John Lennon Live in NYC to get a Reworking

In our email yesterday, we made mention of John’s NYC Concert may be coming out in DVD and CD. We neglected to give credit to the source of the information. So with apologies, here it is:

EXCLUSIVE: Beatlefan contributing editor Howie Edelson reports that during a chat with Jack Douglas the producer revealed that plans are in the early stages for him to overhaul John Lennon’s 1972 Madison Square Garden performances for an upcoming CD and DVD release, with a 5.1 mix likely as well. The still-untitled collection is still in the planning stages with Yoko Ono. The new set will be an entirely new project apart from the 1986 “Live in New York City” collection, with Douglas examining all existing audio and film sources for the set.

This iconic photo of John was taken at the concert by Bob Gruen.


Legendary Beatles Impressario Sid Bernstein Passes at 95

It is with a very heavy heart that we have learned of the passing of legendary impressario Sid Bernstein. Sid was a dear friend to us and was the very first guest  for our first FEST in 1974. What a sweetheart he was. Always told his stories with patience and passion. Sid presented The Beatles at Carnegie Hall on Feb 12, 1964, three nights after their first  Ed Sullivan Show. But he will always be most remembered for being a big thinker. He had this idea of presenting The Beatles at Shea Stadium. He phone Beatles manager Brian Epstein with the idea. Brian was hesitant, not wanting his Beatles to play to any empty seats. Sid boldly guaranteed to purchase any unsold seats and the deal was made. The Beatles at Shea became the first of its kind and to most famous single concert in history, August 15, 1965. Sid was 95 years young. It was an honor to get to know him and have him join us at so many FESTS over the years. He was a man of vision and will be greatly missed, especially by Beatles fans around the world.


Chicago FEST Starts Tomorrow – Friday, Aug 9th

Here it is, early Thursday morning, and the set up is well under way. Today guests begin to arrive and everything goes into high gear. We have three days (tomorrow through Sunday) of Beatles excitement, energy, fun, premieres, live music, concerts, and all the other things that have made The Chicago FEST so popular for the past 37 years. So come one and come all, if you love The Beatles, this is the place to be. Advance tickets still available online through today. Individual day tickets will be available at the door. Go to our web page for all details. We hope you can join us.


Win a Las Vegas Getaway to see The Beatles LOVE bu Cirque du Soleil

Chicago FEST is only 9 days away and we are thrilled to once again offer a lucky winner and guest a Las Vegas Beatles Getaway they will never forget! This is our third year working with Cirque du Soleil, and for all of you who have seen The Beatles LOVE show, you know how breathtaking and fabulous it is. It only takes a minute to enter. Please Note: The Tweet with entry is optional for 2 extra entries – if you don’t do Twitter, simply delete the text in the Tweet box. You may enter once a day until August 11th and you can also score extra entries by sharing with your friends.
The winner of the first trip was actually in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare when her name was called. We have never heard such a loud scream. Last year, she came on stage to talk of her amazing experience. You do not have to be present to win and it is open to anyone in the continental U.S. 21 years or older. If you watch The Fest online you can watch Michelle announce the winner’s name. It can’t be you if you don’t enter!!!


First Advance Ticket Deadline is this Friday, July 26th

Only 16 days till Chicago FEST time!. Fans care coming for over 30 states and Canada for our big 37th Annual Beatles Celebration, the weekend of August 9-11, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Check out all the details on our convention page. We have a super lineup of Special Guests – British Invasion artists Chad and Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Joey Molland (of Badfinger), Greg Kihn, Mark Hudson, Author Larry Kane and the return of Freda Kelly, who returns to have the public debut of her film . This is a film Beatles fans won’t want to miss. It is going to be shown on Saturday, August 10th at around 5PM. Hope to see you there.


Happy Birthday Ringo

On the seventh day of the seventh month we celebrate the birthday of the greatest rock and roll drummer of all time.

In what is now a Ringo Birthday tradition, wherever you are at 12 Noon today, hold up a peace signal and say Peace and Love, Peace and Love, Peace and Love.

Keep on Rocking!!


Ringo’s Peace & Love Exhibit – Los Angeles

Our Beatles Expert Tom Frangione on ‘the kit’ at the Grammy Museum in LA

Ringo Starr: Peace & Love
Grammy Museum Los Angeles, CA
Opening June 12, 2013

Field report by NY METRO FEST Discussion Room Host Tom Frangione

“Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories”
–          the first verse of the first song on the first solo album by Ringo Starr

In a Beatle-filled summer dominated by Paul McCartney’s “Out There” tour and series of Wings era reissues, Ringo Starr is making headlines of his own.








For starters, he’s bringing his 12th All Starr Band out for an unprecedented 3rd leg of a tour that began in the States last summer and hit the road again at the start of the new year, traveling to Japan and the Pacific rim. In the fall, the current band heads to South America before returning to the States for a two night stand in Las Vegas to wrap things up.


But the big news this summer is the Ringo Starr: Peace & Love celebration now on exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Not unlike New York’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex exhibit dedicated to John Lennon a few years ago, it is a treasure trove of mostly unseen artifacts, media, and interactive exhibits that any Beatles or Ringo fan (count me in for both) will absolutely delight in.


That such a collection was able to be culled together at all is noteworthy, as much of the memorabilia Ringo had kept was destroyed in a 1979 fire at his home. Gathered from storage facilities his handlers managed, and even a few boxes of early mementos Ringo took possession of when his mother died in 1986, the exhibit covers the earliest Liverpool days, through each phase of the Beatles story, his careers as both a solo performer and with the All Starr Band (can they really be approaching their 25h anniversary next year?).


Upon landing in LA, I was struck by the street lamp banners lining every major street in the metropolitan area, including Hollywood Boulevard near the Capitol Records tower at Vine Street, where all four Beatles’ stars now reside on the walk of fame. While the Grammy Museum is home to numerous temporary and permanent exhibits, it was clear from the moment of entry that they rolled out the carpet for Ringo.

In the lobby was a replica Beatles stage set up, with Ludwig drums, an Epiphone guitar and a (gulp! Right handed) Hofner bass which fans are encouraged to use for photo ops. On that note, while the tickets state “no photography”, no such restriction was even remotely enforced on the exhibit floors.


An elevator deposited fans near the Clive Davis theater where a continuous 17-minute loop of video highlights is offered, containing some rarely seen concert and movie footage, as well as snippets of various promo films. (An exit escalator was itself a treat, as a hand painted Beatles/Ringo mural adorned the incline).


A chronology of Ringo’s life and career wraps around the exhibit walls, with a timeline of album releases guiding the way. The Beatles period is represented by two such lines (one each for the UK and US releases), which merge into one as the later years releases come into alignment. The chronology and album timeline continues through to the solo years, but sticks to proper studio releases (don’t look for Scouse the Mouse or any live albums). The center floor contains five huge display cases – one for the Liverpool years, one each for early-mid-and-later years of the Beatles, and one each for the solo and All Starr periods. Among the highlights:
–          Letters from Rory Storm and Brian Epstein;
–          A Rory Storm and the Hurricanes business card;
–          Original stage costumes, including the one from the 1967 Our World broadcast, the 1969 rooftop concert and of course, the Sgt. Pepper robe;
–          The suit Ringo wore for the David Frost Show “Hey Jude” taping;
–          The Goodnight Vienna “spaceman” suit;

Drumheads, posters, handbills, and a host of rare memorabilia flesh out each case. It must be pointed out that any “replica” items are fully designated as such, such as the “antenna” logo drumhead from the early Cavern Club days.

Speaking of drums, three iconic kits are on display (under glass): the Shea/Ed Sullivan kit (with replica drumhead), the later years set as seen in the Let It Be movie and rooftop concert, and a latter day All Starr Band set.

Beyond the movies and music memorabilia, there are sections dedicated to Ringo’s artwork and photography, including his new e-book Photograph, which proved spectacular. I’m old school and prefer my books on paper, thank you very much, but the interactive capacity such as Ringo’s own narration describing some of the shots, was a real treat.

On the topic of things interactive, there is a sing-along booth (amounting to a karaoke version of “Yellow Submarine”, complete with lyrics monitor. First, Ringo is heard on the original Beatles track, then the vocals go away and you take a stab at it. During playback, the on-screen offerings include “play it again” and “make it stop!”.

You say drumming is your madness? Two kits are on display, where fans are encouraged to take a virtual lesson with Ringo, via a computer screen mounted atop the bass drum. My musical DNA is of the six-string variety, but I have to admit it was a total blast!

More of a behind the scenes type? Try your hand at remixing a live version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” at the mini studio.

Elsewhere, a video station with a menu of on-demand career clips is available, as are several listening stations featuring Ringo’s biggest hits. A testimonial video with artists such as Jeff Lynne and Max Weinberg discussing Ringo’s musical legacy is offered as well. Select quotes from key figures in Ringo’s life adorn snare drum heads, tastefully sprinkled throughout the exhibit area. My favorite comes from George Harrison: “Playing without Ringo is like driving a car on three wheels”. Similar testimonials from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Martin, Jim Keltner, Max Weinberg, DJ Fontana and others round out the set.

Fans should allow 90 minutes to two hours to fully experience the exhibit (and more to see the other museum fare). The only disappointment I found was, of all places, in the gift shop. The only disappointment I found was, of all places, in the gift shop. Discounting a couple of mounted hand-signed drumheads put together by Ringo’s longtime associate, and FEST regular Neal Glaser of Celebrity Art (asking price: $1200 each, with 100% of the proceeds going to Ringo’s charity, the Lotus Foundation), there wasn’t a single item offered that was unique to the exhibit and mentioned it by name. There were Peace & Love t-shirts and other Ringo  garb typical of the merch offered at his concerts, and a selection of Ringo and Beatles CD’s and DVD’s. But if you wanted something with his name and the museum, and didn’t have the aforementioned $1200, you had to settle for a glossy two-sided announcement card, available in the lobby and various music outlets around town.

Fans living in or visiting the in the LA area are encouraged to do whatever it takes to navigate the mind-numbing traffic (ya know it don’t come easy) to experience this Sentimental Journey celebrating your friend and mine, Ringo Starr.

General admission tickets cost $12.95 and are available at the museum box office or by calling 1-888-9-AXS-TIX. The museum is open daily until 7:30pm.  For more information, visit


The Beatles Perform All You Need Is Love Live to 400 Million, 6/25/67

June 25, 1967 – This is one of those few seminal days in world history. We all take it for granted now that watching news or events live from any corner of the planet is not an issue. We can even Skype to anyone, anywhere! But on this date in 1967, the first ever live TV show, called Our World, beamed around the globe. Dozens of countries were invited to feature something from their culture to share. The U.K., of course, asked The Beatles to represent their country. Now this was only three weeks after Sgt. Pepper was released, so they had many new songs to choose from. But that wasn’t The Beatles style. They wanted to perform something BRAND NEW. So John either had just written this song or wrote it for the occasion, but it became an anthem for that summer and an anthem for all time – All You Need Is Love. Sitting in the studio were Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Eric Clapton, Mike McCartney, Pattie Harrison, Jane Asher, Marianne Faithfull, and others mostly visible to the camera and with a full orchestra. Even though every one was dressed in bright colors, the show was broadcast in black and white. In The Beatles Anthology DVD Set, the full color version is shown in its entirety. Go watch it today. It was very special, indeed!


They Say It’s Your Birthday – Paul!

And we certainly hope you’re gonna have a good time!! Finishing up the first U.S. part of his world tour last week, we can only watch in awe how Sir Paul is still going strong at 71 and performing for almost three hours, giving so many fans the greatest concerts they will ever see. For those of you who saw Paul in the past 3-4 weeks, we are sure you noticed many young fans in attendance. For all of us baby boomers, who have seen him in concert over the years, we know how great and special those shows have been. For the younger fans (10-30 years of age) who see him now, WE know they have just seen the greatest concert they will EVER see in their entire lives! Paul is simply the best at what he does. He has no equals. We are forever grateful and thankful for his long and winding trip he has taken us on. Happy Birthday, Paul. We love you.


Paul McCartney Performs in Brooklyn

Another amazing, unforgettable concert on Saturday night, in Brooklyn. It was Paul’s first time performing in this borough, at the new Barclays Center, and he brought the house down. There are not enough superlatives to describe the show. He gave us at least 6 or 7 songs not in the last tour, and most that he NEVER performed live previous to this 2013 Out There Tour. The A/V show prior to the concert was mostly brand new and the lighting effects was first rate. Paul and his band hit the stage at 8:50PM to a thunderous ovation and they ripped into Eight Days a Week, one of the new songs. For those going tonight or later this summer, I won’t mention the songs here (if there are any of you left who do not know the impeccable set list). For those of you who don’t want to know, it is hard, not impossible, to avoid)! Paul mixes up about three dozen Beatles, Wings and Solo songs in his set that didn’t end until around 11:30PM. We saw many FEST regulars there and also many parents who brought children to see Paul. We can safely say that these youngsters experienced the greatest concert THEY WILL EVER SEE!!! Tonight, our entire family is going (Mark, Carol, Michelle & Jessica) and we are counting the minutes! After headlining at the Bonnaroo Festival on the 14th, Paul is off for some concerts in Europe and returns to the states in early July for another series of shows, beginning at Fenway Park in Boston on July 9th.

If you have seen Paul on this tour, tell us what your favorite highlights were. We know there so many to choose from!!