Thursday, September 15, 2016

Album review: The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl

photo: Apple Corps Ltd.

The Beatles
Live At The Hollywood Bowl
(Capitol/Apple Corps Ltd.)

On this new archival release, there's such an exuberance on display from The Beatles and thousands of screaming girls in attendance, that it's an utter joy to hear.

Producer Giles Martin - along with engineer Sam Okell and their team - did a superior job remixing and remastering the only official Beatles concert album from the original three track tapes at Abbey Road Studios.

I'd never listened to the previous live LP which Giles' father Sir George Martin and Geoff Emerick oversaw in 1977 (the elder Martin was never completely satisfied with it). What initially stands out now is the raw energy the Fab Four had onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and '65. 

Describing the restoration process in a podcast, Giles Martin said they used a new demix technology to remove sounds from a single track. That enabled them to lessen some of the pubescent screeching and then focus on getting more guitars and the low end into the mix. It definitely worked wonders. Clocking in at 44 minutes, the 13 songs (plus four rare bonus tracks) find the Fab Four in excellent form.

From the rousing opener "Twist and Shout," John Lennon's manic lead vocal on "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (where he tries to introduce it and is amazed by the response), group harmonies that tear through the din on "Ticket to Ride" (Paul McCartney is equally bewildered by the fans) and "Can't Buy Me Love" to strong live takes on "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!," "She Loves You" and a seamless "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the raw energy is palpable. Both Lennon and McCartney introduce each song, with the former often injecting some humor into his comments. 

Do yourself and favor and buy a physical copy on CD or vinyl (180-gram gatefold is due out Nov. 18). The CD version is housed in a glossy digipak, with a nice booklet containing photos, an informative essay by Rolling Stone writer David Fricke, the original LP's sleeve notes by George Martin, LA Times news articles from 1964-65 detailing the ticket on sale ("near riots"), pre-show press conference and pseudo review.

Highly recommended for diehard and casual fans.

"Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years," a new documentary directed by Ron Howard, opens in limited run today. Check for local listings. 

1 comment:

Kirbyfan said...

You're absolutely right!

Because this new Hollywood Bowl album ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!

You've never ever heard the Beatles laying it down like this! They are absolutely taking no prisoners!

This album is absolute proof that the Beatles weren't just some pop group! They were a hard hitting, no BS, paid their dues hard rockin band!

Every music website and magazine should be doing featured articles about this absolutely fantastic release!

It should be #1!