"I want to go on a Beatles tour in Britain. In August."
It was spring 1994, and one of my key employees had just asked me for two weeks off during the busiest, most crucial month for our office--a month when no one typically got so much as a three-day weekend. Yet here he was in my office, explaining that he was going to join a busload of people tooling around the UK for 14 days, visiting places important in Beatles history. It would all end with a huge Beatles convention in Liverpool.
As he ran down the itinerary, I wasn't thinking about what we would do without a designer for two weeks. I was listening…and smiling. From one fan to another, he had me at the words, "Beatles tour." He knew I'd OK the vacation--and I knew that someday, I HAD to take this trip myself.
Fast forward to 2011, and I finally was ready to set out on my first trip in Charles F. Rosenay!!!'s Beatle time machine. "Come along if you dare…" (Oops, wrong 1960s group!) I was beyond excited. My Beatles memories spill over from childhood. Even at age five, I could tell that the Ed Sullivan Show could barely hold those haircuts, those suits and that sound on the same stage as plate spinners and Topo Gigio. I didn't budge from my theater seat during, "A Hard Day's Night." And in vinyl days, I wore out my copy of "Abbey Road."
So, for me-to be here, there and everywhere…where THEY lived, worked and played…it's no mystery that it would be magical.
The side trip to Scotland was a big factor in my decision to take the trip this year. I'd never been there, and I knew there were numerous Scottish Beatle connections. I bought a copy of Ken McNab's book, "The Beatles in Scotland," and I was ready.
Now would be a good time to confess that I have never liked Paul's song, "Mull of Kintyre." I first heard it when I purchased "Wingspan: Hits and History" in 2001, and was confronted with what seemed like a plodding song about…well, I wasn't sure exactly what. A bit of research revealed it was about Paul's much-loved corner of Scotland, and was one of his biggest hits with Wings-at least, overseas. I can even recall walking out of a lackluster "all-star band" performance during one Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans because I was sure the next butchered tune would be, "Mull of Kintyre," and I simply couldn't take it (sure enough, it started playing as I walked out).
So what would it mean to me to be there? I may not like the tune, but anyone who dares to drive through the Scottish Highlands risks being seduced. Here is where Paul came to find his way after the Beatles' break up. You could almost feel the healing vibes in the craggy Kintyre beach where the video for the song was shot. It made a great setting for Paul, Linda and Denny Laine as they strolled to a tune I would perhaps grow to appreciate here. After Linda's death, the McCartney family established a garden in her honor in nearby Campbeltown. The centerpiece of the Linda McCartney Memorial Garden is a statue of her, holding a lamb. Paul commissioned the sculpture, and he must have been happy with the way it captured her essence. Signs in the garden talked about how appropriate it was that the garden was in Campbeltown and that she rested in the adopted home she loved, implying that Paul had buried her on the farm. I'd never heard this, but it seemed plausible given how much the place meant to both of them.
We weren't about to leave the area without finding that elusive farm. Paul bought two other farms around it to protect them from prying eyes, and it was tough to determine which of the many lovely farms on flowing hillsides was High Park Farm. Charles and Rene's brave, respectful questioning of a neighbor elicited the exact location. We learned that Paul hadn't been there in perhaps five years (too painful?) but Stella visits from time to time, and had been there recently. The best we could do was a view from the road. Even from there, it wasn't hard to see what drew him there-the blissful isolation and the peace to find what came after Beatlehood.
"That song" played in my head for days afterwards. I didn't mind.
Another Scotland highlight was our visit to the little Alloa, Clackmannanshire town hall where the boys got one of their early big breaks: playing back-up for one Johnny Gentle, a romantic balladeer. This is the concert where the guys used the name The Silver Beetles, and gave themselves fanciful stage names (Paul's, for example, was Paul Ramon). Again, Charles was able to talk our way inside, where we found the interior had undergone extensive period restoration. The hall and stage were absolutely gorgeous-it seemed unlikely it looked that nice when The Beatles played there. But what a thrill we had, going up on stage to look at the room from their point of view, and imagining what they saw from behind Johnny Gentle that night.
I made a point of watching "A Hard Day's Night" twice before leaving on this trip. I was glad I did, because so many places we visited in London were used in the film. Think of "Can't Buy Me Love," and you see a certain fire escape, right? It's still there, and it doesn't lead onto a big open field. We saw so many great locations: The bridge where Ringo took his lonely walk. The train station where they shot that famous, chaotic opening scene. The sidewalk where the boys ran with fans in pursuit, and George famously fell (a fall that wasn't in the script!). We even got inside Twickenham Studios, where more scenes were shot. A helpful employee showed us the (purportedly) EXACT spot on the floor where the sunken hotel-room set had been built. I had not watched "Help!" again, and regretted it, because my memories of that film were fuzzy even as we went to some of its locations (maybe that was appropriate, considering how fuzzy the guys were when they filmed it).
"Tour Host Charles F. Rosenay!!! and Tour Guide Rene van Haarlem outside Abbey Road Studios"
The London highlight for me was undoubtedly the pilgrimage to the Abbey Road crosswalk. Perhaps because it had always loomed so large in my mind, it seemed very small when I finally saw it. You may have read that it's an extremely busy intersection, and people warn you to be careful. If you ever go, take them seriously. We all took turns taking our lives into our hands to get that iconic shot walking across, and there were many angry beeps and a couple of close calls. Why the city of London hasn't installed a stoplight there to make it safer is beyond me. The best part for me was that had I texted friends back home that I was about to cross, and they were able to watch me take my turn in the world's most famous crosswalk via the webcam installed there (yes, I made one crossing barefoot).
"Crossing Abbey Road" courtesy Matt DeRosa
Being a "Paul Girl"-one of the multitude-I wanted to see the Bag O' Nails club, where Paul and Linda finally connected for good. With fellow traveler Karen (another "Paul Girl") and her family group Jim, Barb and Randy, we set out to have dinner at a place that was called the Bag O' Nails. We were mystified by two things-one, it seemed to be in pretty good condition (historical accounts mentioned how rundown it was). Second, there was no mention anywhere of the history of that place-in a land of plaques for everything, there was no plaque for this. And no one working there knew the story, either. Seemed odd. It turned out we were at the wrong "Bag." Thanks to my smart phone, we discovered that this was not the original location of the club. Undaunted, we hopped a cab to Soho, armed with the address thanks to a successful Wikipedia search. We found it-it's now a private club, and there is a plaque outside commemorating its place in Paul and Linda history.
On the way to "Liddy Pool" we stopped in George's beloved corner of the world, a tiny burg called Henley-on-Thames. His home, Friar Park, sits right on the outskirts of town. Of course, visitors can see only the ornate gate and the caretaker's house behind it. But we were able to quickly snap some photos next to the "Friar Park" sign, out of respect for the fact that Olivia and Dhani Harrison still live there. It's easy to see why George loved this charming town. His bar hangouts (drinking buddies included Eric Clapton) are still there, although I didn't have time to raise a glass in them because I was on another quest. Just before arrival, Charles announced that iconic 1960s singer Dusty Springfield was buried there, and I was determined to find her grave. "Beatle Dave," a Magical History Tour veteran, graciously went with me so that I could have a picture next to her headstone. Her "Son of a Preacher Man" is one of my favorite non-Beatles hits of the sixties (thanks Dave, and thanks Dusty.) After that, we had time to take in the local weekly farmer's market. Many people poured through the CDs and vinyl for sale, including some rarities. For the rest of us, the market yielded bakery and sandwiches for lunch (I also found some locally made dog biscuits to take home for my dogs Layla and Rizzo. Layla is indeed named after Pattie Boyd-her registered name is Lyncrest Something in the Way She Moves!).
To see Liverpool is to come face to face with the impossibly long odds of growing up there and becoming a musical legend. Even in the perfect storm that was the Mersey-beat, Cavern-fueled sixties, the fact that four guys could come from such humble beginnings and change the face of popular music is surreal. First, consider their childhood homes. Set aside for a moment the (really) pointless arguments about who was more working class in the group. These were all small, humble homes by any measure. John's home at Menlove Avenue, and Paul's at 20 Forthlin Road, have been lovingly restored and are managed by the National Trust. Charles got us inside for guided tours, of course.
At John's house, you felt such emotion at seeing Mimi's humble kitchen, and hearing how hard she worked after her husband's death to keep her and John in their home. You saw the dining room where she slept on a fold-out cot so that she could rent out her bedroom to yet more student boarders. John's tiny bedroom was so poignant-the scene of boyhood schemes and the birthplace of his rebellion. Someone had tenderly placed a guitar on the bed. If walls could talk, right? But for me, the most amazing thing was the famous "echo porch," where John and Paul would write and practice because the quality of the echo made everything sound so good. I sang a snippet of "Please Please Me" in there and it gave me shivers.
"A foreign Beatles band gets interviewed in front of Mendips just before our group gets inside" Courtesy CFR!!!
Forthlin Road was Paul's home during one of the saddest parts of his life: the death of his mother. So it was a place of both loss and new beginnings-where his musical gifts would begin to flourish. There was the famous bathroom window Paul would slip into after shimmying up the drainpipe when his dad would lock the door to teach his late-arriving son a lesson. We learned that Paul took the smallest bedroom of the two upstairs, so that his brother Michael could have the larger room for his photography equipment. Paul's bedroom was big enough for a twin bed, and not much else. What dreams had bounced off these walls? One could stand there and think about this teenager pondering his future, and wonder whether he was in this room when it dawned on him that he would never be a teacher.
"Len Gary and surviving members of the Quarry Men meet fans outside their boyhood school" Courtesy CFR!!!
A very special day was spent visiting Quarry Bank School, where The Quarry Men got their start 50 years ago, and where the surviving Quarry Men performed for us on the schools' stage. Many of us got to meet the original members, get autographs and pose for pictures.
"The Quarry Men live in concert 2011" Courtesy Johan Leijon
Convention day at the Adelphi burst with every kind of new and old Beatles product available for purchase. Antiques like Beatles Halloween costumes and stuffed toys, and new items like t-shirts and books, were there to tempt. Almost everyone I saw from our tour group was holding a shopping bag at some point. The standouts for me were t-shirts by artist Shannon. She works only by airbrushing, and is one of the foremost artists of Beatle images in the world. In fact, she was chosen to do the Beatle murals in the Hard Day's Night Hotel. I bought several of her shirts-my favorite is one showing the Fabs in Beatlemania days, with the Liver Building and the Union Jack in the background. My advice for any future travelers who see her shirts at the convention-BUY EARLY. She sells out of sizes fast. Most of the convention itself was a blur, but I remember seeing John's half-sister Julia Baird shaking hands, and heard a snippet of a talk by Tony Sheridan where he answered, for what must have been the zillionth time, a question about Pete Best's dismissal from the group and who was the better drummer: Pete or Ringo. It's hard for me to believe anyone is STILL picking that apart, but that's JMHO.
"John Lennon's sister Julia Baird meets MMTour traveler Matt DeRosa at the Liverpool Convention" Courtesy Matt DeRosa
The convention and various pubs were crammed with groups playing their take on Beatles music-and they hailed from all over the world: Mexico, Denmark, Czech Republic, Argentina and Canada, to name only a few. Some of my favorites included the Overtures, Nube 9, Pepperland, Karma USA and The Fab Four. Another highlight was my first night at the Cavern, seeing Gavin Pring of the Fab Four doing a tribute to George. It's chilling how much he sounds like George, and his mannerisms are spot on as well. My nominee for possibly the strangest tribute group was a trio of Japanese schoolgirls who called themselves "Clover," a band that formed in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. They wore plaid school girl uniforms and displayed plenty of guts, performing after being together only three months. There were lots of rough spots and we nearly left, but decided to stick it out. They improved somewhat, and I even ended up enjoying their rendition of, "Please Please Me." In another year, with more practice, they might be good.
"An ocean of music lovers enjoy live Beatles Music at The Mathew Street Festival" Courtesy CFR!!!
The next day gave us the Mathew Street Festival with thousands upon thousands of locals and tourists filling the streets of our new favorite city enjoying music from numerous stages. One stage even featured a performance by legendary Tony Sheridan.
"Hamburg's Tony Sheridan rocks Liverpool at the 2011 Mathew Street Festival" Courtesy CFR!!!
Finally, the day arrived for our Magical History Tour of Liverpool Beatles sights, featuring Edwina, one of the best guides out there. We piled into a bus painted in the style of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour bus. Edwina's passion for all things Beatles, as well as her amazing knowledge, was on full display. Clearly, she was "there" and knows almost everyone. The daughter of Allan Williams, the Beatles' first manager, was passing by and pulled over her car to say hello. Edwina pointed out Brian Epstein's apartment that he'd lent to John and Cynthia after their wedding. There were other John and Cynthia sights, including one right across from our hotel at the abandoned Lewis's Department Store. The famous sculpture of a nude man above the door was meant to commemorate Liverpool's survival of WWII bombing raids. When John and Cynthia were dating, they used to meet cheekily "under Dickie Lewis'."
Speaking of meetings, St. Peter's Church Woolten was another historic stop. Of course, that's where Paul and John met for the first time on July 6, 1957. We saw church yard where Paul watched the Quarrymen play, and the church hall where they were introduced after the performance and Paul reportedly played, "Twenty-Flight Rock," "Long Tall Sally" and "Tutti Frutti" to impress John. The church is conscious of its place in Beatle history-a memorial plaque is outside the church hall, and several people in our group bought commemorative posters showing it. In an odd bit of history, one of the graves in the church yard is for John Rigby and members of his family, including his granddaughter, Eleanor. Did Paul have this in mind when he wrote those famous lyrics? Apparently he's always said no, but it's hard to believe he didn't see it at some point and just didn't remember it.
George's childhood home can only be seen from the outside, but even then, you can see how small it is, especially for a family of six. Edwina explained that the wall near George's house was a vestige of Britain's super class-conscious society. It was a way to separate the lower class "public" housing the Harrisons lived in from higher class homes on the other side. As Americans and Canadians, it may have been hard for us to see how any distinction and class security could be provided by such a wall. But remember it was American poet Robert Frost who wrote, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall…" and "Good fences make good neighbors." That's Frost's poem, "Mending Wall," for anyone who might be interested.
The row house where Ringo was born was the saddest. It is boarded up, earmarked for demolition along with other similar houses covering a large area. Fans have painted messages on the door-"Save this House!" and "We Love Ringo!"--but we were told it was unlikely that the tiny home in the middle of the row could be saved. It was a happier story a few blocks away, when we visited the home Ringo lived in later, as a child, with his mother and stepfather. My roommate Susan was a friend of Margaret, the elderly woman who is the current resident. Earlier in the week, Susan was kind enough to include me on a trip to have tea with Margaret and get a close-up view of the home. Margaret's an Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton fan, but she seems to enjoy Beatles fans. Margaret graciously allowed our Magical History group in the next day for a quick look at the home's living room. Thanks, Susan and Margaret, for this very special glimpse of Fab Four history.
There's really nothing that can prepare you for the thrill of seeing two settings immortalized in Beatle tunes. The swirl of activity that is "Penny Lane" is still dotted with the song's barber shop, and there really is a shelter in the middle of the roundabout. There are several possible candidates for the bank Paul saw from his school bus. Later, we stopped for photos at John's bright red "Strawberry Fields" gate, imagining how free young Master Lennon must have felt as he ran and played there, away from Mimi's watchful eye. I couldn't help but wonder at how John and Paul took their childhood memories--snapshots of common, everyday life--and turned them into such immortal art. I mean, we all have similar memories of places from our own childhoods, but millions of people around the world are NOT going to be humming along to a tune about them.
Later, we said goodbye to our guide Edwina and boarded the ferry to cross the Mersey-with the Gerry and the Pacemakers' song in our heads. We boated under an overcast sky, thinking about what inspired this tender love song to such a tough, proud city. "Here, I always will stay…" From the water, we got a gorgeous view of the famous Liver Building, accented by the British flag and topped with its two Liver birds, one facing the water to guide sailors home, and the other facing the city of Liverpool, ever watchful and protective.
After the ferry ride, Charles had a special surprise in store-a visit to the Liverpool city hall balcony where the Beatles waved to throngs of fans during festivities for the Northern premiere of, "A Hard Day's Night." I had seen pictures from this balcony appearance, and as I looked out on the streets of Liverpool decades removed from that day, I tried to imagine the sea of screaming humanity that greeted the Fab's appearance. I wondered--was it still exhilarating for them at that point, or had Beatlemania already crossed over into something frightening and exhausting?
"Tour Host Charles F. Rosenay!!! meets the Lord Mayor at Liverpool Town Hall" Courtesy Ian from Liverpool
After a group of us made a frantic last-minute shopping trip to the Cavern and the Hard Day's Night Hotel shop (and bar!), the trip wound down with the Fab Four concert. I had read that one of the many reasons the Beatles stopped touring was their desire to do music more complex than anything that could be performed live. Given that, it was stunning to hear the Fab Four perform this late material live and SO well. My only regret is that "George" and "Ringo" sang only one song each. Both of those performers were so good, I would have loved to have heard them sing more.
And in the end…we left Liverpool to safeguard its precious history, and for us, to begin processing our memories. To attend to the places of history-to look on them and remember-is to summon the reverence that will keep these experiences alive for future generations. London and Liverpool are in some sense "eternal flames" of the thundering musical and social upheaval that was the Beatles. You say you want a revolution? We had one-we reveled in it, grew up twist-and-shouting it. In these places, John, Paul, George and Ringo created and LIVED IT. It can be hard to comprehend, but someday there will be no one left who saw the Beatles perform live on the Ed Sullivan Show. Someday there will be no one alive who would have danced to John, Paul, George and Pete or Ringo in the Cavern's sweaty confines. It was heartening that our tour group included people born long after the Beatles let it be for the final time. There's nothing you can do that can't be done--we can keep that flame alive for our children's children and beyond.
A few days after my return stateside, the 16 year-old daughter of a good friend admired my Beatles t-shirt, saying, "My girlfriend is a HUGE Beatles fan!" I turned away just a bit. She wouldn't have understood the tears in my eyes.
2011 Magical History Tour Report - Scotland, London and Liverpool
By Jan Scott
First leg - SCOTLAND
Ernie and I are on our 5th History Tour, and upon joining up, we realized that there were several old friends from earlier MMTours or "Weekend of LOVE (Vegas) weekend trips, so we had a reunion on the bus to the hotel!
Our first stop in Scotland was our hotel. We arrived at the Argyll Inn in Lochnell, Argyll, and all got together for a group dinner - mushroom stroganoff, grilled chicken with veggies, fish and chips, homemade chicken soup - comfort food in the comfort of our quaint little lodgings! Next door they were having a Scottish wedding, so we were lulled to sleep with bagpipes…
The next day I woke up around 7 am, and several of us got out and snapped some really cool photos of the little town where we were staying. It was cool, foggy and overcast, but no serious rain -- typical Scottish weather. At 8 am we had a traditional Scottish breakfast, very similar to our English breakfasts - eggs, beans, grilled tomatoes, sausage, bacon, and black pudding, which is a bread-like concoction made of grains and meat, coffee, tea, juices, cereal and milk, after which we loaded the bus up to head for the Mull of Kintyre (Campbeltown), which was about a 1½ hour drive. As we went, the weather seemed to be clearing, so we counted sheep as we took the Coastline road (the High road, as we were told, and as the old song goes).
In Campbeltown, we got to see the Linda McCartney memorial, which is in a lovely small park with beautiful flowers, and Linda's statue is holding a lamb. It is such a lovely, peaceful tribute to a lady that Campbeltown respected as a neighbor and animal rights activist. We also saw Linda's workshop, and the theater that MACCA saved from destruction (the town kids HAD to have a movie house!), and the sheriff's office where McCartney had to pay a fine for growing a few pot plants back in the early '70s.
We headed out to Saddell Abbey Estate, with a castle that was built in 1605, and is next to the Irish Sea. Here we went to Sadell Beach where the "Mull of Kintyre" video was filmed, and we could almost see the bagpipers marching down the shore!!! I think everyone picked up a pebble from the beach and had a peaceful moment.
Of course, after the shore, we HAD to find McCartney's farm, and find it we did!!! Obviously, it was surrounded by a fence, and was probably a rough mile's walk from the road, so we settled for a view from afar! But we made it to Paul's home in Scotland!
Later we drove to Inverary and saw the Inverary Castle and we got to walk around and experience the exterior. On we went to The Crianlarich Hotel in Crianlarich, Perthshire, where we had another group dinner, and headed off to bed.
"MMTour group and friends at the Perth Chalet where The Beatles stayed (note plaque on the bungalow)" Courtesy Nancy Davis and Cathy Motyka
The next morning we had breakfast and headed for the Perthshire Four Seasons Chalets where The Beatles actually stayed, and, amazingly, we ran into some former MMTour travelers who had decided to make the trip on their own and stay in the chalets themselves! What a small world - they were packing up as we drove up, so we got to go through the chalets and see the interiors as well as make a lot of pictures with Candy, Nancy, Cindy, Patty and another Beatle friend! They were checking out and heading out to another hotel, so we continued on towards Edinburgh, where on the way we passed the Bridge of Allan which is where the Beatles played after returning from Hamburg, and are now flats. We also passed Bannockburn, where the Scottish defeated the British and there is a memorial called the Wallace Memorial.
Next we went to Alloa, where in May of 1960 the Beatles were on tour with Johnny Gentle, and they played the train station and town hall. Our tour leader, Charles, bold as he is, knocked on the door and asked if his group of Beatle fans could be allowed to come in and see the interior of the venue, and sure enough, we got to see the lovely hall where the Beatles played, and we got to take a lot of photos on the actual stage!! Larry Parnes had booked "Johnny Gentle and his group" as they were known, and it was around this time The Beatles developed their stage names: Paul Ramone, Carl Harrison and Long John!
Back in Edinburgh, we got to do some shopping at the Royal Mile, and some of us visited Edinburgh Castle. We learned that two of the biggest venues The Beatles played in this area were the Edinburgh Odeon Cinema and the ABC Cinemas.
We had a great meal at the Hard Rock Café, where some of us even spotted a rare Ringo jacket on display above the bar. If we didn't catch the inscription on the plaque, we'd have never known.
Our next hotel was the Premier Inn Glasgow North in Stepps, Glasgow, where we were on our own for dinner, but were asked to meet back in the restaurant for a "surprise"! And what a nice surprise it was - we were joined by two members of the Scottish Beatle Group "Candlestick Park" - and we spent the next few hours having a sing-along! The nicest two guys we you could imagine, and they love The Beatles every bit as much as we do!! They played a set, and then did what they could with our requests, and a splendid time was had by all! We all bedded down with a smile on our collective faces, ready to head out to London in the morning.
Visit Candlestick Park's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Candlestick-Park/125414364172274?v=wall&ref=sgm
Enjoy this video of our time in Scotland by Barbara Bromley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CZBt_ZvjnE
Leg 2 - Scotland to London
"Rene leads MMTour group in London" Courtesy CFR!!!
I have been to London several times, so I feel that a "newby" probably would have a fresher point of view, so I will briefly talk about a few of the things I have NOT done before...
Marlyeborne Station. We've been there many times, but never have we been invited inside the private locked offices where blown-up photos of The Beatles (from AHDN) are on display a select few to see.
"The Beatles at Marlyeborne Station - a photo on display" Courtesy Johan Leijon
Twickenham Studios. I've been there before, but have never gone INSIDE the actual studio where the Beatles filmed "Let It Be," plus scenes from "Help!" and "A Hard Day's Night." We even saw the square on the floor under which Ringo faced the tiger in AHDN, and what served as John's sunken bed! Charles had to sweet-talk in order to get us in, but he did, and it was an opportunity to remember! THIS is what makes the trips so special - the things you don't expect! Also, we visited the greenhouse at Chiswick Gardens - I've been to the gardens before, but this was the first time we got to go inside the greenhouse where so much of "Rain" was filmed! There was a nice poster/plaque commemorating The Beatles being there.
"Chiswick Garden's plaque commemorating The Beatles in the park" Courtesy Johan Leijon
Leg 3 - Henley-on-Thames
Enjoy this video of our time in London & Henley by Barbara Bromley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsw4mrirjVM
Leg 4 - to Liverpool
Again, I've been on many trips to Liverpool, and most of the regular sights have been covered again and again, but I thought I'd talk about the concerts that we had special tickets for that were held at the Philharmonic Hall...
If you have never heard the Overtures, you HAVE to see them!! They put on an amazing show, and they play ALL '60's music, not just Beatles!! They had us all dancing in our seats!
Ringo was the first candidate, and Nube 9 represented his music, with guest star Mark Hudson! GREAT section, but just the start! John was represented next, with Instant Karma USA providing the music, and guest star John Keets from the Instant Karma UK band! One of the members of the Blue Meanies also was a guest, but the really SPECIAL guest was drummer Alan White, who worked with John on much of his solo music! GREAT drummer!!! Mark Hudson also joined in on John's segment, making it very special!
"A colorful Mark Hudson live on stage in Liverpool" by Joan Leijon
Paul was next, and the group Two of Us provided the music. The lead singer not only looks a bit like early Paul, and he has him down spot on! Wing's drummer Steve Holley joined this set, as well as musician and artist Shannon, who did the paintings at the Hard Day's Night Hotel. We closed out with the George Harrison tribute, with Nube 9, Rick Allen and Gavin Pring ("Harry Son") as guests. What a terrific concert! After the performances, Nube 9 was entered into the "Hall of Fame" along with Cavern City Tours' Ray Johnson, who is the main man behind all the musical productions during BeatleWeek!
Fab Four in Las Vegas
I had seen the Fab Four several times in Vegas, so I wasn't rushing to see this concert, but when we got there, Hal Bruce was on, and he is always fantastic. He's from Canada, so my pal Olivia told me not to miss him. Next was a group from Switzerland called (I don't have a clue - Zappa and something!!!), and I was FLOORED! They did a lot of the different Beatles cuts (Martha My Dear, Honey Pie) plus standards like Eleanor Rigby, and they were VERY unique. Glad I didn't miss THEM!
The Fab Four closed the show, and I don't know why I wasn't in a rush to see them - they ALWAYS put on a special show, and playing for Liverpool put even more enthusiasm into their performance! We were all on our feet when they closed.
Actor/musician Mark McGann closed BeatleWeek in Liverpool with a special rockin' concert in tribute to John Lennon at the Cavern Club (it was McGann who portrayed Lennon in "John & Yoko: A Love Story"). The "Blood Brothers" star had stopped by the Liverpool convention back as 1983, and he didn't look much older. He put on a great show.
Also, we visited the Liverpool Museum near the Ferries which had never been open before. There, we enjoyed a 360degree video presentation on The Beatles entitled "In The Town Where I Was Born," examined endless artifacts from The Beatles' career and soaked in all that the museum had to offer on not only The Beatles but also on Liverpool itself.
Note: This was the first time we presented two Tour Reports, but they were so different and both so informative & well-written that we couldn't choose one over the other, and clearly we couldn't edit incorporate one within the other. We trust you've enjoy both reports and we hope to see you on a future tour.