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Beatles reunion, tribute was interesting show

By BY PATRICK HUBBELL
March 9, 2014 at 3:02 p.m.
Updated March 8, 2014 at 9:09 p.m.


A long-awaited reunion finally took place 50 years to the day the Beatles first appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles, came together on stage to perform a few songs.

The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Feb. 9, 1964. The largest number of viewers up to that time tuned in to see what the hullabaloo was about with these four hairy, cheeky lads from across the pond.

Before the show, Ed Sullivan handed them a telegram from Elvis Presley wishing them the best. Looking up after reading it, George Harrison deadpanned, "Elvis who?"

They performed "All My Loving," "Til' There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Viewers were treated to two more Sundays of Beatles, adding "This Boy," "From Me to You," "Twist and Shout" and "Please, Please Me" to the playlist.

In their wake were numerous other British bands, but none could equal the presence of the lads from Liverpool. From that time until the band broke up in 1970, the Beatles dominated the music and cultural scene.

A host of Grammy Award winners feted the honorees with their own versions of Beatles' songs. Most came off OK, but there was one in particular I could have done without. Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics had a reunion of their own - not that I'd ever noticed they ever went missing - and performed "Fool on the Hill."

Noticeably missing was Eric Clapton, who actually contributed to a Beatles song. He was invited by Harrison to play the guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on the White album. This in spite of the fact that Clapton wooed Harrison's wife away. Awkward, but handled with aplomb by the Beatle, who quipped that he and Clapton were "husbands-in-law."

I was distracted by four or five members of the Cirque du Soleil suspended about 50 feet in the air while another band was performing. On a show of this magnitude, one would expect a stumblebum or two to get tangled up in the cables all over the stage.

The aforementioned Lennox showed up again wearing a black T-shirt festooned with white lettering proclaiming "AIDS Positive." I assume she meant to convey a positive attitude toward those diagnosed with an incurable disease. It's a cheerful, sunny front, and that's what I'd want from the nurse taking care of me or the minister preparing me for the worst or an undertaker measuring me for my coffin. It just struck me as tasteless and out of place.

Nothing got in the way of the subdued joy of seeing the belated reunion of two of the four members of the world's greatest rock band. Starr reminded us why he stole the show on "A Hard Day's Night." And McCartney was his customary, charming self. His voice seems a little strained, but he carried off "Hey, Jude" quite well for someone blowing out more than 70 candles.

I suppose they had to show Yoko Ono out of respect to her deceased husband, but she was kept to a minimum out of respect to the rest of us. Whoever hid the microphone from her should be rewarded.

This time, there were no screaming fans, no teenage girls fainting in the aisles, and, of course, two of the Beatles couldn't be there, may they rest in peace. David Letterman, whose show is broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theatre, added some color with interviews with McCartney and Starr, who reminisced about the night America met them.

It was certainly a thrill watching the act we've known for all these years.

Patrick Hubbell lives in Victoria and is a Spanish teacher in the Victoria school district.

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