“Like, wow, the Beatles! Aren’t they the swingin’ livin’ end? You dig, chick?” “I dig, Chuck!” “That’s one scene I gotta make!” “Me too, Chuck!”
It’s kind of interesting to see the reaction of the public to Beatles stuff in 2011. For those over a certain age, of course, the Beatles are the ultimate music icon, and the recent activity, like with iTunes, qualifies as huge news. For those who were not yet born until long after the band broke up, or after John Lennon’s death, I’m not sure whether the Beatles are still Founding Fathers or Your Parent’s Music.
Whatever the reaction, it’s interesting that the Beatles’ first concert in America at the Washington Coliseum hasn’t been seen in its entirety since it happened on February 9, 1964, 47 years ago today. Snippets are readily available, and they show the band playing while a building full of screaming teens makes it practically impossible to hear the music. But the whole concert, with audible music plus pre-taped opening acts by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore, was shown in movie theaters via closed-circuit TV in 1964, then promptly disappeared from view, except for bootleg, poor-quality prints that were sometimes shown in the 70’s.
Until now. The American Cinematheque is showing what it says is a “stunning, first-generation picture quality” print of the concert at a special event Friday night in Hollywood. It IS, for most of you, your parents’, or even your grandparents’ music. But even so, it’s a landmark. And, even if the Beatles of 1964 seem antiquated, quaint, from prehistoric times, it’s interesting to see what rock concerts looked and sounded like in the days when bands wore matching suits and ties, isn’t it?