The documentary film of The Beatles' Shea Stadium show has never been officially released on video or DVD, but has been given a serious lick of paint to accompany Ron Howard's Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years movie. Here's what we learned;
1. The noise is intense
It might be stating the bleedin' obvious, but the noise created by 55,000 screaming girls and their presumably perplexed guardians is enormous, especially when it's pumped through a cinema PA. Like a swarm of bees engaged in a fight with another swarm of bees. At an airport. As the Space Shuttle departs.
2. The band look bemused
In these days of stadium tours and outdoor festivals it's easy to take big crowds for granted, but back in 1965 this was all new. And, for the most part, the band look somewhat bewildered as utter carnage unfolds in front of them.
3. No one claps
At the end of each song the screaming rises to a new crescendo, but there's very little actual applause. And the overhead shots that sweep the crowd don't show people with their arms in the air like they just don't care in the manner to which we're accustomed.
4. John Lennon is in charge
Despite McCartney's chirpy interactions with a crowd who can't hear a word he says, it looks like the John Lennon show. He gets a mic to himself, and he sings lead for the first half of the set.
5. Times have changed
The biggest band in the world play a stadium, and you get a 30-minute set, three cover versions and no encore. In 2016, people would trash their seats before filing a class action lawsuit. But in 1965, people merely screamed unnecessarily and (although this may be be an urban myth) wet themselves.
6. This band could really play
Despite the fact that they couldn't hear themselves, there were no monitor speakers and the sound was being pumped through a tannoy system more regularly used for making baseball announcements, The Beatles are in sync throughout. Ringo Starr once said he was able to keep time at the show by watching the other musicians' bottoms move. All that hard work really paid off.
7. The new sound is amazing
The boffins at Abbey Road have tweaked the EQs and deployed the algorithms, and the concert now sounds like it should, not like a distant fairground being dismantled.
8. Brian Epstein couldn't dance
A couple of times the camera alights on the band's manager as he shuffles nervously by the side of the stage. Although obviously proud, he looks as comfortable as a funeral usher at a clown convention.
9. It's the most exciting 30 minutes in the history of rock'n'roll
It just is. Accept it.
10. Afterwards, everything changed
At the time of the show, The Beatles were one of the best live bands on the planet. A year later, after playing Shea again — and falling 11,000 seats short of a sell-out — they quit touring to become the best studio act in the world. And that's some trick. The revamped Shea Stadium footage will screen only in cinemas as part of the release of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK
You must be living under a rock if you have not heard of THE BEATLES. At one point or another, their songs would have been a part of your life (or will be for the younger ones) as generations upon generations would pass on their knowledge, experiences, and music of this legendary band. You may even have been conceived with their music---go ahead ask your parents. If it’s one thing that Filipinos are known for, it’s their musicality. And whether you’re a fan or not, musically inclined or musically-challenged.
HERE ARE 8 THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD FOR THE THEATRICAL RELEASE:
1) Bonus Feature: The Shea Stadium concert
People would often stay until the credits end for a “secret scene” or some snippet of either a part two or the outtakes. We’re telling you know: Stay until the credits end. Witness the restored, remastered Shea Stadium performance, the first rock concert ever staged in a stadium in front of more than 55,000 people. This bonus feature will only be available in cinemas.
2) The Philippines was a hard day’s fright?
Yes, the infamous trip to Philippines back in July 1966 will be in this film. Will it be a revelation? Is all forgiven and forgotten? We don’t know. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out. One thing’s for sure: you’ll find out more about our country when you google “Beatles Manila”. Sikat na naman ang Pilipinas.
3) A band of brothers
Director Ron Howard captures the emotional moment when the usually reserved Paul McCartney gets misty discussing the first time Starr played with the Beatles. Ringo Starr, an only child, was quoted as saying “I felt like I suddenly had three brothers." This was one of the biggest revelations according to Howard. “The kind of brotherhood that Ringo talks about. And Paul talks about the connection that he and John had creatively and as friends and how important that was, how they all worked together.”
4) Howard brings you back to the Happy Days (without the The Fonz)
Get ready to time-travel as the story unfolds right at the brink of their epic yet humble beginnings. Key historic moments were shaping up the world during the rise of The Beatles, and Howard’s fresh parallel approach gives you a better understanding of what it was like from the perspectives of the band, its world, the fans, and their world. A common response to those who have seen the film was “it was like almost being there”. Must have been some time machine Ron Howard made.
5)The music is still AWESOME!
In reality, back then, the audio was really, really bad. This must have been a monumental challenge for the folks back at Apple Corps and White Horse Pictures. But Howard’s team was able to find material that captured the music that screaming fans mostly couldn’t hear. These were then digitized and restored for more detail. The movie captures the sound as it should be. Classic.
6) Fighting for what’s right
Back in 1964, The Beatles took a stand that they would not appear unless black fans were allowed to sit where they liked at their concert at the Gator Bowl stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. At a time of racial segregation in America, what The Beatles did was courageous and truly inspiring, much like People Power but the other way around. Little did they know that this “small” act played a key role in helping to stamp out racial segregation in the U.S. This struggle later inspired Paul McCartney to write Blackbird. He added: “We had loads of black friends and many of our musical heroes were black. “To see in the film that we’d actually put it in our contracts to ‘not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience’ – we didn’t remember that. I was very impressed with that. It was very cool.”
7) Rockin’ it old style: before social media
What would today’s artists do without social media? We can all learn a thing or two from The Beatles. Back then when talent, personality, and showmanship was everything, it took more effort for artists to reach out to their fans, and for fans to keep in touch with their idols. And then there’s the ever present press. In front of the media, they were terrific together in every way: sharp, clever, funny and quick. If John was the wittiest and had edge, Paul was twinkly and charming and George and Ringo often had a good line. Also, Manager Brian Epstein encouraged them to smarten up their image, wear suits and stop swearing and smoking in public, in order to broaden their appeal. Know of anyone who needs the same advice?
8) Personal connection
Do you believe in Yesterday? When all you troubles seemed so far away? Have you travelled that long and winding road? Yes Pinoys love The Beatles in spite of what happened back in 1966. In a time of turmoil, war, LP’s, and when Pepsi and Mirinda ruled. Their music was embedded in our lives. The legacy was passed on and so were the LP’s, vinyl albums, the Songhits with chords and Jingle magazine, cassette tapes, and so on. There will always be that Beatles song that stirs you, moves you or calms you, and makes you emotional for a few minutes.
Distributed in the Philippines by Solar Pictures. Solar Pictures is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @solarpicturesPH