The Beatles “Let It Be – Japanese Broadcast Edition” (No label DVD)
Programme intro / Let It Be intro / CM /
Twickenham Film Studio – Opening / Adagio For Strings / Don’t Let Me Down / Conversation / Maxwell’s Silver Hammer / Conversation / Two Of Us / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / Oh! Darling / Conversation / One After 909 / Piano Jam / Two Of Us / Conversation / Across The Universe / Dig A Pony / Suzy’s Parlour / I Me Mine
Apple Studio – For You Blue / Conversation / Besame Mucho / Octopus’s Garden / You Really Got A Hold On Me / The Long And Winding Road / Shake Rattle And Roll / CM (Intermission) / Kansas City – Miss. Ann – Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Dig it / Conversation / Two Of Us / Let It Be / The Long And Winding Road
Rooftop – Rooftop Intro / Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down / I’ve Got A Feeling / One After 909 / Dig A Pony / Get Back / End Credit
CM / End Credit / CM / End Credit feat. Let It Be intro. (Approx 89 mins)
While Apple and the Beatles and their estates continue to put the kibosh on the release of “Let It Be”, the bootlegs will continue to look for ways to release it. One of the latest issues was this no label release of the 1984 Japanese broadcast, presumably in a Sony sponsored slot on TV.
The transfer presumably comes from a recording straight from the broadcast on the day as there are multiple references to the electronics brand with the advertisements that book-end the main performance. It’s not a bad edition considering it’s now 30 year old source – hardly Anthology styled quality obviously – but still very clear, the sound track is good and clear with a little bit of surface air between from a well played video cassette. It is cropped at the sides, not a widescreen presentation but not cropped so severely as to be spirited away but with a couple of inches spare on the sides of the screen and subtitled in Japanese, not a problem generally unless you’re opposed that strongly to subtitles.
Theres hardly a need to tell the story of “Let It Be” again but my personal observations and thoughts have always been that it’s not as doom and gloom as the Fabs always suggested it seemed. Especially not from this side of the TV set. Yes, we know that the band were by then going their separate ways, they may not always look as if they were chipper but one year previous the ‘White Album’ was suggesting that something was a foot and generally there are darker scenes there than there are in the Apple studios here. They always seemed to be happy playing their rock and roll as they had all grown up on. Electric shocks, rehearsing the same songs over and over and petty squabbles not withstanding, the fabs were still having a good time, most of the time.
Putting the Beatles in to their ‘home’ studio and adding Billy Preston lightens the load too as the second half of the film actually shows the Beatles laughing and joking around.
By the time we get to the 3rd segment or the rooftop show, then there can’t be much that weighs the heart down as the Beatles crash the sound of their instruments out across the skyline of London. Watching the reactions of the public on the streets below is humbling and aggravating at the same time – who wouldn’t want to say that they were shuffling paperwork that morning only to hear a familiar noise through the office windows, opening the sashes and realising that the worlds most famous were playing you a free concert of their unrealised album, live on the rooftop. Dashed if you were working from home on that day.
This DVD could almost be granted the same kind of elevation at it’s content. As we move on to the programmes 30th anniversary and the concerts 45th year it’s nice to see how things have changed both in rock and through electrical aspects. As noted, the commercials that sandwich the presentation are for the Sony corporations range of products – audio cassettes, beta max video recorders – suggesting the best in stereo reproduction – Willy Nelson advertising the latest in CD technology. They’re charming to watch and show vividly how much things have changed in these years.
The DVD is packaged simply in a regular plastic DVD jewel case with a general cover and sparse notes on the actual film (Not a problem – it really needs no introduction). Having not seen some of the other blu-ray productions that are also on offer, I might still suggest that this DVD might be the way to go for your “Let It Be” needs.