The Beatles

DVDisc

Phases and Stages

The Beatles

Anthology DVD (Capitol) When all 10 hours of the Beatles Anthology aired on PBS in 1994, the absence of John Lennon wasn't the yawning void a planet of TV viewers anticipated. Editing in archival interviews, the producers managed to integrate Lennon's version of Beatlemania with that of his surviving bandmates -- George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr -- all of whom lent their candor to this epic endeavor and even reunited for two "new" tracks on the accompanying CDs. As a documentary, Anthology glosses over and/or omits plenty (Phil Spector ruining Let It Be, hello?), the group members' personal lives summarily dismissed, while bogging down in footnotes like the Apple boutique. Abbey Road is given short shrift at the finish line. As a video scrapbook, however, bursting with mind-boggling historical footage (down in the Cavern; onstage in Japan), live song performances in their entirety (Ringo's "Act Naturally"), and rarely glimpsed videos (the Beatles virtually invented MTV), Anthology remains unparalleled. Both configurations, audio and visual, are genuinely awe-inspiring additions to the Fab Four's precious legacy, and the new 5-DVD issue is no exception. The upgrade in sound alone will blow you off the couch, not to mention that eight unwieldy VHS tapes just morphed into an index-finger-tip's worth of digitized discs; the convenience of DVDs (for those who've mastered their remote) makes VHS technology look as modern as the steam engine. More striking is the fact that nearly a decade after its televised premiere, Anthology serves as a memorial for George Harrison, who died of cancer last November. While no one disputes that the Beatles were ultimately Lennon's band, Harrison's tart harmonies and lead-guitar precision reveal themselves as both glue and buffer to the Lennon/McCartney singer-songwriter axis. Watching Harrison add licks to McCartney's "Blue Moon of Kentucky," unreleased reunion footage from the bonus DVD, and provide the sharpest commentary/presence throughout Anthology, is to feel all guitars gently weeping.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Warm Sugar
Warm Sugar (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Harlem
Oh Boy (Record Review)

Elise Barbin, March 22, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Ex-Morbid Angel singer David Vincent hosted local LP sessions

Feb. 28, 2019

Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
San Marcos classic rockers tease Haze County with audio premiere

Feb. 25, 2019

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle