Showing posts with label Live at the Hollywood Bowl (album). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Live at the Hollywood Bowl (album). Show all posts

Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: "The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl"

Beatles fans have waited many years for the group's 1977 compilation of Hollywood Bowl recordings to arrive on CD. And now, with the CD era over or nearly so, here it is. Better late than never.

The new version — also available via streaming and download and, soon, vinyl — has a new name, Live at the Hollywood rather than just At the Hollywood Bowl, along with new packaging.

The new cover, which many fans have been complaining about, ties into Ron Howard's documentary film "Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years," which debuts in select theaters and on Hulu later this week. Personally, I like the poster for "Eight Days a Week," which features a nice color shot of the Fabs circa 1965, but I think it's too type heavy and cluttered when shrunk down to CD size.

Also, linking the album to the film misleadingly gives the impression that this is a wide-ranging collection of Beatles live tracks, not just songs recorded in one venue during the band's 1964 and 1965 U.S. tours.

An appropriate soundtrack to the film would include live recordings from the group's pre-1964 years and from 1966, the Beatles' final year of touring. People, especially Americans, forget that the Beatles became national stars in Britain in 1963 and played dates in Sweden and France before ever visiting the United States. Yet producer Giles Martin (son of George), who oversaw the release of the new album and music restoration for Howard's film, has indicated no such collection is forthcoming.

On the plus side, however, this new collection does feature better sound than the 1977 version. It's reportedly sourced from higher-quality tapes, and Martin and his engineers have used new technology to turn down the still-present jet-engine screams of the fans while boosting the sound of the band.

For the most part, this has worked well. There's great clarity to the vocals and Ringo's drums. Yet, too my ears, the bass is now too loud, overpowering the sound of John and George's guitars and becoming a distraction. The lead guitar, from both the 1964 and 1965 recordings, is too low in the mix.

And generally, to my ears, there's a heavily processed feel to the album. Reverb has been added to the vocals and it sounds tinkered with overall. I enjoy being able to hear the Beatles better, but somehow the sound here doesn't seem quite "real."

Still, the performances are the for the most part great. There's a frenetic energy to the entire set. This isn't a modern-day concert, with extended stage patter and a range of tempos. Nearly every song here is played fast and almost all are rockers.

On some songs, such as "Help!" and "Things We Said Today," John and Paul sound out of breath. There's a sense that the band is trying to get through this as fast as possible, yet still providing a great performance. Knowing that they could be torn to shreds by overzealous fans in a heartbeat was no doubt a contributing factor. As much fun as the Beatles were having on stage, they were also likely nervous and scared for their own safety. It's remarkable that the group's lead vocals, harmonies and George's guitar solos (what you can hear of them) are so tuneful and polished in the face of all that screaming and hysteria.

However, I have to disagree with David Fricke, who raves about the group's performance of "Things We Said Today" in his liner notes as being a high point of the set. To me, it's the weakest track. The performance sounds tentative and sloppy and Paul's vocals on the verses are slurred and rushed. The choruses, however, I agree, are powerful and engaging.

After Paul's announcement before "Long Tall Sally" that the group is playing its last song, the album concludes with four tacked-on bonus cuts. I'm glad these are included, but their placement at the end spoils the illusion that this album is all one concert set. I wish Martin had slotted them in among the other songs instead. And concluding with "Baby's in Black," the slowest song on the entire album, makes no sense at all.

Still, despite numerous flaws, this is an important document and the only official live recording in the Beatles' catalog. No matter what its form, it's good to have the album readily available again.

Track list:
Twist and Shout (1965)
She's a Woman ((1965)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (1965)
Ticket to Ride (1965)
Can't Buy Me Love (1965)
Things We Said Today (1964)
Roll Over Beethoven (1964)
Boys (1964)
A Hard Day's Night (1965)
Help! (1965)
All My Loving (1964)
She Love You (1964)
Long Tall Sally (1964)

Bonus tracks:
You Can't Do That (1964)
I Want to Hold Your Hand (1964)
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby (1965)
Baby's in Black (1965)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Giles Martin discusses "Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl" restoration

NPR has an interview with Giles Martin on the upcoming reissue of the Beatles' Hollywood Bowl recordings. You can hear some additional music off the new album, too.
"There's a guy who works in IT here who's developing de-mix technology, you know, being able to take one track and separate it into its constituent parts. I'd been playing around with him with this for a while and I said, 'Why don't we try it on screams from the Hollywood Bowl.' And we tried it and what we ended up with is it split the one track into two tracks and you get the screams on one half and then you have this weird, almost like the band playing but it sounds a little strange. But this meant we could go into, for instance, the drum track and bring out the best of the drums, as opposed to what my father had. If he did [anything] to the drums he'd be doing it to the screams as well. So we could basically clean up the recordings. And it's always my ambition to make people feel as though they're there watching the band. Now what you have with Hollywood Bowl is you're much closer to the band."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hear "Twist and Shout" from the upcoming Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl reissue

"Twist and Shout," the opening song on the forthcoming Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl" reissue can be heard on a variety of streaming services here. The album will be out Sept. 9 on CD and download and Nov. 18 on vinyl.

You can also download "Twist and Shout" now.

While the release replicates the edits and track listing of the original 1977 The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl album overseen by George Martin, it is sourced from newly discovered, earlier generation tapes and has been remixed and edited by Martin's son, Giles. The release is a tie-in to the forthcoming Ron Howard documentary "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Details revealed: Reissue of Beatles' live Hollywood Bowl recordings

The official website for the Beatles' "Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years" documentary has posted details about the reissue of the band's Hollywood Bowl recordings, which will be out this fall on CD and vinyl.

The album isn't a directed re-issue or remastering of the 1977 Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl album but a new release made from better-quality tapes of the same shows, which have been used by Giles Martin, son of the Beatles' late producer, Sir George Martin, to create a better-sounding release.

As rumored, the release includes tracks not included on the 1977 album.

Here's a look:

The Beatles’ Companion Album to New Ron Howard-Directed Feature Documentary Presents Remixed and Mastered Recordings from Three Hollywood Bowl Concerts

Apple Corps Ltd. and Universal Music Group are pleased to announce global release plans for The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl, a new album that captures the joyous exuberance of the band’s three sold-out concerts at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965. A companion to The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, Academy Award®-winner Ron Howard’s authorized and highly anticipated documentary feature film about the band’s early career, The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl will be released worldwide on CD and for digital download and streaming on September 9, followed by a 180-gram gatefold vinyl LP on November 18. The album includes a 24-page booklet with an essay by noted music journalist David Fricke, and its cover art features a sunny photo taken on August 22, 1964 by The Beatles’ then-U.S. tour manager, Bob Bonis, as John, Paul, George and Ringo boarded a chartered flight from Seattle Tacoma Airport to Vancouver, BC for their first concert in Canada.

Documenting The Beatles’ Hollywood Bowl concerts on tape was no easy feat, as producer Sir George Martin explained in his album notes for 1977’s The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl: “The chaos, I might almost say panic, that reigned at these concerts was unbelievable unless you were there. Only three track recording was possible; The Beatles had no ‘fold back’ speakers, so they could not hear what they were singing, and the eternal shriek from 17,000 healthy, young lungs made even a jet plane inaudible.”

While The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl references the long out of print 1977 album, it is an entirely new release, directly sourced from the original three track tapes of the concerts. To preserve the excitement of the shows while unveiling the performances in today’s best available clarity and quality, GRAMMY Award® winning producer Giles Martin and GRAMMY Award® winning engineer Sam Okell have expertly remixed and mastered the recordings at Abbey Road Studios, including the thirteen tracks from the original album produced by Giles’ father, plus four additional, previously unreleased recordings from the momentous concerts.

“A few years ago Capitol Studios called saying they’d discovered some Hollywood Bowl three track tapes in their archive,” says Giles Martin. “We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive. Alongside this I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track. With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes. Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago. Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before. My father’s words still ring true, but what we hear now is the raw energy of four lads playing together to a crowd that loved them. This is the closest you can get to being at the Hollywood Bowl at the height of Beatlemania. We hope you enjoy the show…”

Featuring rare and exclusive footage, Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years is based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) – the period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim. The film is produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years touches on the band’s Hollywood Bowl concerts and includes footage of the “Boys” performance featured on The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl.

White Horse Pictures’ GRAMMY Award®-winning Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci, and Academy Award® and Emmy Award®-winner Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment are producing with Howard. Apple Corps Ltd.’s Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde are serving as executive producers, along with Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall.

Following a world premiere event in London on September 15, the film will roll out theatrically worldwide with release dates set in the U.K., France and Germany (September 15); the U.S., Australia and New Zealand (September 16); and Japan (September 22). In the U.S., Hulu is the presenting partner for Abramorama’s theatrical release of the film, which will be available to stream exclusively to Hulu subscribers beginning September 17. Studiocanal and PolyGram Entertainment are also anchor partners on the film, having acquired U.K., France, Germany and Australia and New Zealand rights. For more information about the film, visit

The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl

1. Twist and Shout [30 August, 1965]
2. She’s A Woman [30 August, 1965]
3. Dizzy Miss Lizzy [30 August, 1965 / 29 August, 1965 – one edit]
4. Ticket To Ride [29 August, 1965]
5. Can’t Buy Me Love [30 August, 1965]
6. Things We Said Today [23 August, 1964]
7. Roll Over Beethoven [23 August, 1964]
8. Boys [23 August, 1964]
9. A Hard Day’s Night [30 August, 1965]
10. Help! [29 August, 1965]
11. All My Loving [23 August, 1964]
12. She Loves You [23 August, 1964]
13. Long Tall Sally [23 August, 1964]
14. You Can’t Do That [23 August, 1964 – previously unreleased]
15. I Want To Hold Your Hand [23 August, 1964 – previously unreleased]
16. Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby [30 August, 1965 – previously unreleased]
17. Baby’s In Black [30 August, 1965 – previously unreleased]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl album set for official CD, vinyl release this fall

Several days ago, hints surfaced on Beatles discussion boards that the band's live album, issued in 1977 and never officially available on CD, would be re-released this fall as a tie-in to the Ron Howard directed "Eight Days a Week" live years documentary.

Now it looks as if the hints are true. CD and vinyl listings for The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl have surfaced on Amazon.

The CD is set for Sept. 9 release while the vinyl will be out Nov. 18.

"Eight Days a Week," which focuses on the Beatles' touring years, will debut on Hulu Sept. 17 with screenings in select British cities Sept. 15.
We'll update you on official details once they become available. The hints revealed earlier stated the album will carry its official track listing, plus four bonus tracks also from concerts recorded at the Bowl in 1964 and/or 1965.

Most interesting to learn will be how the tracks sound and to what extent they've been changed or improved upon since the 1977 release. Producer George Martin shelved the tapes back in the 1960s, feeling they were too low quality for release. When technology improved, he went back to the studio and did his best to boost the Beatles' music above the sound of their screaming audiences. Even so, the screaming was pretty overwhelming. Now, who knows?

One immediate change is the release's title. Originally it was just The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, but the word "live" has been inserted.

In one way, this is all happy news, as the album has been much missed by many fans and, as the only official live document of the band, should be in print. But there are many other live performances out there worthy of release and the new film provides an opportunity for a more expansive, far-ranging compilation of live tracks. Many of us would also love to see a spruced up, official version of the band's first Shea Stadium performance made available on DVD or Blu-ray. Maybe there's still hope.

Here is the track list for the original Hollywood Bowl LP.
  1. Twist and Shout.
  2. She's a Woman.
  3. Dizzy Miss Lizzie.
  4. Ticket to Ride.
  5. Can't Buy Me Love.
  6. Things We Said Today.
  7. Roll Over Beethoven.
  8. Boys.
  9. A Hard Day's Night.
  10. Help!
  11. All My Loving.
  12. She Loves You.
  13. Long Tall Sally.