When I walked into the Beatles Exhibition on fall semester’s Reading Day, I expected to see some cool things. However, I walked out a Beatles fan.
The first part of the fun night included the rare Beatles artifacts displayed in the Dodd’s theater lobby, most of them from the collection of Professor Wes Davis. Forty-five original picture sleeves documenting the Beatles from the very beginning of their career accompanied some rare and more unusual albums.
Some other interesting pieces were the original programs from each of the Beatles’ three United States concert tours, and the original movie lobby cards displaying all four Beatles from their three full-length films. What made all of this so remarkable was that they were all originals. Though there were many other amazing pieces on display, one of the most valued was the 1966 version of Yesterday and Today, a compilation of songs left off of the American Beatles albums.
There had been a lot of controversy about the album cover. An image of The Beatles dressed in butcher smocks and holding raw meat and severed doll parts was more shocking back then. However, some lucky customers got this cover with the new boring cover glued on top of it.
After enjoying the pictures and memorabilia, the crowd moved into Dodd’s theater to see the Nathan Ward Band. When previously interviewed, Nathan was lobbying for seven songs instead of the five allowed. It seemed that a compromise was reached and the band performed six songs. Throughout the night, Nathan proved his musical well-roundedness by singing, playing the piano, playing the guitar and playing the keyboard. Two of the six songs performed two could be found on the Nathan Ward Band’s album Yesterday Meets Today. These were “Back in the USSR” and “Lady Madonna.” The four other songs were some of the Beatles’ greatest hits: “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Let It Be,” and “Paperback Writer.”
After the curtains closed and Wes Davis provided a synopsis, the movie Across The Universe started to play. If anyone has never seen this before, they are seriously missing out. This is one of the most beautiful movies of all time. Thirty-four Beatles songs are sung in this movie, and there are other references to the Beatles throughout.
I could not agree with Professor Davis more when he called the movie “phantasmagorical.” The movie opens with a serene man singing while sitting lonesome on a beach. Within the first couple of minutes, the mood changes through violence, war, police brutality and love. “Hold Me Tight” starts playing and the scene switches between a retro dance and a grungy concert. This proves how versatile the Beatles’ songs are. Both of the boyfriends at these events are leaving to go far away.
The one from the retro dance is going away to boot camp, while the other one is going to find his father in another country. A cheerleader, a hitchhiker, and a young boy in a warzone all sing songs within the next couple of scenes. However, all of these scenes soon intertwine in this movie of love and loss. There are psychedelic color affects that make this movie so trippy.
The world is going through a revolution through war, antiwar protests and music. Set during the Vietnam War, this movie perfectly exemplifies this turbulent period in U.S. history.
Overall, Beatles Night was a huge success and some new fans were made. Though four hours long, the night managed to fly by. Hopefully, programs like this one will continue to exist at UNH.