I knew that this movie was half documentary and half rooftop concert, and I love these songs, I just didn’t recall how chopped up the documentary part was.
As a purist I’m sure seeing the evolution and practices of some of these songs is interesting, but if you like your Beatles rehearsed and polished this is not going to thrill you. At varying times each of the Beatles seems bored with what is going on. other times they are really into it and having a great time. I guess that is the same with any band practicing.
The personality of each Beatle is on display. There are moments when they are all jamming and loving it, and you can see that when they are playing and not directing each other on how to play, they are really enjoying it.
About 37 minutes in after a bit of “Long And Winding Road” they bust out some old rock songs. Everyone seems to be having a great time. That’s when you see how well they did when they were on the same page.
To be fair, it must have been really odd to have a film crew in watching your every move, good and bad, and not have some sense of performing to the camera.
At about an hour in, the rooftop concert begins. This is the part that is awesome and worth watching the first hour.
Here you see all the songs that have straggled in and out of rehearsals finally come together (pun?) for a performance on the rooftop of the Apple building.
This part of the film is like an old friend. I noticed this time though all the stuff I thought were ad-libs but were actually honed in the sessions. They still work though. Nothing about seeing the rooftop concert sours my love of the album.
I like this bits of the crowds below looking up and wondering what is going on.
I don’t know who had the idea to do the rooftop concert, but it was a stroke of genius. It got shut down by the police eventually, but for that little while it was awesome.
As the unofficial last Beatles live performance together there is a weird vibe watching it now, knowing how the rest of history ensued for the band, but it’s impossible not to love it anyway.
I’m off to the last and final movie in my Beatles journey, Yellow Submarine.