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Recently Recovered Long Lost Beatles photographs
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Monday, 07/02/07 7:05 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Ian Wright, former London Times photographer, made his first public appearance this afternoon at Fest and tells the incredible story of how he recently recovered a treasure trove of thousands of previously lost, never seen and unpublished pictures of the Beatles taken from 1963 to 1969 when he worked for a local paper in Northeast England called "the Northern Despatch" before going to work for the London Sunday Times. In early 1963, starting at the age of 15, Ian , who worked part-time as a photographer, was given an unusual assignment to photograph the many new bands that would come from all over England to play. One of these unknown bands back in early 1963 was The Beatles and were received 5th billing on a program in which Helen Shapiro headlined and the Beatles were listed last, after the 12 Dancing Girls. Eight months later, The Beatles "rocketed to top billing" in a concert given November 22, 1963 at the Globe Theater in Stockton near Darlington.

Ian's negatives of those photographs that he took of The Beatles that night and over the next few 5 years were never published by The Northern Despatch and considered lost after the paper merged with another newspaper 30 years ago. As it turns out, when Ian called in 2004 to find out if they still existed, to his good fortune, the sister paper still had those never used negatives in storage and turned them over to him.

Ian not only took pictures of the Beatles but also photographed the Rolling Stones and many other emerging bands that toured in Northeastern England, near Newcastle. In addition to taking pictures, Ian said he got to know each of the Beatles because he had unrestricted access back in the early days when no backstage passes were required. He told how they were all practical jokers and how Ringo played a joke on a stagehand by giving him a pound to buy a paper with and then after the stagehand came back with the paper he went through counting out all the pennies (pre-decimal UK currency, 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound) after which Ringo chuckled and said, "keep the change".

Ian continued to stay in touch with The Beatles after they broke up and was on his way to New York City to interview John Lennon back in December 1980 when he found out that John had been killed.

You can see some of these unpublished photos of the magical performance of The Beatles at the Globe theater December 22, 1963 by dropping by Ian Wright's table in the Beatles Marketplace in Ballroom H at the Mirage Hotel.

First ever Fest Marriage comes off without a hitch
[Posted by Dave Haber on Sunday, 07/01/07 10:49 pm] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

This afternoon, two Beatles fans were married at the Fest!

At about 6:45 Richard Barton took the stage with his Best Man. A flower girl came down the aisle of the theater giving flowers to people at the ends of the row, and then the bride, Lisa Loflin, slowly came down the aisle with her Bridesmaid, and joined her Groom on the stage.

It was a brief and lovely ceremony, in which the two fans pledged to love each other for ever. Everyone got a little teary-eyed, and a standing ovation from the crowd wished the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Barton well!

Fest Day 1 in Full Swing!
[Posted by Dave Haber on Sunday, 07/01/07 5:40 pm] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

The Fest is now in full swing! The first day of the first ever Vegas Fest for Beatles Fans opened at 2:00 with an introduction by Fest organizer Mark Lapidos and Fest Master of Ceremonies Martin Lewis.

Next, famed reporter Larry Kane talked about all his years covering the Beatles and other famous people, including presidents of the United States, and compared the individual presidents he's known to the Beatles. He remembered President Ford always remembered his name, and recalled the same was true for Paul.

Next, five of the Fest Guest Stars took the stage to reminisce about the Roots of Beatles music.

Click here to see bigger image
Gordon Waller (Peter & Gordon), Laurence Juber and Denny Laine of Wings,
Mark Hudson (Ringo Producer), and Dennie Seiwell (Wings)

Discussing early Beatles influences, they soon joined together on a rendition of That's All Right Mama. Laurence Juber said that George told him one of his early musical references was Hoagy Carmichael. Mark Hudson remembered one of the Beatles' early covers, Till There Was You, which they also broke into.

Denny Laine brought up Eddie Cochran's 20 Flight Rock, and remembered how it was one of Paul's favorite things to play at parties, and Mark Hudson spoke of the influences of the Mills Brothers on the Beatles' three part harmonies.

It was fun listening to these old friends talk about the good ol' days of rock and roll, occasionally singing and playing the songs they were remembering. It was like sitting in their living room with them!

Coming up: The very first Beatles Fest Wedding! Stay Tuned!

All You Really Do Need Is LOVE
[Posted by Dave Haber on Sunday, 07/01/07 8:25 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Being the busy guy that I am, I don't have the free time to get to travel much, so this trip to Vegas for the Fest was my first chance to see Cirque Du Soleil's LOVE show at the Mirage Hotel.

From only knowing the show previously by listening to the soundtrack album, I don't mind telling you, I was blown away by the show. It just put a big smile on my face. The new mixes of the Beatles tracks, taken by themselves are interesting and fun to listen to, but along with the unbelievable imagery that the magical performers of Cirque Du Soleil present on stage, the cool mixes now "make sense" and have purpose.

Click here to see a larger image

The show never stops, I was constantly mesmerized. Most of it strikingly and touchingly dramatizes the accompanying the Beatles songs, like Eleanor Rigby and Lucy in the Sky, some of it is just cool, like the gravity-defying skaters to the tune of Help!

Besides the new Beatles songs mash-ups that you can hear on the LOVE album, in places the show also includes the voices of The Beatles themselves, mixed up and cut together from various sources to form the dialogue that matches the scenes. Listen carefully and you will recognize bits and pieces!

The thing that struck me most about the show is how hard the performers work, and how they make it look so easy. They obviously love what they are doing, and they love the Beatles, and it shows, and rubs off on you as you watch them!

Opinion on this show among die-hard Beatles traditionalists is mixed, but my official opinion is, if you like The Beatles, you will LOVE this show!

The Fest opens in a few hours. Stay tuned!

Hello Las Vegas
[Posted by Dave Haber on Saturday, 06/30/07 1:22 pm] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Well, I made it! I'm in Las Vegas and checked in to the Mirage Hotel.

The Fest doesn't start until tomorrow, but already the Mirage is already a very Beatles-friendly place. There is an interactive lounge called Beatles Revolution, it stands out on the edge of the Casino:

And next to the theater where LOVE is presented, there's a store filled with Beatles stuff for sale, including LOVE t-shirts, and they have this guitar on display that was signed by all four Beatles:

We're also seeing the Cirque De Soleil LOVE show tonight. That will be my next report! Stay tuned!

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