The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

After I was done with work, I returned home for lunch, and then I went to the theatre that was a block away from work in order to see the Beatles documentary “Eight Days a Week.”  The movie attracted quite a few fans to this small theatre, and we had to see around in a small space to wait for the place to clear from the previous showing, and for the employees to do some cleanup.  One fan looked at my shirt with images of Beatles concert tickets and seemed to like it.  We got a message from Oliver Stone to turn off our cell phones.  The focus of “Eight Days a Week” was on the years up until 1966, when the band went on their last concert tour that ended on August 29 at Candlestick Park.  The attraction was the footage that we had never seen before.  It was rather distressed to see everyone smoking so many cigarettes.  One visual effect we keep seeing is cigarette smoke in still photographs.  We see a bit of the band behind the scenes.  It seems that they were in a lot of danger, with the hordes of fans surrounding them constantly.  I was amazed to see them getting into a car or to a door without getting harmed.  Whoopi Goldberg talked about her love for the group, and she told a good story about her mother and the Shea Stadium concert.  Elvis Costello made some interesting comments on the changes in The Beatles’ music, referring to the lyrics to “Girl.”  I wished we could have heard more from him, because the music is more interesting than many of the facts in the band’s story, which we’ve heard many times before.  Many of us really want to hear more about the last four years of the band’s existence.  One pretty remarkable moment in the film shows some footage of a young Sigourney Weaver at a Beatles concert.  She offers her comments all these years later.  All these details we see, like the Jesus controversy, are very familiar, but the movie did bring back my youth and some of the happiness of those long-gone times.  I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing it again on home video.  The movie audience laughed frequently at the girls in the audience going wild and screaming constantly.  Would it have been better if someone other than Ron Howard was the director?  That is possible.  I had some questions about how the music was used.  Watching Ringo, I appreciate his drumming more than I did in the past.  You can see him putting everything into his playing.  Fans should not leave during the end credits, because there is something substantial afterwards, which is another thirty minutes of footage of the Shea Stadium concert.  I thought the best song in the set was “Help!”  John puts aside the attempts to be funny and shows some intensity in his singing.  I think it’s incredible that thousands of people would cram into this stadium for such a brief amount of music from the headline act.  I think of Bruce Springsteen, who stays on stage forever during each concert.  I couldn’t imagine these girls screaming through a three-hour show.  They would all collapse.  I thought about what a last concert tour would have been like.  The rooftop performance in 1969 suggests that they would have been very good in live performance without the screaming girls.  I didn’t see anyone below on the streets screaming at them.  That last half hour made it feel that I got my money’s worth with my ticket, so I was pretty happy as I left the theatre.  I looked at the crowd outside waiting for the next showing, and there was a guy with a guitar leading a singalong of “With a Little Help From My Friends.”  I stopped to get a hamburger on the way home.  I was glad that I didn’t go out to see “Don’t Breathe.”  Some of the people who died on September 17 include Akim Tamiroff (1972), Richard Basehart (1984), Red Skelton (1997), and Sheb Wooley (2003).  Today is a birthday for Cassandra Peterson (65).

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