It’s The Beatles & Royal Variety Performance (Misterclaudel mccd-77 & mcdvd-11)
CD, Liverpool Empire Theatre, Liverpool, England – December 7th, 1963: From Me To You, I Saw Her Standing There, All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven, Boys, Till There Was You, She Loves You, This Boy, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money, Twist and Shout, From Me to You (instrumental) (off line tape source). I Want to Hold Your Hand, Money, Twist and Shout, From Me to You (instrumental), Harry Lime (Third Man Theme) (BBC archive video soundtrack).
Prince Of Wales Theatre – November 4, 1963: From Me to You, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Twist and Shout, Dickie Henderson Outro
DVD: “It’s The Beatles”, Liverpool Empire Theatre – December 7th, 1963 Version 1, BBC-TV archive B-roll master: Introduction, Fragment Clips, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money, Twist & Shout, From Me To You (instrumental). Version 2, Silent Sea ‘Live In England’ alternate audio/video mix, unknown source complete alternate edit: I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money, Twist & Shout, From Me To You (instrumental). Version 3, BBC-TV Master ‘Beat DVD 10’ edited and remastered audio/video: I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money, Twist & Shout, From Me To You (instrumental). Bonus Footage, 8mm black and white silent film, audio mastered with concert tape: fragment clips. MSNBC Film ‘Time & Again’ with the correct concert audio: I Want To Hold Your Hand. Cinesound ‘Beatles at the Stadium’: I Want To Hold Your Hand. Mid-1980’s TV Broadcast: Twist & Shout. 25 Jahre – German TV Broadcast: Newsreel Footage.
“Royal Variety Show” Prince Of Wales Theatre, London – November 4th, 1963: Royal Interview (October 16th, 1963). Version 1 Anthology Re-Edit: From Me To You, Till There Was You, Twist & Shout. Version 2 Raw Footage w/ Time Code: From Me To You, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Twist & Shout. Version 3 Re-Edited & Remastered: From Me To You, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Twist & Shout. Bonus Footage: Introduction, Newsreels 4 Nov. 1963, She Loves You (Alternate Source), She Loves You (Audio Remastered), Outroduction – Dickie Henderson
It’s The Beatles & Royal Variety Performance gathers together all the relevant audio and video documents surrounding two television appearances late in 1963. Spaced about a month apart, these are indiciative of the frenetic activity the band was enaged in right around the release of their second album With The Beatles. The December 7th, 1963 material is presented first on both the CD and the DVD. This day saw the band come to their hometown to tape an appearance on “Jukebox Jury,” tape this show at the Empire Theater for the BBC in front of their fan club, and then play two shows that night at the Odeon in Liverpool. The audio for both “It’s The Beatles” and the “Royal Variety Performance” were released on Live In United Kingdom 1962-65 (Bulldog BGCD 11112) from Italy and in 1998 on Live in the United Kingdom 1962-1965 (Quarter Apple BGCD-111 39386 01, BGCD-112 39387 01). Both of these titles the complete “off line” source. The BBC Archive video soundtrack can be found on Jellybeans Hailing In Dreamlike Noise (Whoopy Cat WKP-0036) issued in 1994. The final three songs of the Royal Variety Performance also appear on Anthology Vol. 1.
The first part of the CD contains an “off line” recording of the complete December 7th show. This was recorded by someone right off of the television broadcast onto a reel-to-reel. The sound quality is very good mono, but also very compressed. This tape is valuable since it is the only document of the complete performance. The set list was similar to the set used on the other dates in the tour except that “You Really Got A Hold On Me” was dropped and “Roll Over Beethoven” was added. The tape begins at the beginning of “From Me To You” and the opening song segues directly into “I Saw Her Standing There.” Before the third song Paul says, “Good evening everybody. That was ‘From Me To You’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ And now we’d like to carry on with a song which is a new one from the new LP which we released this week.” George introduces the next song by saying, “we’d like to continue with another track off our new LP. I think a lot of you know this one because we’ve been doing it for twenty-eight years.”
“Boys” is introduced by Lennon as a song “which features our drummer Ringo.” The microphone on Ringo’s vocal isn’t working and the song is pretty much played as an instrumental. Lennon introduces the next song also by saying, “The next song is definitely off of the new album but many of you probably remember this from The Cavern as well. It’s a song from the musical The Music Man sung by Peggie Lee called ‘Till There Was You.'” This is the first real quiet song in the show and the girls are a bit more quiet for these minutes, but at the count-in for “She Loves You” there is another deafening roar. “We’d like to do now the B-side of our latest single…we hope you’ll like it. It’s called ‘This Boy'” is the introduction for the following song. This song is a stupid little nostalgic trip back to the fifties, only three years before and sounds terribly out of place with the rest of the tunes which were, for the early sixties, revolutionary.
The show picks up again with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and afterwards Paul says, “We really came to the end of our little get together…” “SHUT UP!!” Lennon shouts in seeming frustration at all the screaming. “We’d like to say a sincere thank you to everybody” Paul continues and encourages the audience to clap their hand and stamp their feet as loud as they can. It’s an extraordinary moment which gives mixed signals to the screaming girls in the audience. “Money” segues seamlessly into “Twist & Shout.” The set ends with The Beatles playing an instrumental version of “From Me To You” lasting thirty seconds before it fades out. Misterclaudel supplement this with the audio from the video soundtrack which consists of the final three songs of the set. There are drop outs in “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Money,” and “Twist And Shout.” The closing “From Me To You” instrumental is a minute longer than the first source but has some speed problems at the very beginning. The sections that are uneffected sound very clear and enjoyable.
The four song set from the Royal Variety Presentation is one of their most famous live performances. They were seventh on a bill of nineteen acts but were the star of the show. The tape is a very good to excellent mono recording and it begins with “From Me To You.” Afterwards a very nervous sounding McCartney says, “That was a song called ‘From Me To You.’ Good evening, how are you? Alright. We’d like to carry on with a new song…’She Loves You.'” They play their latest hit and again Paul, sounding very nervous, says, “The next song we’d like to sing now is one which is a bit slower. This is from the show The Music Man, and it’s also been recorded by our favorite American group…Sophie Tucker.” Lennon introduces the final song of their set by saying, “For our last number I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry.” It is met with laughter from the audience even as he mugs for the camera.
The DVD collects all of the fragments from both of these appearances. The opening screen gives the viewer a choice of either “It’s The Beatles” or “Royal Variety Performance.” The first part of the Liverpool footage are the B-rolls from the BBC tape with time counter at the bottom of the screen. The rolls are dominated by crowd reaction shots and alternate angels of the band playing on stage. The “Silent Sea” version is from an alternate source and is in fair to good quality. And the third version of the show is the BBC-TV Master ‘Beat DVD 10’ edited and remastered audio/video. The time counter is again at the bottom of the screen but the picture quality is better than version two.
The bonus tracks collect small fragments from various sources. The first are 8mm home movies of the event in surprisingly watchable quality. The best quality footage comes from the MSNBC Time Again broadcast. The picture quality very sharp and clear and makes one wish the entire show was present in this quality. The Cinesound ‘Beatles at the Stadium’ and the mid eighties broadcast are in fair to good quality, and the final bonus track on this part of the DVD contains newsreel footage from Germany. It is a short documentary narrated in German focusing upon the phenomena of Beatlemania and has many shots of German girls crying for the band. It also contains brief glimpses of the Liverpool show that are not present in any other source.
The Royal Variety Presentation half of the DVD contains three versions of the broadcast and some bonus footage. The first version is a three song edit from the Anthologyin excellent quality. The second version is a raw edit with time code in the upper part of the screen. The picture has more scratches and is a bit fuzzier. The third version is the second version cleaned up and remastered and looks very good and the bonus tracks are various fragments in mostly poor quality of the remaining sources for the broadcast. This is packaged in a fatboy jewel case to accommodate the insert and the miniature replica of the Liverpool program. It’s The Beatles & Royal Variety Performance is another nicely packaged comprehensive sets that Misterclaudel have been producing over the past year.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)