PLEASE NOTE: I meant to publish this post before I published ‘I Think I’m Gonna Be Sad…’, but I didn’t finish the draft in time. Sorry ’bout that. But as you can see, I have finished the draft — voila!
Yay! Finally finished school for the year — meaning nearly two whole months of holidays! I saw Ben Folds live last Friday, which was amazing. Very funny/clever man… Ben actually used to live in Adelaide, which is cool. But anyway…
Reading the title of this post, you might be thinking, ‘What? You can barely even hear The Beatles live on some of the recordings!’ Not strictly true… There are some really, really amazing versions of their songs played live. And you can actually hear them (sometimes)! I stay away from 1964 live recordings, though — the screams are slightly overpowering, then. A lot of my favourite recordings come from 1966, when you could actually hear them. (Some from mid-late ’65, as well.) But anyway, let the list begin…
Yesterday: Munich, 1966
BACKGROUND: ‘Yesterday’ was included in The Beatles ’66 set list, but it was not played live like it was in ’65 (i.e. Paul solo with his acoustic-electric guitar plus a pre-recorded string quartet). As can be heard in this video, The Beatles had clearly created a two-electric-guitars/bass/drums arrangement for live purposes. As far as I know, the song was played at each concert in the US, plus Munich (where this version originates).
WHY I LIKE IT: Call me sacrilegious, but I count ‘Yesterday’ as one of my least favourite Beatles songs. But I love this version! I think it sounds way better with the electric guitars and drums than it did with that string quartet. (The string makes the song too schmaltzy, in my opinion.) Not a live version, but my other favourite version of this song can be found on Anthology 2.
I Saw Her Standing There: Drop In — Sweden, 1963
BACKGROUND: In October 1963, The Beatles semi-toured Sweden. (Beatlemania hadn’t quite hit Sweden, so it’s wonderful to actually be able to hear the songs minus any sort of scream.) One of the performances done on this tour was for a TV show called Drop In. The setlist for this night was ‘She Loves You’, ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’.
WHY I LIKE IT: Listen to that rhythm guitar. Need I say more?
I’m Down: Blackpool Night Out — Blackpool, 1965
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2rjt0 (the stupid Dailymotion embed code refuses to work)
BACKGROUND: In August 1965, The Beatles performed on another show, called Blackpool Night Out (thus we don’t know where the performance was situated AT ALL. Not.). The BNO performance is slightly better known than the above, though, due to inclusion of much of the show on Anthology 2. The set list was comprised of ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘I’m Down’ (obviously), ‘Act Naturally’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Help!. (I highly recommend watching the entire performance on YouTube, by the way. There are some very funny quips from John, and the dancers that perform during the end credits made me laugh. The dancer weren’t actually provided for comic relief — as far as I know — though…)
WHY I LIKE IT: Interestingly, the organ in this performance is much more evident than in the studio version. And it’s amazing! I attempted to compare this version with Shea Stadium, but got irritated with the screams and gave up.
Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, She’s A Woman: Candlestick Park, 1966
BACKGROUND: As I assume most (if not all) of the people reading this know, The Beatles’ only performance at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park was their final live performance (sans the Apple Rooftop). The group (especially John and George) were fed up with the treatment they received on their tours, not to mention the screaming girls (attention which they enjoyed at first, but grew to dislike). Luckily for us obsessive Beatlemaniacs who will quite happily sit through hours of Beatles live tapes (or is that only me…), Paul asked Tony Barrow to record the entire concert on tape. Unfortunately the tape ran out halfway through ‘Long Tall Sally’ (the last song in the gig — excluding the opening bars of ‘In My Life’ that John played on his Casino as he walked offstage), but anyway… The Beatles also took photos onstage that would now be called ‘selfies’… (Haha — The Beatles were the first to use artificial double tracking, popularised longer haircuts for men and invented the selfie! 😉 ) Not coincidentally, Paul was the last person to play at Candlestick Park before its demolition.
WHY I LIKE IT: I’m not sure if it’s just the bad sound quality (I think not), but The Beatles’ guitars sound as if they’re on overdrive. And not just that — John/Paul are really screaming those rockers with passion! They seem to be having a rocking good time. Which I find very groovy! The Beatles really sound like they’re letting loose (someone in the YouTube comments compared the gig to those of The Who!) here, and they are rocking dead hard. Perhaps this is because they know that after that particular gig, they will not be performing together live in the near future… But anyway, really worth listening to. I will post the entire concert below — really, utterly and definitely worth listening to if you have a half an hour to spare.
(And of course…) The Rooftop Concert!
BACKGROUND: The Beatles hadn’t toured for nearly three years. In that time, the band created the masterpieces known by the general public as Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles/White Album. (Not to mention Magical Mystery Tour — not that I’d exactly call the film a masterpiece… 😉 ) John had gotten together with Yoko, and Paul with Linda. And the infamous split-up of The Beatles had begun. By early 1969, Paul was desperate to save his band, as the members (especially him and John) began to drift further and further apart. His attempt to save the band — the Get Back Sessions! (Of course, we now know that his attempt wasn’t particularly successful…) The original intent of this project was to basically have a giant jam and end up holding a gig in some exotic location, but arguments between John and Paul led them to have the concert on the Apple Rooftop. This set up a trend still continuing today — rooftop concerts!
WHY I LIKE IT: C’mon… Late-era Beatles performing some fab yet-to-be-released songs — what’s not to like? If I could have been at any Beatles live performance, I would actually choose the rooftop concert. I think it would be utterly magical walking around in one’s lunchbreak, only to find The Beatles playing an impromptu gig. And you could probably hear them, too! Not to mention that ‘Get Back’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ are some of my favourite Beatles songs…
And there we go! My shortlist of The Beatles’ live versions! Hope you enjoy listening to the various versions of songs you (probably) already know.
Hope you’re having a fab day — wherever you are in the world — and good day sunshine until the weekend! 🙂