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We've been involved in Beatles fanzines and websites since the mid-eighties but I can't honestly recall a more exciting year than 2018 for Beatles fans.
It's rather spooky but here are my Top 10 highlights from my year in chronological order:
24th/25th February 2018 GEORGE HARRISON 75th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS Jackie Spencer, has been a qualified Beatles tour guide since 1995 in the Beatles hometown of Liverpool. Her Beatles tours and special days are exceptional and George Harrison's 75th birthday celebrations was no different. Jackie's Hari Day was a full in-depth eight hour tour of Liverpool visiting many places relevant to George Harrison and the Beatles. including as Jackie put it music, laughter, Indian things, trees, cups of tea, jelly babies, ukuleles, python-esque comedy, pirates....and more.
The following day it was off to Portmeirion, home of the Prisoner TV series and also some suprisingly George Harrison related stories. While I knew that George had spent his 50th birthday at Portmeirion, he also taped interviews in a chair by a window for the Beatles Anthology. After a tour of Beatles related sites in Portmeirion, a viewing of Good Old Freda was followed by a 30 minute interview and Q&A with Freda Kelly. The evening was completed with two sets of George Harrison classics and rarities by Paul Jones of the Cavern Club Beatles, ably supported by fellow Cavern Club Beatle Tony Coburn and Charlie Skeggs.
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9th June 2018 PAUL McCARTNEY, LIVE AT THE PHILHARMONIC PUB, LIVERPOOL beatlesnow.com is also responsible for holding a regular monthly Beatles night in Manchester City centre. One of the features is our annual Mad Day Out, held mostly in Liverpool.
Set for the Saturday, 9th June 2018 a few of us set off to visit the John & Yoko, Double Fantasy exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool and a trip out to Port Sunlight but everything was about to change.
Word on the ground was that Paul McCartney & band had arrived in Liverpool with James Corden and a secret gig was in the offering. Wristbands were available through a website, we tried, we failed.
Rumours were rife that the gig was either at the Philharmonic Hall, Philharmonic Music Rooms or wait for it, the Philharmonic Pub. READ MORE
2nd June 2018/11th July 2018 RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND EUROPEAN TOUR Okay, we didn't get to go to any of Ringo's European tour dates but it was a highlight of 2018 that he announced his first European tour since 2011 although he chose to ignore the UK!
26th July 2018 PAUL McCARTNEY, LIVE AT THE CAVERN CLUB, LIVERPOOL If someone had said to me, in 2018, you'll see Paul McCartney live in Liverpool at the Philharmonic Pub, the Cavern Club and the Echo Arena, I'd have laughed in their face but that's what's happening. As they say two down one to go.
We began queuing outside the Cavern Club at o630, there were already around 20 fans in the queue, some had been there since midnight. An announcement was made on Twitter that tickets were available from the Echo Arena at 1000 (although 20 tickets ended up being given to fans at the Cavern Club). Luckily we got to know before then and made our way by taxi, eventually managing to obtain wristbands and tickets. Next stop was the Cavern Club to secure a place in the queue. READ MORE
22nd - 28th August 2018 INTERNATIONAL BEATLEWEEK FESTIVAL At the 2017 Beatleweek Festival, Bill Heckle & Jon Keats took to the stage in the Adelphi Hotel Ballroom and spelled out the problems for Beatleweek. In a nutshell it was going to be scaled down in 2018, it was the only way the festival would survive.
To say that Beatleweek 2018 was one of the best ever was an understatement and I've been going since 1984! Cavern City Tours need to be applauded for putting together a brilliant programme of Beatleweek favourites and new bands appearing for the first time that soon became fan favourites!
7th September 2018 EGYPT STATION - NO.1 ALBUM By the time Egypt Station was released on the 7th September 2018 the promotion for the album was unprecedented by Paul. Carpool Karaoke, secret gigs at the Philharmonic Pub and Cavern Club. Gigs at Abbey Road. LIPA and finally on the day of release an historic set streamed live from Grand Central Station, New York City celebrating the release of his album, Egypt Station.
All this and the fact that he had released another great album in the form of Egypt Station gave Paul is first number one album on the Billboard chart for 36 years.
5th October 2018 JOHN LENNON'S IMAGINE BOX SET On the 5th October Universal Music celebrated John Lennon’s solo career with a six-disc, 140 track box set, Imagine – The Ultimate Collection.
Spread over four CD's/2 Blu Ray discs the remixed & remastered set offered new ultimate mixes, raw studio mixes, 5.1 surround sound mixes, and a Quadrasonic album mix. The set features unheard demos, rare outtakes, isolated tracks and The Evolution Documentary, a unique track-by-track audio montage. Imagine is available in the following formats including a 2CD Deluxe Edition, CD remaster, 2LP 180 gram black vinyl edition and 6 disc Ultimate box set. Don't forget there are three versions of the Imagine book as well!
9th November 2018 THE BEATLES WHITE ALBUM 50th ANNIVERSARY RELEASES What was turning into an expensive year for Beatles fans went into overdrive in November/December. The 9th November 2018 saw the 50th anniversary release of the Beatles legendary White album, an inspiration for so many artists in it's 50 year existence from the 60's to the present day.
The only disappointing aspect of the 50th anniversary White album celebrations was the fact that no video footage of the Beatles in India or during the recording sessions was made available in the releases when we know it exists!
But, that said it was business as usual with a series of quality releases from the Beatles.
The 6CD/Blu ray Deluxe box set contained the following:
CDs 1 & 2: 2018 stereo album mix
CD3: 27 Esher Demos
CDs 4, 5 & 6: Sessions - 50 additional recordings
Blu-ray: - 2018 album mix in high resolution PCM stereo/- 2018 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 album mix/2018 Dolby True HD 5.1 album mix/2018 direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix
The album was also available in a 3CD set, 4LP vinyl set & yes, the original 2LP set.
7th December 2018 WILD LIFE, RED ROSE SPEEDWAY & WINGS 1971-73 ARCHIVE COLLECTION RELEASES A turning point in Paul McCartney Archive Collection releases. The regular Paul McCartney Archive Collection editions of Wild Life & Red Rose Speedway while containing more treasures from the Paul McCartney vaults were a mite expensive but the temptation of Wings 1971-73 deluxe release was there for all to decide on at the pricey sum of £319!
It contained the Wild Life & Red Rose Speedway Archive Collections plus a 20 track CD of Wings 1972 European tour from 5 concerts and other memorabilia including a reproduction of the 1972 European Tour programme.
Will this set the trend for further Archive releases? Well the fact that it was a limited edition and sold out before release would suggest yes. Add to the fact that the next two releases London Town (1978) and Back to the Egg (1979) could be prime for a deluxe 1978-79 edition.
Copyright Eddie M/www.beatlesnow.com
12th-16th December 2018 PAUL McCARTNEY UK 'FRESHEN UP' TOUR - LIVERPOOL, GLASGOW & LONDON Three years after his last visit to our shores Paul McCartney announced three tour dates in the UK for December 2018. We ended up queuing for 24 hours at the Echo Arena in Liverpool but boy was it worth it. Great seats and a fantastic gig from Paul McCartney. At nearly three hours you could see his delight at being back in Liverpool, although this was the third time we'd seen him live in his hometown during 2018 he still ensured we finished 2018 on the highest note.