…I looooove them! ♥♥♥♥When will I ever get the chance to watch my favorite band on the big screen, let alone perform live (since only two of them are alive)? Imagine my frustration when I missed The Beatles: Eight Days a Week when it hit the theaters last September. Ayi and I were supposed to catch it but then she had limited vacation days and the moviehouses only played this documentary for like 2 days! I was actually surprised it was distributed here at all. So when a friend alerted me a couple of months later that it was being shown at the UP Film Institute, I was beyond happy!
Guess how many Beatlenatics were in the audience. A dozen, haha! I was there early on Nov. 22 but my ticket said Nov. 17; that’s because there were 3 showings on these 2 dates and obviously there’s not that many of “our kind.” A couple of senior citizens and I sneaked inside ahead of our schedule (after we went to the loo). I heard the lady ask, “How can they not dance?” At this point, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ was being played by The Beatles at Shea Stadium, which happens to be the first major stadium concert EVER in popular musical history, with 55,600 in attendance (August 15, 1965) – including a little girl named Caryn Elaine Johnson, aka Whoopi Goldberg! In the documentary, she related that when she was 9, her mother had the most magnificent surprise: Whoopi wanted to attend the concert but she knew they didn’t have enough money. So when they were in front of the stadium and she was told they were staying for the concert, her “head went *POOF*!” Now I know why ‘Sister Act,’ one of my go-to movies when I was a kid, had this scene:
My key takeaway from when I took a short course on documentary filmmaking under Nick Deocampo’s Center for New Cinema is the importance of ‘tuhog‘ – the way the segments of a film are coherently fastened together by that single story that you want to tell. A ‘docu’ is not just a montage or a chronological record of events or a series of interviews… it has to have, I don’t know how else to put it, a ‘soul’ – an element that makes it whole. And in Ron Howards’ ‘Eight Days a Week,’ it’s what made the Beatles great. They are, undoubtedly, superb musicians and extremely excellent performers, but more than that, they are great human beings who managed to keep their heads on their shoulders amid all the craze that is to be called ‘Beatlemania.’ Lesser mortals would not have been able to handle it (and still come up with timeless songs like the band did). I’m willing to bet my soul on that.
I learned nothing new about the Fab Four, really, from ‘Eight Days a Week (The Touring Years: 1962-1966).’ But it was pretty nice to hear Paul say that the lightbulb moment came when Ringo joined the group. He exclaimed, “This is it! Now we’re a band!” (can’t remember if those were his exact words). Beatle fans are already aware of Ringo’s role in the band – he’s not “just the drummer” or “the funny one” – for me, he’s the heart of the group. His backbeats are the heartbeats of The Beatles as one entity. It was funny when he recalled their first Shea Stadium gig; he said he had to watch the others’ behinds to know where they were in the song because they couldn’t hear each other from the noise of the crowd. Typical Ringo, haha! Honestly, the 30-minute bonus reel of this docu (the remastered Shea Stadium concert) was enough to get me to go watch them on the silverscreen, even if I’ve seen the whole thing on YouTube. Having John ecstatically pounding away on the piano and goofing up with George during ‘I’m Down’ puts me on cloud nine.I chose to have a seatmate on the 800-seat theater, and she was about Ma’s age. She couldn’t hide her ‘kilig‘ (“romantic excitement”) over the Fab Four. At times she would talk to me, but it was easy to ignore her since I felt I was back in the 60’s drooling over the best band in the world. She’s alright though; while waiting for the movie to start we engaged in an animated conversation about The Beatles – exchanging trivias, anecdotes and such – and even took the same Ikot jeepney ride home (nilibre pa niya ako, haha). We absolutely enjoyed the movie. I mean, just to see them up there, that’s a lot for one Beatle Nut to digest.
Days before and days after watching the movie, Beatles songs were loudly playing in my head. If Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr were to come to Manila for a concert (although I doubt that because of the 1966 incident below), I’d probably sell a kidney as well. 😋