The Unseen Beatles

The rain came down steadily during the night into the early morning hours. I sat around watching television. I wanted to see what people had to say about Glenn Frey. I watched “Crimes of the Future,” an early David Cronenberg film. It was low budget and had its characters running around a college campus in Toronto. I thought it was hard to make sense of what was going on. It was touching on ideas that we would see in “The Brood” with organs and reproduction in the mix, although without the money for special effects, Cronenberg in his ability to disgust us. I didn’t see any signs of greatness in “Crimes of the Future.” You’d never guess that the same director would someday come up with “Maps to the Stars.” I watched a DVD I bought some time ago, called “The Unseen Beatles.” The focus was on their concert tours from 1964 to 1966. I thought it was worth seeing from some of the rare footage. There were some funny tales about the hazards of those shows, like the threat of electric shock when the rain came down, or an airplane engine that caught fire. I had heard about their infamous visit to Manila before, but never in so much detail. Some of the people working on the tours said that security was usually inadequate. It sounded like a miracle that the Beatles weren’t seriously hurt or even killed. I remembered the security that Michael Jackson had around him during the 1980s. It seems a shame that we don’t have a better record of the concerts at Shea Stadium or Candlestick Park. The job of putting together the concert tours was too much for Brian Epstein, with the worldwide travel, the crowd management, charter planes, and hotels. The Beatles were not safe out there. For all their fame, they weren’t treated with respect, particularly in Manila. The meaningless ritual of producing inaudible music, the complete lack of privacy, and the shoddy nature of the concert tours led the group to feeling fed up with it all. The famous controversy with John Lennon’s Jesus comments seemed to confirm that the summer of 1966 would be the end of the road. A 15-year-old with a camera did capture some images from that last day at Candlestick Park. To preserve the baseball field, the roadies had to carry equipment out to the stage. I wouldn’t say that I learned very much that was new in watching this DVD, but I did enjoy watching it. The special features including some photos and interviews that were used in the program. Ten years have passed since “The Unseen Beatles” was made. I went out to take the bus to the Grand Lake Theatre to watch the Star Wars movie again for five dollars at the Grand Lake Theatre. The movie had been moved out of the main theatre, which was something of a disappointment, and it was a signal that the run was gradually coming to a close. Well, it’s been fun. I appreciated the efforts of Daisy Ridley, and I kept looking at Carrie Fisher’s face, which seemed to be a science fiction story of its own. Chewbacca was so sturdy, sustaining an injury and getting back on the horse. I wondered why only he and R2-D2 accompanied Rey on that last trip. I didn’t hang around to watch the credits this time, especially on the smaller screen, and so I rushed outside to catch the bus at 9:11. I listened to the bus about the fatal Greyhound bus crash. I had intended to stay up to watch Johnny Carson, but I fell asleep. I had some days of work ahead of time, and I was glad that the weather report called for two days without rain. Some of the people who died on January 20 include Alan Freed (1965), Jimmy Durante (1980), Johnny Weissmuller (1984), Barbara Stanwyck (1990), Audrey Hepburn (1993), Al Hirschfeld (2003), Reynolds Price (2011), and Etta James (2012). Today is a birthday for Bill Maher (60), Paul Stanley (64), David Lynch (70), and Buzz Aldrin (86). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 20, The Byrds covered Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965. In 1979, Chic had a Number One single, “Le Freak.” In 1990, Golden Globe Awards went to “Born on the Fourth of July” and Tom Cruise.

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