A CLEAR AND HONEST ASSESSMENT OF THE BEGINNING
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 03/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD, like the very first record, is more about Tony Sheridan, and to his credit, Sheridan, along with first manager Alan Williams, Klaus Voorman, Astrid Kirrscher and others, sets the historical record clearly and fairly in focus. At that point, he was essentially the right man at the right time for The Beatles. Listening to his recollections and evaluations, he is unabashedly honest and un-self-serving (not sure that's an adjective, but you get the point). He was the beginning of what became the rock and roll idea of a LEAD GUITARIST. He played a Gibson jazz hollow body. He found ways to improvise on songs that he often felt were of no real consequence, and yet in the hands of the right soloist and the right band, something else utterly amazing was possible. He knew, probably not to the full extent, that Paul, George and John were a radical departure from what was standard in both Germany and England. His amazement that Burt Kaempfert did not recognize what The Beatles were capable of is genuine. Acknowledging that even he and The Beatles may not have been aware of it accurately, still in all, he knew they knew they had ambition and the talent to back it up.
Williams' trust and faith in them as young men of character is clearly expressed. He sets the Pete Best situation in focus: going to Hamburg, they needed a drummer. Best had a drum kit and could play well enough. Neither Best nor The Beatles were ever set on each other.
The DVD's most telling moments come from Astrid and Klaus: in addition to her insights and recollections of Paul, John, George and for her, most touchingly, Stuart, her incredible photographs will haunt you as much as Tony Sheridan's recollections show a band at the nascent moment of its ascendancy.
Consistently throughout the recollections, you understand what a complete band they were even by the time they hit Hamburg. Universally, each commentator attests to Paul's complete confidence, diplomatic skills, and prodigious musicality; John's manic insecurities and cheeky humour, with the cracks formed in childhood beginning to quickly spread with the tragic loss of his friend Stuart; George's inner strength at the age of 17 that only got deeper as he knew well enough to keep his own counsel, look after the less secure Lennon (which would rise to finishing most of Lennon's work in The Beatles post Sgt Pepper), and consider attentively and professionally the technical and passionate skills of a better musician, such as Sheridan; Stuart's honest appreciation that his heart lay elsewhere. For him to remain would have held them back and taken him away from his beloved Astrid. Best, by all accounts, spent less than 10% of his time with the band when they were off, and so the prospect of change hung in the air. Later, Paul would reach out to Ringo, as he had to George, as he insisted that Stuart leave. Sounds cold, but it seems fairly clear, as you look back that Paul and George would have clearly made it regardless. John and Ringo completed a chemistry that was something other altogether. And in the end, what became the greatest rock quartet of all time constantly espoused all those virtues that make us better human beings. Here at the beginning, the engines are revving up, and thanks to Tony Sheridan, the necessary fuel was added."
Missing a key track
reechie | Lebanon, PA USA | 03/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Be aware that the USA edition of this DVD omits a key track from the Sheridan sessions, the Lennon & Harrison penned instrumental "Cry For A Shadow." If you're looking for a source for all of The Beatles' Hamburg studio recordings, you'll either need to find an imported copy, or stick with the standard CD versions of the Sheridan tapes."
A total ripoff.
Joe | San Francisco, California | 11/12/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If you expect a rare footage of the Beatles with Tony Sheridan, forget it, you would not get it. Instaed, you will get a lot of interviews, not all of them relative to the topic, a lot of brownish- yellowish stills of Liverpool and vicinity, and of Hamburg, off course.
The fancy package, including real postcards, did not convience me a bit.
With all due respect to Tony Sheridan and everyone else who appears on this production, I believe that the costumer who buys this product would expect some otencity, especially when it comes to the music: a lot of the tracks are digitally re-mastered or recently recorded.
There is so much superior Beatles materials out there,I simply cannot understand what is the real porpuse of this production, other than making some dough on behalf of the group.
Me, a keen Beatles Fan.
Not very impressed
reechie | 07/13/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was pretty hesitant to buy this DVD in the first place, but when I watched it, I was quite disappointed. It does have a lot of info, but the consistently brown coloring throughout the interviews got on my nerves. I expected more pictures of the early Beatles, but the photos shown in this documentary were used again and again. I must admit, the packaging is very attractive, but that's about it. I did like Astrid's chapter on the DVD in which she talks about the Beatles personally(She should have her own DVD), but other than that, I wasn't blown away by this DVD. View at your own risk."