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The Beatles At Shea Stadium
24 February 2014
4.48pm
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
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.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
24 February 2014
7.02pm
Ron Nasty
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There's an official Beatles Leprechaun! I wish people would put things like this in the news thread when they discover them so the rest of us can keep up! Do we know anything more about him, other than him being official?

a-hard-days-night-george-10

Great find, mmm!

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24 February 2014
7.12pm
meanmistermustard
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mja6758 said
There's an official Beatles Leprechaun! I wish people would put things like this in the news thread when they discover them so the rest of us can keep up! Do we know anything more about him, other than him being official?

a-hard-days-night-george-10

Great find, mmm!

Official Beatles Leprechaun Detector Kit, not an official Beatles Leprechaun. You get the kit to find the Leprechauns; whether or not they exist is another matter entirely. You need to read the packaging more clearly mja - official Beatles Lebrechaun indeed.ahdn_paul_01

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
24 February 2014
8.01pm
OneCoolCat
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It would be nice if they made an official release of this concert and not do what they did for the Washington show where it is only available if you purchase the Beatles' boxset on iTunes. I would love to have that Washington show but I don't want to purchase the set on iTunes just to get it.

In this Shea concert, I still love the shot of the one cop, when The Beatles are making their way unto the stage, grimacing because of the deafening crowd noise (around 24:17 in the vid above). Classic.

 

24 February 2014
8.34pm
meanmistermustard
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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.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
24 February 2014
9.27pm
Billy Rhythm
Shea Stadium
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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
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.

 

 

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
24 February 2014
10.29pm
Billy Rhythm
Shea Stadium
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Thanks for that, that's the first time I've ever heard the real thing, it's sounds great!  George's guitar is buried and Ringo's voice cracks a bit in a couple of places but I think it's better than the Band-Aid Job that they opted for.  While it's certainly not as slick as the other live performance on the 'Anthology' video, it's much heavier and I like it a lot.  An unedited/unaltered live audio track for a remastered video of the original film would be fabulous...:-)

24 February 2014
11.09pm
meanmistermustard
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More than welcome.apple01

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
26 February 2014
4.17pm
DrBeatle
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I've got the complete, unedited raw SBD tape of Shea '65 that popped on boot a few years ago. My favorite way to listen to the concert, really good sound quality and you can feel that it's an EVENT just coming through the speakers.

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26 February 2014
4.47pm
meanmistermustard
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DrBeatle said
I've got the complete, unedited raw SBD tape of Shea '65 that popped on boot a few years ago. My favorite way to listen to the concert, really good sound quality and you can feel that it's an EVENT just coming through the speakers.

Yeah. Its great to now have the complete original show in excellent quality instead of having to put up with the audio of the TV Documentary that not only suffered from overdubs and the rest but also interviews overlaid on top of some of the songs (i think A Hard Days Night was pretty much buried under dialogue).

Hopefully a few more concerts will appear complete and from the soundboards over the next few years, especially from the UK Tours.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
26 February 2014
5.07pm
DrBeatle
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Indeed! My favorite is the Atlanta '65 show, where they had stage monitoring for the first time ever. That must've blown their minds!

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26 February 2014
5.18pm
meanmistermustard
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DrBeatle said
Indeed! My favorite is the Atlanta '65 show, where they had stage monitoring for the first time ever. That must've blown their minds!

Is that the show where they are constantly mentioning that they can hear themselves and how fantastic it was? Sadly by the time of the US '65 shows, and a good few of the '64 shows, the joy of performing on stage was losing the shine and you can hear it; instead of being a tight live band they seem to have to resort to amusing themselves on stage to remain interested (sadly even that had gone by the time of the 1966 tours) - just compare those with Sweden in '63 or the Washington gig in February '64. The later concerts are fun to hear but makes me, at least, yearn for the '63 and earlier shows in the UK when they were still making it. Even the Star Club tapes have a rawness and energy about them despite the lousy sound quality.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
26 February 2014
5.52pm
DrBeatle
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That's the one! I would say that even into '65 they were a solid live band, sound issues nonwithstanding.  They definitely threw in the towel in '66 although the final show at Candlestick Park isn't too bad, it's actually pretty good.

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26 February 2014
9.58pm
Billy Rhythm
Shea Stadium
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DrBeatle said 
I would say that even into '65 they were a solid live band, sound issues nonwithstanding.  They definitely threw in the towel in '66 although the final show at Candlestick Park isn't too bad, it's actually pretty good.

 

I agree, not the best audio (it's from PR Man Tony Barrow's Handheld Tape Recorder) but the Candlestick Show is the best 1966 live performance I've heard by them.  Here's the 1965 Atlanta Show (3 Nights After Shea) in its entirety and as you've all ready stated, it's very good:

 

 

It appears that 'Act Naturally' was all ready dropped for 'I Wanna Be Your Man' just 3 nights later!...:-)

The following people thank Billy Rhythm for this post:

DrBeatle
26 February 2014
10.44pm
Ron Nasty
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Here's an interesting thought about that Atlanta gig. Among the support acts was Brenda Holloway backed by the King Curtis Band. An occasional member of Curtis' band at that time, through into 1966, was Jimi Hendrix. It just might have been the first time their orbits touched.

King Curtis (left), Jimi Hendrix (right) in 1966

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

parlance

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2 May 2014
11.32am
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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.

He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief and whatever thoughts we have... to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is. (John Lennon - 27/8/67)
2 May 2014
1.29pm
Billy Rhythm
Shea Stadium
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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.

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

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