The Beatles 50th at the Bowl!
Friday, August 22, 2014
Ringmaster: Dave Stewart
Special guests: Billy Ray Cyrus, Vanessa Amorosi, Mary Lambert, Allen Stone, Liv Warfield, Bob Eubanks
Songs performed: Twist and Shout, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, if I Fell, Help!, All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven, A Hard Day’s Night, Long Tall Sally, Here Comes the Sun, Come Together, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends, Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird, Don’t Let Me Down, Yesterday, Hey Jude, Let It Be, All You Need is Love
Comments: Beatlemania was back in full force this past weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame was the ringmaster of a series of 3 shows celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Beatles performance at the venue back in 1964. The evening started with Dave coming out and playing an instrumental version of the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. He was followed by local DJs, Bob Eubanks and Dave Hull, who were instrumental in booking the group for their first Los Angeles concert. They shared stories about the group… from wanting to meet Hollywood celebs, to how long it took to sell out the show (3.5 hours).
The first half of the show was the original set list from the 1964 show. It consisted of Beatles originals mixed in with blues/rock cover songs. Dave’s sons Django and Sam, along with 3 other band members made up the group for this segment. Django and Sam are his sons with Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama fame (who once covered the Beatles’ “Help!”). Billy Ray Cyrus sang 2 songs; he was a little shaky on the 2nd one.
The second half of the show showcased why they became the superstars that they are. It is amazing that they had 34 Top Ten singles in the 7 years they were charting in the US. And that we are still talking about the Beatles 50 years later. For me, their strength lies in their songwriting, not in their vocals. We got such favorites as “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Come Together” (sung by the great Liv Warfield), “Eleanor Rigby” (sung by 14 year old Kaya Stewart), “Yesterday” (sung by Allen Stone) and “Hey Jude” (sung by Billy Ray Cyrus). The last one had the crowd waving their cell phones in the air.
The night ended with “All You Need is Love” with all the artists on stage. “Let It Be” would have been a better choice in my opinion. I also would have liked to have heard “The Long and Winding Road”. The best vocalists for the night were Vanessa Amorosi and Liv Warfield. Vanessa did about 4 songs, and Live only did one — she should have done more.
I am a little surprised they weren’t able to lure more big stars for the night… but the reality is big stars are probably on their own tours in the summer. I was hoping for an Annie Lennox appearance since she was in the Eurythmics with Dave. And I thought maybe Miley Cyrus would show up since she sang “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on her recent tour. But, neither showed up. Michelle Branch and Martina McBride did get added to the other weekend shows.
The lighting and stage projections for the night were excellent… they really made use of the ring around the Bowl. I also enjoyed hearing Dave’s story about being on vacation with Paul and Linda McCartney and being very stoned. I was surprised to hear that Dave worked with all Beatles except John over the years.
So while I have never been a big Beatles fanatic, I do appreciate their artistry. I love the movie “Across the Universe” featuring their music, and have the soundtrack for the movie dud “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” too. I should probably get some more of their music!
Love Live the Beatles and their music! They created some pop masterpieces that will be thrilling audiences for generations.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.