Beatles Fest – A Saturday Report

We live right off the Metro North train line in Connecticut. It was easy to hop the 9:38 a.m express and get into Grand Central Terminal at 11:15 a.m. The Grand Hyatt is right next door to GCT where we entered The Fest for Beatles Fans 2014.

We decided to attend the day in between the two major Beatles 50th Anniversary events, the Beatles Invasion February 7th and the Ed Sullivan broadcast on February 9th.

After we checked in we headed up to the main ballroom on the 4th floor. We watched the balance of the film, Good Ol Freda which was a special treat as Freda Kelly herself appeared after the film. She brought a tear to my eye as her role in The Beatles family is devout, private but very caring. You could see how much she loves the fans as she met with them at the autograph table.

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Our focus for this event was the music in the main ballroom. Granted there were floors of art exhibits, video, presentations by authors etc. But we got anchored to the concert floor. The event was oversold and many people had to stand which made for a fire law problem. This meant we had to pretty much stay in our seats all afternoon which grew uncomfortable over 6 hours.

The Ballroom Agenda

Mark RiveraKen Dashow

Ken Dashow interviewed Mark Rivera who has performed with three of the Beatles, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Mark is Ringo Starr’s Musical Director for the Ringo Starr All-Starr Show where we’ve seen Mark play three times this past decade. Mark Rivera is also a band member of Billy Joel‘s band. He has a new album coming out, Common Bond which drops on February 18th.

The album includes a rare appearance by Billy Joel playing a sizzling Hammond B3 organ on Mark’s unique cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Spanish Castle Magic. Ringo Starr, Robert Randolph, Nils Lofgren and Steve Lukather all give their great talents to what will be a most cool album!

It really rocks in a good old way – like we did back in the day. Your voice sounds great and the band kicks ass!”– Billy Joel

Gretsch Presents, Peter Asher, A Memoir of the 60’s and Beyond – Part 1

PeterA

We were pleasantly surprised by Peter Asher. He had a well-polished agenda for us. This speaks to his role as a producer. He interspersed his verbal talk which was filled with nostalgia about The Beatles with vintage video. He had a class back up band that increased the dimension of the Peter and Gordon songs. The Eric Idle introduction was funny. We especially loved the segment where Peter sang with Gordon behind him as they played. It was so comforting to hear them sing together that way with Gordon Waller having left us in 2010.

I was intrigued to learn that Peter and his sister Jane Asher had founded a book store and art gallery Indica in London where John Lennon met Yoko Ono at her art show.

Surprise Guest – Pattie Boyd – Martin Lewis

We were surprised by Pattie Boyd’s appearance. It was a warm, intimate 40 min conversation with Pattie and Martin Lewis where Pattie spoke about George Harrison, The Beatles in the day, the trip to India and her love of photography. I thought she was a delight and very honest interview subject.

Donovan

It was a joy to see Donovan perform. It had been 44 years since our last Donovan concert. This show was very immediate. We loved the magic he created for us. Donovan has always been a special artist in the music of our heart.

He was in good voice. I especially loved how he sounded phrasing wise especially on “Jennifer, Juniper”. I really dug with unique vocal sound he makes on “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. His one hour set went so quickly but he played all his hits which made it loving and lasting for us.

Donovan’s Set

  1. Catch the Wind
  2. Colours
  3. Universal Soldier
    (Buffy Sainte-Marie cover)
  4. Jennifer Juniper
  5. Lalena
  6. Wear Your Love Like Heaven
  7. Hurdy Gurdy Man
  8. Sunshine Superman
  9. Season of the Witch
  10. Mellow Yellow

   Encore

  1. Atlantis

Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Rock and Roll  Party

We were really happy to hang out with Cousin Brucie who has been a major force in our music listening lives. He has such energy and passion for what he does as an on-air personality. It was exciting to be part of his live SiriusXM broadcast. We often listen to his show on Sixties on 6.

We didn’t stay for the three-hour show as we were weary from the ballroom chairs. We figured we’d listen to the rebroadcast on Sunday night from 5-8 p.m. Which we are listening to that show now as I finish up that post 😉

I finally got to see Ronnie Spector live which was cool! Ronnie had some great stories about the boys and Murray The K. She then performed “Be My Baby”.

Donovan rejoined us next and paid Brucie a wonderful complement as a disk jockey. He performed “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and it was great to hear it twice in the same day!

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Cousin Brucie, “We Love You!”

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The Two British Invasion Duos

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The music of our heart is warming up to the nostalgic feelings that surround the memories and music of the 50th Anniversary of the British Invasion (1964-2014).

My attention is focused today on the two male duos from the 1964 NY radio and television airwaves, Chad & Jeremy and Peter and Gordon. I listened to both duos actively in the car this afternoon. It was a soothing, fun sing along experience. 🙂

Each duo had several major hits during 1964.  I have highlighted the hit record from each duo that has held the most staying power these past 50 years.

1) Chad & Jeremy

Chad Stuart recalled that his “A Summer Song” collaborators Clive Metcalfe and Keith Noble were themselves a musical duo with whom Chad & Jeremy became friendly, and that “A Summer Song” was written at Stuart’s flat in London: “We were sitting around jamming on four chords and we came up with ‘A Summer Song'”.[1]

2) Peter and Gordon

A World Without Love” is a song recorded by the English duo Peter and Gordon and released as their first single in February 1964, reaching number one in the UK Singles Chartin April. The song was written by Paul McCartney[1] and attributed to Lennon–McCartney. The B-side was “If I Were You” written by Peter and Gordon.

A World Without Love
A World Without Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of Late January 2013, Paul McCartney’s Original Demo has been leaked on YouTube. Its only 30 seconds in length, but offers a rare glimpse into the song’s origins. The clip was played at Peter Asher”s most recent string of concerts. We heard it on Cousin Brucie’s 60s show on Sirius XM where Peter Asher was interviewed by Cousin Brucie to position and explain the demo.

Peter Asher indicates he has another unheard Beatles demo, ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ which we are hoping he will play at the Fest for Beatles Fans.

Peter Asher and Chad & Jeremy are scheduled to appear at The Fest for Beatles Fans in New York next month at the Grand Hyatt.

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