Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Manhattan, chapter two.

Okay, okay, it's been a long time since Strawberry Fields: three and a half months in fact. My bad (as they say in the colonies). Was having such a wonderful time I just wasn't taking time out to write anything. But the Beatley feel continued for the rest of the trip. First of all, we went to BB King (no 's on the end of the name, oddly) for their Beatles Brunch. The food and drink were distinctly mediocre and the band didn't QUITE sound like the Beatles, although, who knows, maybe that's what the boys sounded like live. "John" and "Paul"'s speaking voices were spot on, though, and of course I got right into the music, and the occasion, and the atmosphere. Before long I was belting out song after song right along with them, oblivious to what anyone around me might have thought; although, as the band were nicely loud, I could barely even hear myself, so other people surely couldn't either! I almost tore my throat on Twist and Shout, which is as it should be, in honour of John's unrepeatable performance (literally; the version on the album was the first and only take, partly because it was utterly brilliant and partly because he couldn't sing any more after it and they only had one day to complete the entire album) on Please Please Me if for no other reason. Mind you, it feels electrifyingly good to throw yourself at it like that; left me a little breathless though. The whole occasion was Susan's treat, her Christmas present to me, and I felt almost tearily good afterwards and had Beatles songs flying non-stop through my head for days after. More even than usual.

The bad news was that the following day at the River Edge Diner, when we'd had our meal and I went to pay, I discovered I didn't have my debit card. It had got lost at some point and somehow during the Fab Four. Bad news as I didn't have any other card I could use. Checked my bank account as soon as I could and nothing had been taken, so no loss in that sense, but I called them and had it cancelled and a new one sent to me. The second bad news: they could only send it to my home address. So I got my sister to post it on to me at Susan's and we just had to have a frugal week while we waited. I tell you, it was a struggle to think of something we could do indoors other than watching commercials for medicine on TV. Fortunately, the cousin's wedding we were at the day of the discovery was a free bar all night and I'd had enough cash to cover our magnificent breakfast, so there hadn't been an immediate emergency, although I did eat too much at the diner and ended up unable to take fullest advantage of that free bar: I'm a disgrace to Scotland, I am.

ANYway, on 9th February, Susan had taken the evening off work because she said she had arranged a special date. And boy, she wasn't joking! It was a Wednesday matinee performance, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, so spelt, on 47th Street, of Rain-- A Tribute to the Beatles. It's in a theatre, so it's a concert setting rather than a nightclub brunch. Also, they have set up a complete multimedia show, including giant sixties style "TV"s on the proscenium arch, where the performance was "broadcast" in black and white. The concert started with a reproduction of their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show-- which, coincidentally, was on 9th February 1964-- complete with a reproduction of the set and even a reproduction of Ed, as well as a reproduction of the performance, of course. I was very close to tears and was far from alone in that audience. Later they moved on to the Shea Stadium era (and a few days later I met a new cousin who was actually AT that legendary gig), and then of course Sergeant Pepper, before finishing with a short, partly acoustic set, which included a gorgeous rendering of Give Peace a Chance complete with the entire audience on its feet waving peace signs. Jesus, man, I'm nearly crying again sitting here typing this. What a show, and what a day. I bought some merchandise (no, really): a Rain t-shirt with a big peace symbol on it, a fridge magnet with the same and a CD called The Concert That Never Was which postulates a Beatles reunion in 1980 where they played old numbers they had never actually got to play live before as well as solo songs by John, Paul and George. And a programme of course. And a baseball cap for Susan.

And then we went next door to the Edison Cafe, where I devoured a large matzo ball soup, a reuben and a sundae of some kind. And, miraculously for me, did not finish the reuben but took almost half home with me, where I finished it later. And while we were there, Olympia Dukakis came in and ordered a takeout or a delivery or something. I didn't pester her, but silently thanked her for her Mrs. Madrigal in Tales of the City. Mind, she was dressed all in black and so could not possibly have looked less Anna-like. Oh, and Estelle Parsons, who played Roseanne's mother in, um, Roseanne, was at the next table to us. End of starfuck.

End of post.