The Beatles – First US Concert (Medusa MD-021)


The Beatles “First US Concert” (Medusa MD-021)

Intro / Roll Over Beethoven / From Me To You / I Saw Her Standing There / This Boy / All My Loving / I Wanna Be Your Man / Please Please Me / Till There Was You / She Loves You / I Want To Hold Your Hand / Twist And Shout / Long Tall Sally / Concert Promo (39:35)

The Beatles foray in to the new millennium officially began 10 years too late for some, premiering their catalogue on Apple’s iTunes on the 16th of November, 2010 a good few years after a lot of other classic arts had eschewed pride over the fact that now everyone could download classic albums legally without monetary consequence to the artist.
The Beatles launch to the digital stratosphere come over a year after the other Apple had launched the Fabs catalogue as digitally renewed and refreshed physical CDs, the only gratuitous move being that the CDs were now affordable and brought back in line with the rest of the market, the remastered LPs would follow 2 years later and would be marked up sufficiently.
The Beatles had to have a reason to move their MP3s though despite the launch and, as with iTunes insistence on the fact that an exclusive was needed the often bootlegged (Possibly most notably Vigotone’s subsidiary Spank label release ‘’In case You Don’t Know ..” originally released in 1994) and presented, in part, on Anthology, the Washington Coliseum broadcast was given up to watch for free for the rest of the year (A good month and a half) or could be downloaded as part of the whole collection at a price that was actually more than the physical box that was in store for retail.

The show, the tour, their appearance, has been written about often and longingly so I won’t go in to so much detail here, I’ll keep this about the music. The Medusa label, curator of a good few upgraded Beatles concerts over the past few years as well as some of the Beatles multi tracks from the Rockband debacle, here they present the audio from that historic show, from the iTunes video. As to be expected from an official source, it’s a great recording, certainly reminiscent of the sound of American TV broadcasts at the time. A warm, fuzzyish sound in pure, unadulterated mono that’s like listening to your small black and white, bakelite TV set, albeit through your home stereo or surround TV system. The sound does blemish sometimes due to the overload of the speakers so it’s certainly not an audiophile release by any standards but it belies it’s vintage. There’s a happy pleasure in the waves of cheering that emirates from the girls of the crowd from time to time as they seem to half remember where they are or when a Beatle gets the sharp end of a jelly baby.

The band put on an invigorating set, maybe not Swedish radio 1963 good, but the energy is certainly there and good enough as an introduction Stateside. George is handed a faulty microphone for ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ so his singing is partially obscured for the first track but this is rectified a little later. “Twist And Shout” on the Spank CD is truncated at the 1:58 mark, so appears incomplete but here, from the station masters, it appears in full, also missing from that release is “Long Tall Sally”, a loopy, breathless and screamingly exciting kibosh through this Little Richard number.

The disk is topped off with a period radio ad for the concert itself. It sounds a couple of shades above rubbish but is great to have to top things off. Had it of been placed before the show as track one, you’d have been horrified as what was to come, that it comes at the end, it’s a blessed relief.

A wonderful if brief little release that comes suitably packaged – The cover art is fantastic and beats any official release that the Beatles Apple could come up with, discarding of any high ended, treading the boards, lines notes, leaving us with just what we need – to own the piece complete on video so far, you’d have to commit to buying the full set of Beatles studio albums (again) and enjoy it on your computer or through your Apple TV., Medusa have done the right thing in stripping it back to it’s raw components and releasing it as a lovely, clean silver disk. A better bet than a lot of the lousy audience tapes that are creeping out as of late but shorter than your average CD, it’s a very good addition to your collection.

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  1. With this cd complementing the unbranded MC single DVD presenting the master video of this concert, February 11, 1964 is now beautifully documented for collectors on silver pressed discs. I never thought it would take a full 20 years from Spanks “In Case You Don’t Know”, but” better late than never” as they say.


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