Artist: The Beatles
Album: Live At The Hollywood Bowl
Release Date: 09/09/2016
The fact that some skeptics dismissed the Fab Four as a second-rate live band is easily disputed by this new-to-CD collection of the only officially sanctioned live music recorded by the Beatles in their prime.
An expansion of the original Live at the Hollywood Bowl recordings released on vinyl nearly 40 years ago, it boasts a brilliant new sound courtesy of Giles Martin (the son of the late Beatles producer George Martin), a fantastic booklet featuring new photos and commentary by noted rock critic David Fricke, and three songs that were heretofore unreleased. (The claims that all four bonus tracks are brand new is negated by the fact that one, “Baby’s in Black,” was actually one of three B-sides that accompanied the “Real Love” single some 20 years ago).
Yes, the rabid screams are still in evidence, but the performances themselves practically replicate the original recorded versions, showing that the Beatles did, in fact, have a tightness and agility that belies their preference for the studio. An audio accompaniment to the new Ron Howard documentary Eight Days a Week, Live at the Hollywood Bowl finds the group mining the excitement and exuberance often only hinted at in the studio recordings, whether it’s through McCartney’s wailing take on “Long Tall Sally,” the adrenaline rush of “Twist and Shout,” or the added energy they bring to their movie gems “Help,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
It needn’t be said, but we’ll say it anyway: any news Beatles release ought to be considered an essential acquisition; but in this case, the listener gets an added historical document as well.
– Lee Zimmerman