- Album name: The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
- Group name: the Beatles
- Recording year: 1964, 1965
- Release year: 1977
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Capitol Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Scratched into side one of LP: 5 MAS – 1 – 11638 – G8XX#4
- Scratched into side two of LP: 5 MAS – 2 – 11638 – G8#3ML
- Buy it on Amazon: $96.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I doubt that I’ve ever heard any of these recordings before, and the overwhelming majority of my Beatles experience is with their studio records.
Here are previous Beatles records that I’ve reviewed:
- Revolver (1966): 5/5
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): 5/5
- The White Album (1968): 4/5
- Abbey Road (1969): 5/5
MORE get back session (1969?): 3/5
- Studio Sessions Volume One (1973): 4/5
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (1976): 5/5
What I expected
Mid 1960s Beatles playing songs from their early and mid 1960s repertoire, with a lot of screaming fans.
What it was actually like
This was an incredibly fun listen, especially having heard so much about what Beatles concerts were like after they became famous – mainly the screaming. And yes, the record opened with screaming fans, and the screaming continued all the way through, and closed with screaming as well.
A lot of work was done to make it listenable, however, so although the audio quality was basically passable, I think it’s fair to assess that the screaming was more an enhancement – to convey the mood of the shows – than a detractor, and the extreme energy of the performance was palpable throughout. That said, I can totally understand why the Beatles wanted to stop touring after 1966.
Interestingly, so much time passed between when these songs were recorded in 1964 and 1965 and when the record was released in 1977 that the Beatles not only had time to mature musically into their middle- and late-eras, but they also were able to break up, become mired in legal squabbles and then reconcile somewhat. As for the screaming girl fans, assuming they were teenagers when attending these concerts (which would have made them roughly the same cohort as my parents), by 1977 many or most of them would have considered the Beatles to be hopelessly lame.
All the songs were quite consistently good, but I would probably consider my favorites to have been Twist and Shout and Help!. Besides more songs, the only thing that this record needed was video.
5/5: love it