All right, I’ve had a few days to decompress, and I have to say it: The “With A Little Help From Our Friends” marathon Beatles concert by Rubber Soul was an impressive musical feat, the likes of which Charleston has not seen before. February 2, 2018 is a date that will be remembered for a long, long, long time.
Mark Scarpelli and Rubber Soul undertook the daunting task of learning and performing over 200 songs that were recorded by The Fab Four during their 1962-1970 career. They rose to the occasion with a level of energy and enthusiam that amounted to a modern-day Herculean feat of pure musical power. Mark, Greg Hunt, Garret Maner, Michele Toliver, Bryan Flowers and Brian Holstine proved themselves to be the toughest band in town by running full-speed for fourteen hours without too much of a break. Kudos also to Larry Groce, who was there at the beginning and end, and only took a short dinner break. Mark Parsons-Justice filled in while Larry replenished himself.
I was there for the whole show, and at the end I was exhausted, just from watching. The band, aided and abetted by dozens of guests, delivered show-stopping moments all day long and well past midnight.There were standing ovations even when the audience was too tired to stand.
And…I bootlegged the whole thing. Not all of the recordings are usuable, though. I went ultra-low-fi on this project, recording everything on my trusty Zoom H4 on a tripod in the back of the hall. Unfortunately, a few songs were obliterated by coughing fits, and a few others are being held back due to HIPAA laws, as loud conversations about medical issues were barked loudly right in front of the microphone. However, I got about 95% of the show recorded in glorious bootleg-quality stereo, with the audience reactions and all.
And since I have this amazing document of such a fantastic and historic show, you know I’m going to share it with my readers and folks who listen to The AIR.
After the long day last Friday, on Saturday morning I got up at the crack of noon and edited a two-hour episode of Live and Local that included all of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, as performed by Rubber Soul and friends. I even had room for a bonus, Bob Thompson and Curtis Chittendon guesting on “Get Back.”
That was only two hours out of a fourteen-hour show. So I needed to figure out the best way to bring this music to you, and I found a way to do just that and slack off at the same time.
You can hear all of this on The AIR website, or just leave this page up and click on this nifty little embedded radio player…
Starting today at 10 AM, Radio Free Charleston will be part of four shows on The AIR that will divvy up the music from last Friday and dole it out for your enjoyment. Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM you can tune in to hear one more hour of last Friday’s show, followed by the two hours we brought you over the weekend.
We kick off with one of the highlights, as The Gazette-Mail’s own Bill Lynch managed to out-Shat Shatner with his striking interpretation of “Help.” Here’s the full-line-up for this week’s special Radio Free Charleston…
RFC 68: Rubber Soul “With A Little Help From Our Friends”
“Help” with Bill Lynch
Eli Chambers “Fire Speech”
Song Introductions by Larry Groce
Performed by Rubber Soul, with guests where noted–
“I Saw Her Standing There” with Curtis Chittendon
“From Me To You” Michael Tomasky, Jeff Gianola, Ken Munday
“If I Needed Someone” Jeff Gianola, Ken Munday, Michael Tomasky
“Anna (Go To Him)” Curtis Chittendon
“A Taste of Honey” Curtis Chittendon
“Baby, It’s You” Eli Chambers
“PS, I Love You”
“We Can Work It Out” Beth Segessenman
“And Your Bird Can Sing”
“Ticket To Ride” Terry Berhans (drums)
“Good Day Sunshine” Eli Chambers, Terry Berhans (drums)
We are definitely not stopping there. Wednesday at 2 PM, Beatles Blast, another weekly show that your PopCulteer happens to host, will bring you another full hour of crunchy, Rubber Soul goodness. On Thursday at 3 PM Rubber Soul takes over Radio Free Charleston International for two more hours from the marathon. We’ll bring you a bonus hour Friday at 2 PM, and then two more hours on Live and Local Saturday at 9 PM.
And that still won’t use up all the good stuff we managed to record. Expect even more next week on Radio Free Charleston and Beatles Blast. By that point we ought to have all of the usable songs from Friday in easily-programmed form. And that means that we’ll be airing twelve hours of this marathon on Valentine’s Day, starting at noon.
That is sort of what we call in the trade, “burying the lede.”
While we will be bringing you bits and pieces of this awesome show all this week and beyond, on Valentine’s Day you can catch almost the entire show on The AIR. It starts at noon, Wednesday February 14, and we’re going to run it again Saturday, February 17, starting at 7 AM.
Until then, tune in for all the component pieces as we air them fresh out of the musical oven. By the time The AIR runs the marathon concert, we’ll have a complete list of guest performers. I could try to do it off the top of my head, but I don’t want to risk leaving anyone out.