Beatles Live Project update

The Beatles Live – news trickles in slowly.

A Beatles news page of the Japanese Universal Music site now has a few details regarding “The Beatles Live Project”. The “project” part of the title has been dropped, and THE BEATLES LIVE is the current working title. The page also has the autumn of 2016 as the approximate time of the film’s release.

Translating somewhat awkwardly from Japanese, using Google Translate, the page goes on to say that “The Beatles Live” covers the Liverpool era of the band, and chronicles the tour years from 1963 onwards, spanning 15 countries, 90 cities and 166 performances and ending with the August 29, 1966 concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The film interweaves filmed concert footage with interviews with celebrities and officials, exploring the evolution and phenomenal popularity of the group.

The news item goes on to list film credits:

Director: Ron Howard.

Producer: White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Scott Pasukutchi. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer.

Executive producers: Apple Corps Ltd. represented by Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde, Imagine Entertainment represented by Michael Rosenberg, White Horse Pictures represented by Guy East and Nicholas Ferral.

The production crew has been pretty tight lipped about what’s in the film, if there’s going to be spin-off products etc. Here’s what White Horse Pictures writes on their website:

“The Beatles Live Untitled Project” is a feature-length documentary focused on The Beatles’ touring years, from the early days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool and engagements in Hamburg in the early ’60s to their last public concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in 1966. By their last tour date in August of 1966, The Beatles had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. The cultural phenomenon their touring helped create, known as “Beatlemania,” was something the world had never seen before and laid the foundation for the globalization of culture.

Beatlemania was not just a phenomenon. It was the catalyst for a cultural shift that would alter the way people around the world viewed and consumed popular culture. At its core the film will be a piece of raw entertainment that includes an undercurrent that explains the climate that allowed for this cultural pivot point to occur. The unique conditions that caused technology and mass communication to collide. The film will also explore the incomparable electricity between performer and audience that turned the music into a movement – a common experience into something sublime. Most of all, the film will aim to illuminate what it was about the band itself – both the music and the musicians – that made the world fall at their feet, to unfurl itself in a joyful wave of youthful revolution that would reverberate through the ages.

Here at the Wogblog headquarters, word has reached us that a two hour plus “rough cut” of the film was screened in Los Angeles this month, and only to people involved with the film project. Still, the fact that Universal Music in Japan now has a news item about it, is perhaps is a sign that we are about to get some more detailed news from the official sources.

As fans of The Beatles, all we need to see is a multi-disc video collection stringing together all available performance footage in chronological order, perhaps linked with a few comments by the Fab Four themselves and Brian Epstein, taken from sixties interviews and press conferences. But that’s not a likely scenario. This will be a film targeting a broader audience, and we must prepare ourselves for an ordinary documentary with talking heads and some edited performances from televised concerts, video taped concerts or home movie footage from concerts. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see some stuff we didn’t know existed. But we’d surely wish that Apple Corps would bring out full concert home video discs as spin off products for the fans. The Beatles’ legacy deserves that kind of treatment.


Official website

9 Responses

  1. Mikko Suhonen says:

    My ideal vision of the movie would be the experience that very few of us have had, to enter and enjoy the Beatles in concert. So what I would like to have in the film would be a collage of live material creating a live experience as authentic as possible, very much like how Paul's Get Back -film was made.

    So what I am not interested in is some celebrities telling us how wonderful and important the Beatles was or even the Beatles themselves repeating the things they have told us in numerous interviews before. Instead I would love to have interwoven audience reactions and present day recollections of people that were there, if possible the same people that are present in the vintage footage. It'll be interesting to see what will be the outcome.

    But like you said, maybe the more interesting part of the Live Project would be the side products that will evidently (and most certainly should) become availble. The complete concert dvd/blu ray editions ( SHea, Washington, Budokan) restored as good as possible and the long missed Hollywood Bowl album released on cd extended from the original vinyl release. And a book with lots and lots of images, vintage press clippings and so on.

    It will be most interesting to see how elaborate and large variety of products will become availble. If is only a film of live clips with Paul and Ringo laughing and reminiscing and a soundtrack album, I will be most disappointed.

  2. Brian Fried says:

    My guess is that the release will come in early November, right before the big blockbusters hit movie screens this year. This will be accompanied a soundtrack that will be aimed at the Christmas market.

    But I don't think this is going to lead to many more releases because The Beatles have been focusing on anniversaries: 10th anniversary of Live At The BBC gets a second volume, 50th anniversary of the American debut gets a box set, 15th anniversary of "1" gets a DVD release, etc.

    I expect that this film is aimed at the 50th anniversary of the final concert, which explains the 1966/2016 connection. Early 2017 might see new edition of Love released on CD, because THAT music is being reworked for its 10th anniversary. Summer 2017 will see something special for Sgt. Pepper's 50th… you can bet on that. Which leaves 2018 *possibly* being the Let It Be DVD ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Get Back sessions, since 2019 will be the 10th anniversary of the present remasters.

  3. Matthew Love says:

    *20th anniversary of Live At The BBC Brian. I know, hard to believe right? 👍

  4. Brian Fried says:

    Oops. Thanks for the catch, Matthew!

  5. Andrew says:

    Some of you may have seen the Live Project's facebook page which started
    with promise but has been incredibly quiet for the last 3 years!

  6. Martin says:

    This film will probably be a cut and paste job aimed at a younger audience. Not unlike The Stones' 'Crossfire Hurricane' film. There was some great and rare footage in the Stones film, but none of it was in its entirety and it's unlikely that ABKCO will ever put out a Stones version of 1+. Just like a chronology of full live Beatles gigs are unlikely to ever be released.

    For Pepper's 50th in 2017, maybe there will be a Pepper/1967 box set. Similar to the 'Pet Sounds' box set that came out some time ago….

  7. James Peet says:

    It feels entirely pointless to me to have "celebrities" giving their opinions, when, a) unless Fabheads, they are not authorities on the group's gigs and b) they are unrelated to the story.

    One thing is clear, not just from this project but the way the group is handles, there is an Americanisation of the Beatles which I dislike. Things are presented from an American standpoint and this documentary is not likely to be any different.

  8. Unknown says:

    After the Beatles 1+ Blu Ray debacle, I have officially entered a very skeptical place with Apple. Many of you have probably been there for a while and are wondering what took me so long. My radar has been up for a while. I really loved what they did SONICALLY with the 2009 remasters, but we got damn short changed with those sets and especially with the mono set. No bonus material? Crappy videos to accompany the stereo set?

    Then the 2012 stereo vinyl disaster.

    Then the Beatles 1+ package. No promotion done on that and the sales numbers show it. (And let's face it…more garbage for the younger audience in the form of lame intros on all of the videos and Paul and Ringo's "commentaries" we absolutely miserable)

    The 2014 mono vinyl release was probably the best thing they have done since Anthology so are we going to have to wait another 20 years for another stellar product?

    This Ron Howard movie just might not be all that good and certainly not for us, the hardcores. Nothing is for the hardcores anymore. They have our dollars. They want new dollars. They know we'll still buy it regardless.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but not all that hopeful.

  9. reunionconcert says:

    2016 – Beatles LIVE
    2017 – Sgt. Pepper's / "Our World" TV special 50 years. McCartney and renowned musicians from the 5 continents playing "All You Need Is Love" at Abbey Road Studios (?)
    2018 – Yellow Submarine Remake
    2019 – Let It Be Blu Ray
    2020 – Now and Then

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