|Liverpool Productions Presents:
2018: Liverpool & London August 20-29, 2018
"2007 Magical History Tour Report"
We assembled at JFK airport to join the Magical History Tour on a trip to Hamburg, London and
Liverpool - all with endless Beatles connections! While waiting at JFK, we introduced ourselves and started to get to know
each other. Charles handed out our plane tickets and some goodies, and Danny came along as our tour guide. We made very good
time getting to London Heathrow - about 5 ½ hours. At Heathrow, we transferred to Hamburg, Germany, where we met Rene van
Harlem, our guide. By coach, we went to the Monopol Hotel directly on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. Before too long, we were
meeting in the lobby to take our first walking tour with Rene (no jet-lag sleep for this group)!
We saw the Top Ten Club where the boys were living and playing when George was deported for
being underage. Other sites were shops that the Beatles frequented for guitar strings, clothes or food as well as the hotel
where they stayed during their last gig at the Star Club. One of the best places was the doorway where the photo of John
(on his "Rock N Roll" album) was taken. Our tour lasted about 3 hours, but we could've gone on for another three. Mind you,
we hadn't had much time to sleep or eat until this tour was over. So we broke up into smaller groups to eat. Cindy, Pat,
Candy and I went to an Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel while others had authentic German food for
dinner. We had a table on the sidewalk and really enjoyed the atmospheres and the food.
Walking on the cobblestone streets and seeing the sites of the St. Pauli area was very interesting.
After dinner we headed across the wide Reeperbahn street to our hotel. On the sidewalk were tables and chairs set up for
people to sit and have drinks and food. We sat there till about 12:30am when we finally called it a night, or a night and a
day, as I realized I had been up for about 42 hours at this point. I really needed a shower and some sleep. Some of the
group (the crazy ones) somehow stayed up until 3 am!
We soon boarded a bus to continue our tour. We saw the school auditorium were the Beatles
recorded "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan. We all stood on the very stage where it was recorded and took MANY group
pictures. It still has the original organ, stage floor, walls, stained glass windows and storage room (where the
actual recording equipment was kept). All we needed was producer Bert Kaempfert.
On one of our longer coach rides between sites we played trivia and some people came up to the mic
to introduce themselves. We were so lucky to have the tribute band "Penny Lane" from New Orleans with us. Gary, who plays
drums, told us the history of the band. We also had Sydney Smith, famed rock photo-journalist, who was a photographer for Paul
McCartney when Paul was recording "Venus and Mars," and joined in the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans. He shared some
awesome pictures, some never seen before, and told us some neat stories. Roger, from LA, works on the set of the TV show
Boston Legal. Jim and Nicole also have a band, "The Yellow SubMorons" (Rutles music). Other new friends told stories about
close encounters with, or meeting the Beatles. Two from our group had been on the MMTour 9 times! Dave from Arizona and
Candy from TX. This was my 3rd time. Most everyone else was experiencing their first time on a Beatles tour.
On our second night there, we were treated to a wonderful evening at the Indra -- yes, the same venue where The Beatles played all those years
ago! Penny Lane played live, with special guest Tony Sheridan. Beatles bodyguard/friend/confidante Horst Fascher showed up as surprise guest of honor. Horst signed
autographs and told us many amazing stories about the days he was the Beatles' manager in Hamburg. A few of us also walked over to the Kaiserkeller and were allowed
to go downstairs and see the other infamous nightclub where the Beatles honed their playing skills. Penny Lane gave us a GREAT concert and many of us danced 'til we
Our last day in Hamburg was a rainy one. We had some free time before transferring to the airport, so some went shopping and some went on to see
really out-of-the-way sites, while the most tired among us just hung out at the hotel lobby until the coach came.
Outside the famous studios, Amanda was one of the members of our group who signed the Abbey Road wall.
We were very lucky that a platoon of military personnel (the Calvary) came by on their horses. What a neat site. We visited Richard's new
Beatles coffee shop, and then we passed the Richeau Restaurant that is a favorite of Paul's when he is in town. We passed Paul's house on Cavendish, the Apple
Building, and 34 Montagu where Ringo lived for a while (as did John and Yoko). The famous "Two Virgins" album cover was photographed in this flat. We visited
the Marylebone train station where "A Hard Day's Night" was filmed; we took a break and ate lunch here. Then off we were again on our tour. We saw the Odeon
Theater, now the Apollo Theater, where the Beatles performed the 1964 Christmas show. In the rear of the building is the fire escape where they were filmed
running down in "A Hard Day's Night." We saw Twickenham Studios where all the Beatles films were made, and the Turks Head (the pub that Ringo played darts in).
We went inside and were able to take pictures and have a pint if we wanted to.
From the "HELP!" film, we saw the street where they are each entering a different doorway only to walk into the same house. The most beautiful
spot we visited was Chiswick House, a park where the "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" promos were filmed. We stopped at Royal Albert Hall where Paul met Jane Asher.
Alas, we still don't know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. There were so many sites, too many to list.
The first-timers on the coach roared when we passed our first Liverpool sign on the highway. We checked into the famous Adelphi Hotel, where
The Beatles stayed when they returned to tow after they were famous. Our tour host #1, Danny, had remained in London to take care of business, and we were greeted
in Liverpool by our tour host Charles. After quick updates on the itinerary, most of us headed to Mathew Street.
Some of us stopped at the Lennon Pub to see Phil from the Pete Best Band, and then we checked to see if Allen Williams was at the Grapes
Pub (but he wasn't). A group of us had dinner at the Hogs Head, across from the soon-to-be completed Hard Day's Night Hotel. After dinner we went down to the
Cavern Club where a tribute band was playing Traveling Wilbury's music. They were pretty good. Across the street, we visited the Cavern Pub, where Penny Lane
played their first Liverpool set. They sounded awesome. It was a delight to jump from pub to pub, place to place, show to show, all included in our package.
We met fans from other countries and quickly made new friends.
The next morning was one nobody will ever forget. We had the honor of having our tour of Liverpool hosted by Julia Baird, John Lennon's
half sister. It was so cool, and such an honor, being in her company.
We loved hearing her stories as much as she enjoyed telling them. We stopped where the Oxford Maternity Hospital use to be, where John was
born, we saw the flat that Brian Epstein let John and Cynthia use after they were married and where John wrote "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." She pointed
out us Ye Crack Pub where the Beatles would hang out and the "Case History" display of cement luggage & instrument cases from many people, including the Beatles.
We passed Rosebery Street, where John's younger sisters Julia and Jackie heard John play for the first time outside of their home, with the Quarrymen.
It should be noted that Julia was accompanied by Jean Catharell of the Liverpool Scene. She is a professional guide, but more importantly,
a life-long fan like the rest of us. Many of us see Jean as not just a fellow fan, but a friend. We stopped at #9 Newcastle Rd, childhood home where John
lived till he was 5 ½ years old; Julia was 2 years 2 months. We visited Arnold Grove, one of George's homes, and St. Peters in Woolton where John and Paul meet
for the very first time. Our timing was perfect -- we were invited inside. We took a group picture on a platform inside the hall where they met, and we were able
to ask questions of Dave, who was the custodian there on the day that John & Paul met. He still works there to this day.
We stopped at Strawberry Fields for some classic pictures, and passed Brian Epstein's house where Paul's 21st birthday celebration
took place. We passed Quarry Bank School and the Dovedale School, and Admiral Grove where Ringo grew up. We saw other landmarks and agreed that this was
another day that could've gone on forever. We thanked Julia and Jean and returned to the hotel.
Even celebrities like Allan Williams, the Beatles' first manager, had a dealer table there. I purchased another Pete Best book and Allan
Williams' book and poster. I found myself sitting at the Pete Best table with Teri and the Best family members. It's really like one big family in Liverpool.
It also kept me from wandering around and spending too much money. Again, I know myself; I need to stay away from the temptation of wanting to have everything
there is out there.
We had the privilege of going on the tours of John and Paul's childhood homes. What a highlight -- getting INSIDE John's Mendips home and his
bedroom, and then Sir Paul's childhood home (and bedroom). It doesn't get much better than this.
We saw venues they The Beatles played in, places where they lived and went to schools. The highlight of this tour was the visit to the Casbah
Club - the home of the Pete Best family, and the night club where the bands from back in the day played. The Beatles all helped to paint the walls and ceilings
there. All the original paintings are still there, along with some of the equipment they used. Pete came by to meet everyone, to sign autographs and pose for
pictures. His brothers Roag and Rory were on hand to give the tour and answer questions as well as pose for pictures. We learned that Pete's appearance was one of the
main reasons a few of the people came on this trip! It's not surprising - the Beatles' drummer before Ringo Starr is such a fine gentleman.
In the evening it was off to the Cavern Club to see Penny Lane on the front stage, and the BeatleWeek finale with Denny Laine backed by Ringer
on the back showcase stage. It was well worth the sweat to experience. We went back stage for autographs and photos with Denny Laine.
I should mention that another highlight on this day was that it was the exact 800th birthday of the chartering of Liverpool. There were extensive
fireworks at the dock and near both cathedrals. The fireworks were synced to music such as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," and the closing of the display was
choreographed with the "Sgt. Peppers Reprise." YES, we did enjoy the show!
By Cathy Motyka with Candy Wright
The Magical History Tour to England is not affiliated with or endorsed by Apple Corps Ltd
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