Beatleg long before I ever saw the film, and 'Act Naturally' was one of the songs that I was looking forward to the most to hearing for it was hard to find a live version of it (pre-Anthology).  The only other U.S. 1965 Beatleg that I had was a Houston Show (or, atleast it said that it was a 'Houston Show' on the sleeve) where Ringo sings 'I Wanna Be Your Man' instead.  Upon hearing it for the first time, I was startled at how much it sounded like the studio version and had concluded by song's end that it was dubbed in somehow, the other songs clearly sound different than the originals whereas this one doesn't, having said that, it's remarkable at how well they blended it in with the other tracks for it does sound like it's from the same performance as the others, and to a green listener who's unfamiliar with the studio version, they'd likely not suspect anything out of the ordinary.  What bothers me about it is that the song "skips along" in places where they edited out very small sections to sync it up with the film footage, hopefully an unaltered master still exists and we'll one day hear the real thing, even if Ringo's voice is buried amongst the "jetliner" that landed inside the stadium that historic night.

 

meanmistermustard said
Do you still get the Washington DC concert when you buy the stereo box on iTunes? I've been under the assumption that it was a limited time offer and had since been withdrawn, not giving it any thought to look into. 

Yip, its still included. Well, i never.

Is this an audio or video download?...:-)

24 February 2014
10.14pm
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meanmistermustard
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The complete original audio of Act Naturally is widely available on bootleg, Billy. Wogblog writes

In 2006, a recording of the entire show sourced from the actual inline stadium public address system surfaced, and was sold via an internet auction by It's Only Rock'n'Roll. The recording offers a fascinating minute by minute document of the complete concert, including opening sets from King Curtis, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway and Sounds Incorporated. More importantly for fans, it offers the actual Beatles performance unaltered by overdubs and sweetening. By 2007, the recording was made available by bootleggers. Once the original sound was out among fans, people started making their own version of the Shea Stadium film, by replacing the original doctored sound with the actual sound of the concert. Several new DVD's appeared on the market, allowing fans to see and hear what the concert was actually like. Currently, a DVD produced by the anonymous company "MC" can be found in overground DVD shops as well as on legitimate DVD shops on the internet. And Apple Corps is again losing out on what would have been a lucrative product.

The Washington Concert is the complete video but only available with the iTunes Stereo Box, not as a separate, individual purchase.

 

 

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
26 February 2014
10.44pm
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Ron Nasty
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"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

19 April 2014
4.11pm
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parlance
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WogBlog article on an upcoming bootleg DVD release.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

2 May 2014
11.32am
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meanmistermustard
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Update from Wogblog on the upcoming Shea dvd from TMOQ that contrary to earlier reports the source is a 1991 remaster and not the 2005 stereo remaster.

hmc_shea_dvd.jpgImage Enlarger

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
2 May 2014
1.29pm
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Billy Rhythm
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meanmistermustard said
Update from
Wogblog on the upcoming Shea dvd from TMOQ that contrary to earlier reports the source is a 1991 remaster and not the 2005 stereo remaster.

hmc_shea_dvd.jpgImage Enlarger

So would this mean that a song like 'Act Naturally' won't be the actual performance, but the "sweetened" version?...:-)

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