Released to coincide with director Ron Howard’s new Beatles documentary, Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years, Live At The Hollywood Bowl is a beautifully packaged live album which was actually originally released in 1977. However this new edition has been sublimely remixed and remastered with the addition of four new songs that weren’t on the original album. The songs, all recorded from various shows the band played at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, Los Angeles, sound fantastic and about as fresh as if they were performed and recorded yesterday.
The opening song is Twist And Shout. Originally recorded by the Top Notes, it wasn’t until a year later that the song took off massively after being recorded by the Isley Brothers. It’s been covered by countless artists since but it’s perhaps the version by The Beatles that featured on their debut album that stands out the most. The live version here is outstanding and you’re given the first taste of the ecstatic crowd the band were playing to at the time. All throughout the song, and in fact every song on the album, you can hear the high pitched screams of countless young girls throughout the Hollywood Bowl. One can only imagine how loud they were in person. Nonetheless it’s a fantastic performance which leads into She’s A Woman where McCartney completely owns the stage. The frantic Dizzy Miss Lizzy comes next with Lennon’s rough and ready vocals being the icing on the cake. He’d perform it four years later in Toronto with the Plastic Ono Band and he’d sound just as rough, just as great. It’s followed by Ticket To Ride and Can’t Buy Me Love which are incredible renditions, the former featuring some great vocals by Lennon with McCartney backing him up. Can’t Buy Me Love takes things to another level and that includes the volume of the girls watching with their screaming turned up to full during this song. Incredible.
- Twist And Shout (30th August 1965)
- She’s A Woman (30th August 1965)
- Dizzy Miss Lizzy (29th/30th August 1965)
- Ticket To Ride (29th August 1965)
- Can’t Buy Me Love (30th August 1965)
- Things We Said Today (23rd August 1964)
- Roll Over Beethoven (23rd August 1964)
- Boys (23rd August 1964)
- A Hard Day’s Night (30th August 1965)
- Help! (29th August 1965)
- All My Loving (23rd August 1964)
- She Loves You (23rd August 1964)
- Long Tall Sally (23rd August 1964)
- You Can’t Do That (23rd August 1964)
- I Want To Hold Your Hand (23rd August 1964)
- Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (30th August 1965)
- Baby’s In Black (30th August 1965)
The next three songs on the release are taken from the show the band played at the Hollywood Bowl a year earlier on the 23rd August 1964. Things We Said Today is the first one and there really isn’t much difference in terms of quality in performance. If it wasn’t for the info we already have on the song being played a year earlier, you’d think it was from the exact same show. The screaming girls are the same, the band are just as tight and the music is just as good. The Chuck Berry number Roll Over Beethoven comes next which sees Harrison take over lead vocal duties, something which he also did on the studio version on their 1963 album With The Beatles. The guitar playing is absolutely sublime here and Harrison is pitch perfect behind the mic. Aside from the screaming coming from the audience, you’d think this was the studio version. Note for note as perfect, a great performance. The guitar solo mid-way through the song caps things off nicely before Ringo takes the limelight with a great rendition of Boys. All McCartney has to do before the song starts is mention Ringo’s name and the crowd go wild. What follows is an energy filled version of a song originally recorded by The Shirelles in 1960.
A Hard Day’s Night comes next which takes things forward to their 20th August 1965 show and John completely owns the song. It’s incredible that he’s able to sing so perfectly considering the amount of background noise while the band play. The screaming doesn’t stop from start to finish yet the band power on and get the job done, cementing their position as one of the finest bands at the time, and of course, since. Help! follows suit which was recorded a day earlier on the 29th August 1965, with John talking to the audience before the band launch into that famous intro. The next five songs are again taken from their 1964 show at the Hollywood Bowl, starting with All My Loving and She Loves You. The audience roar their approval and at this point you begin to wonder whether they’re screaming due to the pleasure of listening to the music or just being in the same venue as the band themselves. Either way, they’ve loving it, and rightly so. The band remain tight through both songs before turning things up a notch with the Little Richard classic Long Tall Sally. McCartney sounds like a man possessed as he always did while singing this song and you can really hear how hard Ringo is hitting the drums just to be heard over the screaming crowd.
You Can’t Do That and I Want To Hold Your Hand are the final two songs from the 1964 show, and the first of four bonus tracks which were added to this new remastered live album. The songs sound great and the band continue their theme of high energy performances which started with the first song, even though a number of shows feature throughout the album. Remarkable. Harrison returns on the Carl Perkins number Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby and delivers a performance just as good as Roll Over Beethoven. The final song is Baby’s In Black which sees the album end on a slower note, not that any energy is lost from the performance. The band sound just as tight as they did on every other song on the album.
Even though the album was originally released in 1977, the remastered songs sound great and the additional four give it a nice touch. The songs really do sound like they could have been recorded yesterday, they are that fresh sounding. The Beatles continue to be the most talked about band of all time, the most famous and the most well known. Not only were they incredible songwriters but they were some of the best performers the world has ever seen. There will never be another band like them and we are incredibly lucky that releases like this live album exist for future generations to listen to.