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Monday, February 10, 2014

ANTHOLOGY 2 - side two

I Feel Fine - Four selections from a live performance for the TV program Blackpool Night Out taped on August 1st, 1965 open this side.  It is unclear whether an attempt was made to recreate the feedback at the top of their hit song from late '64, as it is faded in.  You can clearly hear on each of his vocals that John's voice was ragged on this evening.

Ticket to Ride - Paul introduces this number from the spring of '65.  They truncate this tune by not repeating the first verse and bridge as they did on the record, instead jumping straight to a repeat of the second verse.

Yesterday - The most interesting item from this concert is the first-ever live performance of this song.  George does the intro ("For Paul McCartney of Liverpool, opportunity knocks.") and the title gets no reaction from the crowd, because they had never heard it before, since its appearance on the album Help! was still almost a week away.  Only a few screams from the audience puncture Paul's fine, albeit somewhat nervous rendition with a live string section.  John typically undermines the proceedings with the remark, "Thank you, Ringo.  That was wonderful."

Help! - John introduces the group's most recent "electronic noise" as the evening's final number.  He then manages to forget some of the lyrics to the second verse before Paul and George's backing vocals clue him in as to what he should be singing.  A chord from the program's orchestra brings the group's set to a close.

Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby - A whole different level of screaming is heard on this next track - farther away and yet much louder and consistently present.  The historic first concert at Shea Stadium is represented by this Carl Perkins number which the boys had covered on Beatles For Sale.  George handles the intro and leads the band through a surprisingly cohesive performance considering the conditions.  Though the group most likely could not be heard at all by the record-setting crowd, the amplification is certainly louder than any they had previously had available to them, and the guitars have a heavier sound than usual.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - Only three selections from the Rubber Soul sessions appear on the collection, starting with take 1 of this beautiful Lennon composition, recorded on October 12th, 1965.  George's plucking of the sitar sounds rudimentary here - amazing, then, that he turned in such a fine performance nine days later when the song was remade.  John and Paul's vocal lines and delivery also differ from those on the much-improved remake.  

I'm Looking Through You - This is a substantially different arrangement of this McCartney number than the one we all know.  Whether this take was considered to be complete is hard to tell, especially in the rather uninteresting instrumental breaks which feature repetitive chords from an organ and a rambling lead guitar from George.  At this stage, Paul also had yet to write the great "why, tell me why" bridge that really helps flesh out the song.  They remade it not just once, but twice before perfecting it for release.

12-Bar Original - This instrumental is a fascinating rarity credited to all four Beatles.  For the Anthology, the six-minute-plus number is wisely edited down to just under three minutes, as the boys (with producer George Martin on harmonium) are definitely out of their element with this type of material.  While it is fun to listen to now, the decision to keep it off the album at that time was certainly an astute one.

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