Category Archives: Reviews

Paul McCartney Live in London – 2 Beatles and a Rolling Stone!

Wow! What a concert! Last night Paul McCartney played at the O2 in London, and was joined onstage by Ringo Starr and Ronnie Wood!!

Paul played in London for the first time in 4 years. In that time, his voice has deteriorated somewhat – but he still puts on an amazing show. For the first time, we took our daughter, Lilia, who has never seen a Beatle live before. Now she has seen 2 for the price of 1!

Our seats weren’t as good as previous shows here, but at least we were inside, many people were left disappointed as the concert sold out within minutes of going onsale.

Paul calls the tour ‘Freshen Up’ – and to some extent his show has been freshened up, but is largely similar to his previous tour. You can’t really expect more from a 76 year old – and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Paul got people on their feet right from the start but opening with A Hard Day’s Night. There was a huge cheer when Paul got onstage. As usual, Paul’s band was fabulous. They have been together now for around 16 years – Paul’s longest lasting band by far, including the Beatles.

In all, the Paul sang 40 songs and the gig lasted for 3 hours – and the quality was fabulous from start to finish. Paul’s shows are always very well put together, and this was no different. He started out on his famous Hoffner Violin Bass, before switching to lead guitar and then piano.

I’ve seen Paul live well over 30 times, and enjoyed them all, but this gig I enjoyed more than most as we were taking our 11 year old Daughter, Lilia, to her first gig by a Beatle. She really loved it and it was wonderful to see her enthusiasm.

The main set was brilliant, peppered with Beatles classics, but also songs from Egypt Station, which sounded great, even up against their more famous companions.

As usual, Paul ended the first part of the gig with an explosive Live and Let Die, and of course Hey Jude. It’s always great singing along with 20,000 other fans on the Na Na Na bits. After Hey Jude, many people around me decided to leave. Boy, did they miss a great encore! It started with Wonderful Christmas Time, with backing from the Capital Children’s Choir – with fake snow coming down on the audience. As the choir went off stage one way, an extra drum kit was wheeled in from the other. Paul then announced there would be a surprise, which even he didn’t know about until earlier that day. He then introduced Ronnie Wood onstage – and then Ringo!! Not surprisingly the roof raised at this point. They launched into a brilliant version of Get Back, with Ringo on drums and Ronnie on lead guitar. As Paul said himself, how do you top that? Well, he might not have topped it, but Paul then did a blistering performance of Helter Skelter, and finished with Golden Slumber, Carry That Weight, and The End. What a gig!

After the show though, our enjoyment of the evening was nearly ended by absolute chaos on London Underground, as trains stopped running just minutes after the concert ended, stranding more than 5000 people. Luckily, we got on one of the last trains, but it was absolutely packed. We managed to get home safely though, and I’ve still got a big grin on my face, remembering such a great night.

Here are some reviews of the show


Paul Live at the Cavern Club – Part 2

In the second part of his great review – James Ward continues the story of Paul McCartney’s ‘secret gig’ at the Cavern Club.

Something I didn’t mention in part one of my review was when Paul stopped the gig very early in the set (during Twenty Flight Rock, if I remember rightly…) to comment on the fact a few people had took their phones out of their pockets and started taking photos and filming the show. I think he was completely in the right to do so. There were posters outside and inside The Cavern with ‘NO PHONES’ emblazoned on them and going into the venue we were told numerous times by staff and security that we weren’t to take any photos or videos of the gig. We also knew that the whole thing (like the Abbey Road gig the week before) was going to be professionally filmed, so weʼll be able to watch it all back at some point and itʼll be a lot better quality than through a mobile phone camera. I thought to myself ‘fair enough!’, we’re all massively lucky enough to be inside of The Cavern watching history being made, FOR FREE, so the last thing we all could do is play by the rules. And that’s exactly what Paul pointed out. He didn’t shout or scream, he just reminded people to play by the rules because it was putting him off. A cheer ensued, and we were back rocking again!

The first of Paul’s new Egypt Station tracks was next on the setlist in the form of ‘Come On To Me’, it seems like it’s been in the set for years even though it’s only just been released! Everybody was singing along to it as if it was a Beatles hit from the ’60s! I hope that’s a good sign for the commercial success of the upcoming album.

They stayed with the rocking theme after that too, belting out the groovy Wings tune ‘Let Me Roll It’ and Beatles ‘Let It Beʼ era song ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, with Paul taking on lead guitar duties for parts of both tracks. So, that was a crazy opening to any gig, nine absolute rockers, and apparently the temperature was above 40C down there in that legendary little room, sweltering but amazing! Paul noted the fact it was extremely hot and jokingly said ‘everybody warm enough?ʼ I puffed my cheeks out as if to say ‘not half!ʼ and he caught sight of me doing it and puffed his cheeks out too to agree! My claim to fame? Just after that somebody shouted ‘are you getting the drinks in for everybody, Paul?ʼ Paul laughed and told security to ‘have that man removedʼ – everybody was having such a great time, the banter was fantastic throughout, so down to earth!

Paul took to the piano after that opening barrage of rock and roll to play the delicate and thoughtful recent song ‘My Valentine’ which he dedicated to his wife, Nancy. The pace was quickly up again though as Paul stayed at the piano to bomb through Wings hit ‘1985’ and Beatles classic ‘Lady Madonna’, which drew a massive cheer from the audience. After that, we were treated to the first song Paul ever recorded as part of The Quarrymen in 1958, ‘In Spite Of All The Danger’. He told a funny story before playing it saying that it was a great novelty for them as young, budding musicians to have an acetate disc with their recording on it. It cost them 17 shillings and sixpence to make! He said everyone in the band agreed to keep it for one week before passing it on to the next. ‘I had it for a week, John had it for a week, George had it for a week, Colin had it for a week then John Lowe kept it for twenty odd years!’ That drew hearty laughter from the audience who were hanging on his every word!

Another couple of Beatles hits followed in the little acoustic set, ‘Things We Said Today’ and ‘Love Me Do’, with Paul telling the story of how George Martin had asked him to sing the ‘love me do’ line instead of John (because John was on harmonica duties) and how nervous he was about it! He said jokingly ‘listen to that original recording and listen to my voice waivering with nerves!’ Next up was another brand new unheard
song from Egypt Station, ‘Confidante’ which he says is about a neglected acoustic guitar which he really ought to be playing. There was some great banter with the crowd throughout the whole gig but before this tune Paul said about how his acoustic guitar was his confidante and friend in the early days and how he’d never put it down, to which someone exclaimed ‘your only friend?!’ which even drew big laughs from Paul and his band. ‘Does anybody have a birthday in the audience?’ Paul exclaimed before the next tune, unfortunately I don’t think anybody actually did! It was only an audience of about 200 though, so I suppose it was a bit of a long shot. ‘Any birthdays SOON?’ he went on to say, people shouting random days back at him, ‘well, this one is for you then!’ ‘Birthday’, The Beatles 1968 rocker from ‘The White Album’ was next, started by the fantastic drummer Abe Laboriel, Jnr copying the legendary fills of Sir Ringo Starr, followed by third new song WHO CARES. ‘Who Cares’ is a straight up rocker, Rusty starting off the song with some distorted sounds coming from his amplifier before the band launch into a chuggy ‘Junior’s Farm’-esque foot tapper which takes on the subject of bullying, ‘who cares what the idiots say? who cares about you… I do!’ I seriously can’t wait to hear the recorded version to see what Greg Kurstin and Paul have came up with! The last new song to be introduced into the set was FUH YOU, which was a tongue in cheek number playing around with the pronounciation of fuh and you… if you get what I mean. It seemed to me to have a slight hip hop feel to it in the chorus, with a repeated bass line and falsetto vocals, it was catchy enough but I think this was the weakest of the four new songs from Egypt Station, which isn’t a bad thing, I just thought the other three tracks were a lot stronger and this track seemed to
rely heavily on the play on words. The audience were delighted though with a final barrage of McCartney penned hits from through the years. A mass singalong of two Beatles hits ‘Get Back’ led into ‘Ob-la-di Obla-da’ and they had everybody bouncing and two Wings hits finished off the main part of the set in the form of ‘Band On The Run’, and ‘Hi, Hi, Hi’. Thereʼs always such a big cheer when the acoustic guitar starts the third part of Band On The Run, ‘well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash!ʼ Paul looked visibly nostalgic as he launched into ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘one, two, three, FOUR’ just like on the record, almost sixty years ago. The Beatles would’ve been playing this fresh track in 1963 to people as they danced and sung along, just like in 2018. A phenonemon like this will not be seen again. What an incredible feat. People both young and old yelled and shouted every word of every song (barring the super duper brand new ones) back to him for over two hours- sometimes even during the brand new songs when theyʼd picked up the chorus! The band made their way off the stage to rapturous applause, it seemed as if the crowd had just been screaming all the way through the gig and clapping and dancing. We
all clapped and shouted for ‘MORE’ and they bounded back onto the stage to launch into the timeless ‘Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’ and segueing almost seamlessly into an absolutely stomping version of ‘Helter Skelter’, an absolutely massive helping of heavy rock and roll, it certainly produced a lot of headbanging and people donning their air guitars, hollering the lyrics right back at the band, devil horns aloft in the air!

After the gig had finished and Paul had told us that he’d see us next time, we all made our way back up the steps to street level to let The Cavern Club go about it’s normal business (like that was ever going to happen soon?). There were a lot of journalists waiting for the first fans to leave to pounce and ask them what they thought about the gig. I saw Matt Everitt from BBC Radio 6 Music (amongst others), and I was interviewed by a girl from the Press Association. I’ve watched the video back quite a few times now and I still look as starstruck as I was then and that was a week ago! I rambled for about a minute about how amazing everything was, whilst still a bit dazed from what had happened, but it was great to be in the thick of it all! After I’d taken in a bit more of the melee that was Mathew Street (seriously, there were many hundreds if not thousands of people milling about all over just trying to catch a glimpse of Paul!) I went back around the corner to see if I could see Paul driving back out again in his car. We all waited there for about one hour or so, but security told us after that that Paul had exited the opposite way to which he had arrived. I donʼt blame him really, it wouldʼve been a nightmare for him driving through so many people! It was a truly fantastic day and I couldnʼt have asked for it to go any better I donʼt think? Lady Luck was definitely on my side

Wonderful Macca at the Cavern memories by James Ward.

In the first part of a series – James Ward tells of how he saw Paul McCartney’s amazing concert at the Cavern Club

I listened to Paul being interviewed by Jarvis Cocker at LIPA on the Wednesday afternoon, Paul had pretty much signed off by saying he’d be doing a ‘secret gig’ in Liverpool the following day. I had an immediate mixture of excitement and dread. What if I got in? What if I didn’t? Well, there was only one way to find out, and luckily I had a day off work on the Thursday. I live in County Durham around three and a half hours from Liverpool. I decided to wake up, get out of bed (I didn’t drag a comb across my head though) at 0400 and get straight on the road! I’ve had Wingspan CD 1 on in the car now for as long as I can remember, so I belted out Wings classic hit after classic hit all the way down to my destination. I found a car park near the Adelphi Hotel just before 0730, I paid the fee and started sprinting down towards The Cavern, which was about half a mile or so away. As I reached Mathew Street, I noticed a lot of people milling about for that time in the morning and I immediately joined the queue outside The Cavern Club. I’d say there were around 50 people in the queue then, maybe a little more. I noticed straight away that there were German accents, French accents and American accents amongst the clearly excited throng of people, all singing Beatles songs or exchanging stories about past Paul concerts etc. I wondered to myself if they’d travelled overnight because they didn’t have much notice! Proper fans! A man from the Liverpool Echo approached me after I’d been in the queue for a few minutes and asked where I’d came from, and at what time. I told him and he said he’d like to take my photograph because I was wearing a MCCARTNEY t-shirt and it would be great for his website. I was apprehensive because I didn’t want to lose my place in the queue but everybody assured me they’d let me back in, so I obliged. Not long after that, a representative for The Cavern Club came outside and said something to the people nearer the front of the queue, I couldn’t quite make it out. What he’d said was that the tickets weren’t going to be available from The Cavern and we’d have to make our way down to the Echo Arena on the docks if we wanted to try and get tickets. That prompted a scene straight from 60’s Beatlemania. Everybody in the queue started sprinting in the general direction of the docks. Some people hailed taxis, some people frantically started doing Google Maps searches on their phones and some people (me included) just decided to keep sprinting. It’s a good job I’m quite a seasoned runner because that came in really, really handy. It’s about a mile or so from The Cavern to the Echo Arena and I must’ve beaten my personal best over that distance! I reached the arena sweaty, short of breath but ultimately triumphant. I was handed a pre-ticket ticket and I was let inside the arena after I produced my photo ID for security checks. Then I realised, I was actually inside the arena. I’d done it! All that previous sense of dread evaporated into thin air and it became 100% excitement, I could not believe my luck! Only about 100 people were let inside the arena, and then security made everybody else wait outside. Hundreds of people outside. And that crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger because Paul had announced the gig on his social media networks then. We must’ve been given a slight heads up by the wonderful man at The Cavern Club. We had to wait until 1000 for the official on-sale time for the tickets (not strictly on ‘on-sale’ time because they were free, but you catch my drift) then we were very carefully placed into five rows at the box office and given a personalised ticket with our name on it, and an Egypt Station wristband. You could not enter the gig without both ticket and wristband together with photo ID confirming your name on the ticket. This was brilliant, because I have no idea how much touts could’ve asked for for those tickets. I made it outside into the blazing sunshine, still a little dazed from the chain of events, but I was so happy! I didn’t honestly think I would be lucky enough! Upon leaving the arena I bumped into popular band Blossoms who’d tried for tickets and failed and they all wished me the best and that I would enjoy the concert! I rang my Dad and my partner telling them of the fab news and then thought ‘right, well I may as well just go straight up and queue at The Cavern again!’ This turned out to be another lucky idea because when I joined the queue that was only 19 people long at that time, we were told by officials that because we were within the first people to queue, we’d all recieve a hand stamp and that would ensure that whatever happened we’d be the first people to enter The Cavern guaranteeing us an amazing spot at the front for the gig. I could not believe my luck again. Could this day get any better? Well, yes, because I hadn’t seen the gig yet! After we’d been given our hand stamps (which was a number written in sharpie pen and signed by staff) we could go and wait around the corner to see Paul arriving. Lo and behold, just as we’d walked around the corner, there he was! Nonchalantly driving himself to the gig, thumbs up out of the driver’s side window, as only Paul could to a gig of this magnitude! We all cheered and waved and he drove down the back street and hopped out the car and was whisked into the legendary venue! I grabbed some water and made my way back to the queue, this was it! Interviwers from all different newspapers and radio/TV programmes were milling about asking excited fans about their thoughts. Then the time came. We (the first lucky few) were escorted into the venue, security checks done, reminded that we were to switch our phones off (there were numerous signs telling us to switch them off too) and down the stairs we went! I caught a glimpse of Chris Sharrock (ex-Robbie Williams/Beady Eye/current Noel Gallagher drummer), Jamie Carragher and Giles Martin who needs no introduction. We quickly made our way into the Live Lounge (where Paul had played last in 1999) and took our places at the front, I was front and centre right in line with Paul’s microphone! I thought back to getting out of bed at 0400, and I shook my head in disbelief! What a fantastic day so far! The souvenir tickets we exchanged our original tickets for stated that the concert would start at 1400, and at only a few minutes after 2pm, on walks a very relaxed and smiling band led out by Paul! The whole place went absolutely crazy! For only about 200 lucky fans the noise sounded like a football stadium! ‘Liverpool! Cavern!’ Paul exclaimed into the mic, ‘two words that go very well together!’ They launched into a bluesy jam to start with to get the sound levels right and to ease themselves into the gig. But after that it was the song Paul impressed John with over 60 years ago, ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ that had everybody dancing and bopping, straight into a rocking ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ with Paul in very good voice and then the whole crowd was jumping together for a raucous ‘Jet’! I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, I could see the whites of the great man’s eyes, I could see what shoes he was wearing, he was at arms length away, a complete dream come true! ‘All My Loving’ was next and I could study his right hand as it sped around the fretboard as he sung, simply incredible moments! He told the crowd about how The Beatles would be told off for playing rock ‘n’ roll in the Cavern in the early days as it was a blues club. He launched into ‘Letting Go’ after this and it was one of my highlights of the night. The band were so tight and rocking with Rusty and Brian trading tasty licks, the band smiled at each other and rightly so (quite a few times throughout the gig) because they knew they were smoking hot. More to come… 🙂

James Ward outside the Cavern Club
Paul McCartney at the Cavern Club

My Generation DVD review

The legend that is Sir Michael Caine takes us for a quick spin around the Swinging Sixties – a decade that totally revolutionised London and indeed Britain – to look at the birth of pop culture.

Narrated by the great Cockney himself, My Generation takes us on a whistlestop tour of the decade which heralded some seismic cultural changes including the introduction of the mini skirt, the contraceptive pill, and the opportunity for working class talents to gatecrash the realms of the well to do whether in the film world, music or even photography.

The film is beautifully illustrated by director David Batty with some wonderful archive footage, while the soothing drawl of Sir Michael punctuates the old film, fused with plenty of archive footage of a much younger Caine discussing similar topics.

Contributions are also made by many of the great and the good of that time including Sir Paul McCartney, Twiggy, David Bailey and so on, though unfortunately most of it consists of voiceover rather than on camera.

For more click here

As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor review – a poignant insight into the Beatles

In April 1968, Derek Taylor and Paul McCartney were in New York discussing how a new McCartney song, Thingumybob, would be best served played by a brass band. “The best band in the land,” said Paul. So it was that both were in Saltaire, Yorkshire, at 10am the following Sunday – “a fine northern time of day for a brass band” – recording the song with the Black Dyke Mills Band. On the way back to London that night, the pair stopped at a pub in the village of Harrold, Bedfordshire, where McCartney sat at the pub piano to play a new song he’d written called Hey Jude. “There was never a long wait,” says Taylor, “between the musical will and the recorded deed.”

First published in 1972, now with an excellent introductory essay by Jon Savage, Derek Taylor’s As Time Goes By was the first, and remains the sharpest, memoir written by one of the Beatles’ inner circle. Taylor had been press officer for the Beatles for less than a year in 1964, but that was when the role had mattered most, at the height of Beatlemania.

For more click here

Django Bates: Saluting Sgt Pepper review

Django Bates doesn’t play other people’s music often, but when he does, resemblances to the originals can be opaque. The unruly fiftysomething jazz composer has battered New York, New York into a free-jazz thrash, for instance, and interpreted Billie Holiday’s classic Solitude on a pub piano with two spoons and a bunch of keys hanging under the lid. But remaking the quixotic 1967 Beatles classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has turned him almost respectful, to judge by his Saluting Sgt Pepper album, and the first of 12 shows he and a crack German band are performing at Ronnie Scott’s this week.

For the full review see

At Ronnie Scott’s, London, until 9 September. Box office: 020-7439 0747.

Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Four – British Music Experience and a Concert at the Pier Head

Day four for us opened with a visit to the British Music Experience. We went to this while it was at the O2 in London, and I was sad when it closed there, so it was great to visit it at it’s new home at the Cunard Building in Liverpool. We especially had great fun in the music room, with me playing drums, and Lilia guitar. If you go to Liverpool, it’s well worth a visit.

Blogger Richard Porter playing drums at the British Music Experience

We then went to the Pier Head, where Cavern City Tours has a great outdoor stage, right in front of the Liver Building. There we saw the great Nube 9, Rocks Off, a great Stones tribute band, and Back From the USSR, featuring the wonderful singer, Alyona Yarushina. Her version of Here There and Everywhere is the best I’ve ever heard (and that includes the Beatles!)

Blogger Richard Porter and daughter, Lilia, with Alyona

The weather at the Pier Head as very warm and sunny, very unusual for an August Bank Holiday in Liverpool!

It was then time to say goodbye to all our friends, and catch the train back to London. But we will see you all again next year!


Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Three, Remembering Brian Epstein, and the Adelphi Convention

A Visit to the Grave of Brian Epstein

On our day three of Beatleweek, we visited the grave of Brian Epstein, on the 50th anniversary of his passing. Normally, the cemetery isn’t open to the public, but special permission was given by the guardians of it to visit on this day.

Brian is buried in the small Long Lane Jewish cemetery, near Everton and Liverpool football grounds. It is next to the bigger Everton cemetery. It was very moving seeing his grave on the anniversary of his passing. If it wasn’t for Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn’t have got out of Liverpool, let alone become become the group that attracted thousands of people from all over the world to Beatleweek.

As is the Jewish custom, we places stones on Brian’s grave, to show that we visited.

The grave of Brian Epstein

Close to Brian are the graves of his mother and father, Queenie and Harry, and also his brother, Clive.

The grave of Clive Epstein
The graves of Harry and Queenie Epstein

The guardian of the cemetery told us that it had been vandalised recently. It’s very sad anti-semitism is still rife in 2017.

The Beatles Convention

After the visit to Brian’s grave, we went straight to the Adelphi Hotel for the annual Beatles convention. I have been going pretty much every year since 1981, but there was much speculation that this year would be the last Beatleweek, and much attention was given to an interview with Bill Heckle of Cavern City Tours, the main organiser. He told us that numbers at Beatleweek had been going down, and the work to put it on, in relation to the profits received, made it difficult for it to continue. Also Bill had been organising it for over 30 years, and it was time for him to step down. Originally, the plan was that his year’s Beatleweek was to be the last, but it was then decided to carry on, with a reduced format. From now on, the official events would run from Friday to Monday, rather than the Thursday to Tuesday of previous years. Also, there would be only 2 theatre shows, rather than the 3 at present. There was much relief in the packed hall when the announcement was made. I, for my part, would find it hard to conceive of an August Bank Holiday without a trip to Liverpool for Beatleweek.

Among the guest speakers were Ken Scott and Geoff Baker. Both were interviewed by Mark Lewisohn, but rather than have it as a long interview, each was broken up by the house band playing songs mentioned in the interviews. Well, that was the plan, but Geoff Baker ruined the plan by getting things completely out of the agreed order. He was very entertaining though, especially in his stories about Paul McCartney playing in Red Square, Moscow. Geoff said that as President Putin was due to make an appearance, there was very heavy security for the gig, with armed secret service men on roofs all away around Red Square. During the soundcheck, Geoff walked towards the stage when Paul’s main security man, Mark Hamilton said ‘You’ve had it now!’ Geoff looked down at himself, to see he had loads of red dots all over his body. The secret service men all had their guns pointing at him! Luckily, no-one opened fire!

During the convention, we took time off to join a gathering to remember our old friend Pete Leckie, who had been coming to Beatleweek for decades, but had sadly passed away a few weeks ago.

It was great to see so many old friends at the convention, and great to know it will continue next year.



Reflections on Liverpool Beatleweek Part Two- St Peter’s, Quarrymen, and the Summer of Love!

Saturday of Beatleweek saw, for me, the highlight of the weekend, a recreation of St Peter’s Church Fete, where, on July 6th 1957, John Lennon first met Paul McCartney.

The former church grounds are now part of a school, who kindly allowed their grounds to be used for the fete. On entering, we were all given a programme for the 2017 fete, and as a nice touch, a reproduction of the 1957 programme.

The undoubted highlight of the fete was the performance of the Quarrymen, 60 years after their historic first appearance here. Rod Davis, Len Garry, and Colin Hanton all played on that historic day. The rest of the band had historic associations with the Fabs too – Nigel Walley, now on tea chest bass, was the Quarrymen’s first drummer; John ‘Duff’ Lowe played with the band on their first professional recordings; and Chas Newby played a few gig with the Beatles in late 1960-early 1961, including at Litherland Town Hall, where many have said ‘Beatlemania’ began.

Just before the Quarrymen came onstage, the rather strange inflatable stage collapsed, much to the amusement of the crowd. After an attempt to put it back up, it was abandoned and the Quarrymen played without a cover over them. Luckily, it was a very nice sunny day, and it didn’t matter.

The Quarrymen gave a great performance, playing many of the songs they played 60 years ago. They were joined onstage at one point by our good friends, Jane from Russia, and Rolando from Italy. Len Garry asked how many people in the crowd were from overseas, and about 90% of the people there put their hands up!

The Quarrymen at St Peter’s

After the Quarrymen, Nube 9 gave a blistering rock and roll set, that got us all dancing.

Lucrecia of Nube 9 rocking out at St Peters

We also took the opportunity to visit St Peter’s Church Hall, where John Lennon was first introduced to Paul McCartney. While we were there, a lone guitar player played and sang ’20 Flight Rock’ – the song that Paul McCartney played to John Lennon, which persuaded John that Paul should join the band. A magical moment.

Inside St Peter’s Church Hall

After a short rest  we went back to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for the evening’s entertainment, which was ‘The Summer of Love Concert’, featuring Hal Bruce and the Rockits, and the Psychedelic Love Orchestra. The evening began with the Love Orchestra playing the Magical Mystery Tour EP. Last year they played as the Brighton Beach Boys, playing Pet Sounds, but this year they turned their attention to the Beatles, and did a great job.

Hal Bruce and his band did a nice set of songs which were supposed to be from 1967, but he cheated a bit by doing some from 1968 and 1969 too. I don’t think anyone minded too much though, but he got a bit wearing when he kept on plugging his CDs, cruises etc. Not really in the spirit of the concert.

To finish, the Psychedelic Love Orchestra played the whole of Sgt Pepper, plus some other Beatles songs from 1967. I really love this band, and I hope they become a regular feature of Beatleweek.

Irina and Lilia with Hal Bruce at the Philharmonic


End of Part Two


Coming soon – Part 3, A visit to the grave of Brian Epstein; (not) the end of Beatleweek, remembering old friends, and the Adelphi convention.


More on ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’

The screening took place in a very nice screening room at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. Those present included the director, Alan G Parker, and the co- producer Reynold D’Silva ( who also owned Ringo’s old flat in Montagu Square) and archivist Keith Badman. The film is produced by  Alexa Morris.

Alan gave brief speech before the film, telling us how the idea first came to him when he met Keith Badman at the Liverpool Beatles Convention in 1982.

The film begins with a recollections from the Beatles 1966 tours, focusing on the controversy surrounding John’s ‘bigger than Jesus’ comments, and they they decided they wouldn’t tour any more. During this section. there was a fascinating interview with Brian Epstein, filmed in late 1966, talking about the Beatles future plans, and really dodging the question about future tours.

The film then goes into the making of Sgt Pepper itself, and how the songs came about. There was a nice section on Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, showing childhood photos of Julian Lennon together with Lucy O’Donnell, who was the inspiration behind Julian’s painting, that inspired John to write the song.

After talking about Sgt Pepper, the film covers the story of the Beatles meeting the Maharishi, and the death of Brian Epstein. I thought the section on Brian was done very well, and a very nice tribute.

Hunter Davies told a great story of how he went to Bangor with the Beatles to see the Maharishi. On the first night he took them to a Chinese restaurant, but realised he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. The Beatles didn’t carry money with them, and the waiters in the restaurant didn’t recognise the Beatles, and were getting aggressive, thinking they wouldn’t be paid. George Harrison saved the day by asking for a knife, and slit open his shoe. From the shoe, he pulled out a £20 note, which he kept there ‘In case of emergency’

Views on the Maharishi are very mixed among the interviewees. Some really like him, but author and journalist Ray Connelly called him a con man.

Although most of the people in the film were known to me, one highlight was the interview with Barbara O’Donnell, who was a secretary at NEMS and Apple, and worked with Ringo until 1982.

The film ends with the release of the ‘White Album’.

The film was highly enjoyable, with enough new material and stories to keep the interest of even the die-hard Beatles fan that has seen nearly everything (yes, including me!) New fans would find it fascinating too!

At present, there are plans for premieres in Liverpool and London, around June 1st. I will give full details here when known.

The film poster for ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’.