Tuesday, 29 May 2018
The Beatles - Live At The Hollywood Bowl (1965)
Released September 2016 (from 1965 live performances)
Recored live in Los Angeles
This material has been knocking around for many a year, but this releases it "cleaned up" and remastered to what is probably the best it is ever going to sound. Yes the incessant screaming is omnipresent and something of an irritation but one just learns to listen beneath it, so to speak, and concentrate on the music. Anyway, that's what The Beatles live in concert was like in 1964-1965. The Rolling Stones live material from that period is similarly blighted.
The "set list" compromises two minute rock n roll standard covers and some of The Beatles somewhat twee "pop" songs like "She Loves You" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". To think that Bob Dylan was on the way to performing material like "Subterranean Homesick Blues", "Desolation Row" and "Like A Rolling Stone" by 1965 is a reality check. That said, this is an extremely interesting and enjoyable listen. It is great to hear The Beatles functioning as a gigging band and interacting with the audience. Why, John Lennon even sounds quite nervous when he announces, haltingly, "this is off our latest album...err..LP...". It is as if he is hoping a few more people will go out and buy a few more. Maybe he actually was. Several "intro" mistakes can be picked up on too which makes one think "if only they carried on gigging, how good they may have become".The collection begins with an abridged "Twist And Shout" (I wish it had been a bit longer). Great to hear the lesser-known "She's A Woman" given an outing and also one of my favourites, the wonderful "The Things We Said Today". The vocal interplay is superb on this and as for Ringo, well, I will talk in more depth about him later. Lennon's attack on "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" is invigorating and "Ticket To Ride" and "Can't Buy Me Love" are reproduced in energetic, almost perfect fashion.It is good to hear "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" and "Baby's In Black" too. Love those not so popular tracks.
For me, and I think for many others, the standout performance on this album is that of the often unfairly-maligned Ringo Starr. His water tight, innovative drum work carries the whole collection. Why, at times it feels as if it is HIS band. His is the dominant sound that hits you when you hear this. I had forgotten just how good he was on this until I listened to it again recently. Fashionable to say he was a bad drummer. I'm no drum expert but he sure sounds good to me. Listen to him drive "Roll Over Beethoven" like a steam hammer. Ditto "Long Tall Sally". Of course, he also sings "Boys" while drumming superbly too. A highlight for me. He sounds as if he is completely loving it. Yes, I'll admit it, Ringo has always been my favourite Beatle.
McCartney's bass sounds wonderful too, particularly on "Boys".
The Beatles would never sound like this again. Never would they romp through a batch of two minute "fun" songs. Weirdness and experimentation was just around the corner. Just as with The Beach Boys, the earlier stuff was just such fun. Despite its minor faults, this is an enjoyable 40 minute or so's listen.
Finally, does John Lennon try to introduce "A Hard Day's Night" In A Scottish accent?