Third Annual Beatle Convention in Liverpool.
Thursday 21st - Tuesday 26th August 2015
Welcome to Liverpool for the 2015 Beatle Week which celebrates our 20th Anniversary and which we believe will be the best ever yet!
I am writing this on Copacabana Beach with only a couple of weeks to go before Beatle Week. I am in Rio to collect an award from the House of Representatives to acknowledge the role that Cavern City Tours have played in promoting relationships between Brazil and Great Britain , and in particular between Rio and Liverpool. The Beatles have a lot to answer for!
The honour comes almost 20 years to the day since the company was founded and it really is bewildering what we have achieved in those 20 years. In Brazil however, none of it would have been possible without the help of one man. Mr Carlos Chaves, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the tireless efforts over the last eight years. To market such a global phenomenon without bottomless pockets is almost impossible but it is certainly helped with the equivalent of Carlos in key countries. The face perhaps most well-known to you is Charles Rosenay of Liverpool Productions in the USA. Charles was the founder of the fanzine Good Day Sunshine and has been bringing American fans to Liverpool for twenty years. He has been an integral part of our success and we congratulate him, for his own expansion, and development over the years. Thanks Charles — and here’s to the next twenty.
We would also like to thank Ricardo in Mexico, Alfonso in Argentina, Tak and Mr Hamada from Japan, Rene and Hans in Holland, Henrik and RoIf in Sweden, Ulf and Christian in Germany, Monty in Australia and Rolando in Italy for similar support over the years.
To help us celebrate our special anniversary our T-shirt was designed by Klaus Voormann —yes the very same guy who designed the sleeve for Revolver, the Anthology series and of course nearly replaced Paul as a Beatle. What a great
honour —thanks Klaus! Get them while you can, cos when they’re gone, they’re gone, that’s it, there will be no more. It
is a strictly limited edition that will never be repeated.
The last twelve months have been great for Beatle fans. I was blown away by George’s album Brain
washed and for those of you who didn’t buy it I have one simple message; don’t buy a CCT T-shirt, don’t buy more beer, don’t eat, don’t do anything but go out and buy the album. A neat music media quote is that ‘He (George) ‘bookended’ his career with his two best albums’, and I feel it difficult to argue with. A truly remarkable epitaph to a truly remarkable man. A fitting commemoration of George’s career was held at the Royal Albert Hall, which did take on a bit of a Convention feel as there were so many familiar faces there. it wasn’t downbeat at all, it was a wonderful evening to be cherished forever. Ringo fans (are there still many of us left?) would have loved his latest offering RingoRama
which sounds like a Beatles album, with zillions of Fab Four references throughout. His last three albums have been great pop albums and anybody put off by some of the earlier albums (with the notable exception of Ringo) do not know what they are missing. If only he had recorded such great stuff thirty years ago, they would have been worldwide smash hits. Paul fans of course, as usual, had the biggest
feast with DVD’s and CD’s of the World Tour and a chance to travel to catch his best tour ever. The last gig was of course in Liverpool and the city came alive as the excitement and expectation became almost unbearable. He didn’t disappoint. An unrepeatable show (Maggie Mae
etc!) and a tumultuous reception. We were very proud of our input which stretched back to December when we chose fourteen sites for the possible concert. All were visited and filmed, but in the end the memories of 1990 were too magnetic and Paul again wanted to play on the banks of the River Mersey in sight of the Liver birds! We were again a major ticket outlet
for the gig and were afforded the greatest compliment of all; Paul chose to have his end of tour party at the Cavern Club. All of the tour personnel, including production, marketing, lighting, sound, staging, crew, roadies and of course the band themselves joined Paul and Heather in a humungous party as the Cavern was transformed into a Moroccan Souk. It has been widely reported that Paul and the band got onto the back Cavern stage and sang a few numbers during the night
— and although there are many stories to tell - you won’t hear any from us. It was a private party and as such any details will have to remain that way! One thing we can tell you though is that Paul was so impressed with our ace DJ Stevie ‘P’ that he hired him again for his family VIP Party after the gig at Kings Dock. If that wasn’t fun enough, the following week Liverpool was officially named City of European Capital of Culture 2008. This is like getting the Olympic games. One special City, with a rich diverse culture is singled out as THE destination to visit in Europe, and Liverpool has the award for 2008! For those of you who have been visiting us for many years you will have witnessed the transformation of a City. This is the icing on the cake and with over £1 billion further investment over the next four years, the City will be further enhanced. Exciting times. The motto for Liverpool’s bid was ‘The world in one
City and it really is this week as we welcome bands from USA, Canada, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany, Moldova, Kazakstan, Denmark, Japan, Holland, the Czech Republic, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man! And that’s before we begin to add in fans from Mexico, France, Portugal, Russia, Denmark, Finland (Hi Heikki) etc etc etc.
I need to finish with a number of points to note. There is so much to do and see in Liverpool these days that it is impossible to actually list them here. Suffice to say visits to John and Paul’s homes are sold out, as is the Ferry across the Mersey trip
with Ringer. Highly recommended visits include the Beatles Story museum, which has been vastly improved by the new owners and is well worth visiting. They have also opened an Elvis Exhibition ‘Fingerprints of Elvis’ at the Albert Dock, which has some astonishing memorabilia, the biggest collection outside Gracelands. A must-see for fans of the King! Other must-do events include a book-signing by Mike McCartney at Virgin Megastore on Saturday between 1.00pm and
2.00pm. His book, Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life, is absolutely stunning with striking images of the City that evoke vivid memories of a bygone era. Congratulations to all our mates in Ringer (past and present) in reaching their own milestone, and also to Paul and Gill who get married on Monday at the Town Hall and then officially open the Mathew Street Festival on the Castle Street stage (Everybody is invited to give them a big cheer in Castle Street at midday prompt). Mr and Mrs Sheddon sure sounds better than Percy Thrillington!! (In-joke — Editor).
The programme is as advertised in our brochure with one exception which was beyond our control. The Overtures have (wait for it, if you don’t already know) split up! Yeah, we know. We were devastated as well! Such a great band who have contributed much over the last
six years. One of the great bands. Travelling got too much for Tony after his relocation to North Wales, but they depart as great mates and of course the plus side is next year may feature two bands. Den is keeping the Overtures going (Well done Den!) and Tony is forming a new band (indeed he begins a residency at the Cavern Pub this Thursday). So let’s look forward to the solo years!
Finally, our best wishes go to absent dear friends Alex McKechnie (who has been in a Madrid hospital for the last two months) and Shannon, whose absence this year follows the death of her dear mom. We send our love and best wishes to her on your behalf. There will certainly be a void in the Atrium this year on Convention day. She will be returning to Liverpool soon however to finally sign her contract for the design of the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, which yes, unbelievably does appear to be nearing it’s starting date.
A big hug and kiss to Jean Catherall for her help, guidance, support and alcoholic counselling throughout the year (but mainly for help with the photographs for the theatre shows). And to Nina, who has really annoyed me this year. Here I was, believing I was indispensable and that if I didn’t write this programme it wouldn’t get done. Well, Nina has shown just how dispensable I really am. After contributing to a lot of last year’s programme, this year she has done over 70% of the work, and it’s better than ever. God I hate her! Seriously, she has done a terrific job which takes a lot of pressure off me at a particularly stressful time (says he, sitting on Copacabana Beach). Thanks Nina, you’re a star and an integral part of the team.
To end on a sad and serious note, we dedicate this Convention to Beryl Adams, Brian Epstein’s secretary. A very dear friend who died following a short violent illness earlier this year. We miss her.
4th August 2015
Bands at Beatle Week 2015 >>