Thursday, November 12, 2015

ES-Say #47 Let It Be- The 60s modernised on The Beatles 1+

                       The Beatles 1(2015)- UK copy not purchased from EMI Austria.

On November 6th, last week, when The Beatles 1+ CD and Videos collection was released, I was on vacation. This meant that while I was living it up in Vienna, my selected version(the CD and one DVD) was at home waiting for me under a heap of four-day-old mail. As I was aware of this on my trip the whole time, I had a slight problem remember which version(of about seven, if you include the vinyl), I bought. Vienna supposedly had a entertainment retail store called "Libro". While unable to find this shop to look for The Beatles release, I ran into EMI Austria Music Store by mistake. Hooray!    
                                                   Upstairs-Jazz, Downstairs-Beatles

The Foot Bomber(see previous ES-Say entries), reluctantly, went in with me as I skipped merrily around the shop. I rush past the new 1+ cardboard display containing the new release, to find every single Paul McCartney Archive Collection standard box sets. As the prices were in Euros, but still expensive, I left the box sets alone. Gazing up to the next wall on my left was a framed 89/90 McCartney tour photo. Instead of asking if the photo was for sale, I cornered a shop assistant to ask how much any mono Beatles CD collection would cost. Five minutes later, I was quoted another expensive price, which led me to conclude Ebay was my only other option. 
             The outside EMI Austria store window display-November 7th, 2015

After walking away from the sales counter, The Foot Bomber, handed me a 13 Euro copy of 2014's Long Tall Sally EP Record Store Day release. How The Foot remembered that I wasn't able to find it on record store day was news to me(as he is the blog's Lex Luther). Most of the 1+ videos were for region 6, so I didn't consider buying them. Needless to say, I bought "Long Tall Sally"(rerelease, 2014).
After arriving back home, the first thing I did was tear open the parcel containing my new Beatles single cd & dvd purchase.  The Beatles 1+ (2015), updated the stand alone CD release of 1 (2000) for the 2nd time(previously done in 2011) and released restored videos of these hits for DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time. Paul McCartney provides some new video commentary, which for me was the highlight on the single DVD. Peace & Love to Ringo Starr for some new intros even when he really didn't have that much to add. 

The reason Paul's cheery commentary for a few videos was welcome, was because of the "issues" I had with the 27 restored videos. First off, the Black & White footage at times had more of a Grey tinted color, regardless if I approved of the live performance used to represent the #1 songs. As all the film deterioration was nearly eliminated, I didn't like it. Fans in the mid-60s watched these first time around on small, basic, often cheap, or rented television sets. That's the way it was and that's how its basically been re-aired over the years- as a poor quality, but authentic image. 

As the reasoning behind "picture restoration" is to improve these Beatles films digitally, it really only works best with color film. Even tweaking color has mixed results. I can only speak as a viewer when without any real technical mumbo jumbo and comment on what looks good or not. Sitting down for 110 mins straight, wearing glasses, and having to digest the various color altering from video to video, is bound to get a mixed reaction.

Yes, some of the Black/white/grey was acceptable, and probably best on "I wanna hold your hand" and "I feel Fine". When it came to improved color "Paperback Writer", "Eight Days A Week," (from Shea Stadium, seemingly ready for a future full restored version), "Hello, goodbye" and "Penny Lane" get my vote. As I was beginning to think "Elenor Rigby"(video from the "yellow Submarine" movie) could have improved with a 2015 remake, the 2000 promo video for "Come Together" killed the idea. "Come Together" (2000 Melon Dezign version) is included here, and it's just awful. I starting swearing while watching it as it could have been a commercial for an Ipod with annoying swirling computer animation of the Fab Four. 

Moving on towards the last ten videos, all the "Apple Films Ltd" or Michael Lindsay-Hogg directed videos were decent and expectedly good. My "issues" were more about editing the later period pieces, for example, the combining of Get Back rooftop performances clips combined into one version. I'd definately enjoy watching these again, sans "All You Need Is Love". This live satellite version, was colorised(in 1995) from the original black and white broadcast. This version was used in The Beatles Anthology. Yet, the film restoration team for this new 1+ release twenty years later, didn't bother to try again to colorise the original 1967 version. It's like watching a colorised 40s film, where you spend the whole time grumbling it should have been left untouched in the original format, because "it's a classic."

The Beatles have reached a classic music status over the decades. If people want to improve the quality of their legacy, all it is facelift- youthful looking on the outside with an underlying layer of old, but actual features, hidden away from public.

Interestingly, there was a promo television program on Wednesday night on ITV in the UK-"The Nation's Favourite Beatles Number One". For an hour and a half, 27 hits were counted down out of order from the 1+ CDs 27 track listing. Short clips of 1+ videos were pepper into the countdown in preview, while other performances not on 1+ of the same songs or random footage, not always in "restoration". Other " nation's favourite" programs have seen CD collections released into retail shops(Elvis, for example). Regardless of The Beatles edition being as top notch as it was, the purpose of airing the show was to get the public's attention to buy 1+ exclusively. It's more likely that off shoots of this promo programming will reach the bootleggers. For now, I have stacked my new copy of 1 on top of my new copy of Falco 3(which I also did buy at EMI Austria Music Shop).

I'm considering moving to Vienna until 1+ is forgotten for the next Apple release on the horizon... 

ES-Say #47, coincidentally, has color problems, the red sections are not for emphasis but inability to alter a setting. Remember, you are always welcome to join the "Not Saying Anything To Paul McCartney" Update Group On Facebook , containing up-to-date news, views, and cutie pie photos(occasionally) of young Beatle Paul!  

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