So I am now back stateside after a whirlwind trip to England, the ultimate highlight of which was the fabulous time I had at Beatles Week and I want to share the experience with you all…
I touched down in Liverpool on time. I was surprised to see the beautiful sunshine as a british girlfriend of mine had told me there was torrential rain in London! I met up with Shannon and Gary (Elephants Memory) at the airport we got driven to our respective hotels. I was staying at the Aloft, a fab new hotel. I was checked in by a gentleman named Luke and shown to my room, which had a great view, overlooking the roof tops of Liverpool. Shannon was staying a the historic Adelphi Hotel (the convention venue).
In the afternoon I met up with I met up with my great friend Freda Kelly (Good ‘ol Freda) and she showed me around the city, her friend Phil is a real expert on Liverpool and it’s history. We dropped in on the book launch of her friend Marie’s new children’s book “What Did Grandad Paul Do When He Was Little?: A Story of a Beatle”. Marie had always wanted to meet me so Freda surprised her with my visit. Interestingly Marie had recently got a plaque put up in memory of Brian Epsirtien. That evening Freda, her friend Phil and I went for supper at a wonderful italian restaurant. We all ate lasagne! It reminded me of the disney movie Lady & the Tramp, very old world! It’s called Casa Italia and I highly recommend it. I had a somewhat early night in preparation for the week ahead…
I went shopping! Liverpool is such a great place to shop. I wandered around the city and absorbed the atmosphere. I made a special trip to Boots to buy my best friend Pamela’s favourite Maxfactor mascara that we can’t get in the states. I know
she will be very happy with her new hoard! Freda took me out for lunch at a delicious lunch at a tapas restaurant near the Royal Court Theatre. Lots of Artists started to arrive as Beatles Week had officially begun – I bumped into Mark Hudson, Earl Slick and Joey Molland in the lobby of the Aloft. That evening I had dinner with Freda and some friends of hers from the deep south, that she met when she was on tour with her movie. We went to the same italian as the night before because we had we enjoyed it so much! They even had gluten free pasta and bread, which was great, as one of our dining party was gluten intolerant. After the meal Phil showed me the Jacaranda, where John and Paul played in the early days I stood in their old ‘dressing room’ – which was more like a doorless closet then a room!
My first official Beatles Week event! I was on the panel for the official press launch at the Beatles Story Museum. On the panel with me were Bob Gruen, and Julia Baird with Martin King as moderator. There was
press from all over the world in attendance. We fielded questions as a panel for about an hour and went to do individual interviews with members of the press. It went for five hours in total and was a great afternoon. I got a chance to speak to Julia for a few minutes after the event. It was nice to have a catch up. That evening I hung out at the Aloft with all the other guys from the convention.
The highlight of the day was Donovan’s show “The Shram-Rock Concert” at the Royal Court Theatre. I had invited my great friends Vera and Gordon to join me. Poor Vera and Gordon have a fear of heights and the seats in the balcony were too high up for their liking… in fact, it was too high for me too. I didn’t leave my seat until the concert was over. The concert was great, it featured a talk with Paul Saltzman about the photos he took of the Beatles whilst they were in India. I caught up with Mark Hudson after the concert at the hotel, he had been unable to attend the concert as he had been in heavy duty rehearsals for his upcoming Monday night show.
In the afternoon I was interviewed by the lovely Peter Dicks. Then my friend Billie arrived from London to visit me and I quickly whisked her off to dinner with some more friends of mine, Angela and Ed, who had come from all the way from Leeds (an hour and a half drive) to see me. We went to a delicious Latin-influenced restaurant Alma de Cuba. Then we all went to the Royal Court theatre to see a special concert celebrating the life and work of John Lennon. There were special performances from Neil Innes, Mark Hudson, Earl Slick and Joey Molland to name but a few.
The day of my big interview with author and historian Mark Lewisohn… which I was really looking forward to. Mark is now considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the Beatles. We arrived at the Adelphi Hotel (where the main convention was taking place) early so I could get settled in and prepare for my interview. When they showed me where we were going to be doing the meet and greet I was thrilled to find out that we would be having a full english high tea with scones, yummy! We took in the atmosphere and wandered around the convention. I chatted to Shannon for a bit, who’s stand was buzzing. Unfortunately Shannon had come down with a bug she caught on the air plane so she was feeling a little ill.
It was then time for my interview, in the main ballroom, which was absolutely packed. Denny Seiwell, Bob Gruen and Pattie Boyd had gone before me. I really enjoyed the interview, Mark was great and he had definitely done his homework! After my interview I went downstairs for the meet and greet. I was signing autographs, selling books and greeting people for two and a half hours… my high tea had been put on hold until I was finished! It was so wonderful to see so many fans, all of whom were very patient and kind. I was really touched to see that people had come from all over the world. The hotel staff and the Cavern City staff couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. We then went for supper with Vera and Gordon. We had a yummy chinese meal. We also ran into Len Garry and his wife, Len was one of the original Quarrymen. When we got back to hotel we had a drink the lobby and met up with fabulous friends Manny and Joe (who built and founded Bear Creek Studio), they had come all the way from Seattle via Mexico to see my interview!
After Billie departed to go back home to London I met up for lunch with my friend Dean Harmeyer the Music and Entertainment Specialist from Heritage Auctions. He had just flown in from Hamburg as he is involved in the sale of a collection including the first ever recording contract signed by the beatles. I met up with Manny and Joe again and we headed to the venue to see ‘The Boys Who Knew the Lads’, with a great line up including Mark Hudson, Earl Slick, Joey Molland, Denny Seiwell and Gary Van Scyoc. They did a wonderful job, a fabulous set list and I can’t believe they had only had a few days to rehearse. Thank you so much to Manny and Joe for coming all that way to see me – it was a nice surprise.
I started to pack… and was feeling a little sad. To cheer me up I had tea and snacks with Christine, Manager from the Hard Days Night Hotel. We chatted about my future visits to Liverpool and filling her in on the weeks events as she had been on holiday. We went on all afternoon, so late that Christine very kindly walked me to my dinner date! On my last night in Liverpool I went to a lovely restaurant called Bistro Pierre, where I was the surprise guest of honour at a dinner arranged by Freda. After dinner we went to the final event of Beatles Week – Peter Asher live at the Cavern Lounge. It was great to see lots of familiar faces. One member of Peter’s band told me that we had met before – when he was a kid! It turns out his father is Davey Johnstone - the guitarist from Elton’s band!!!! I hit the hay late, after a wild week, ready for my next adventure…