Well, 09.09.09 has come and gone, and we here at Amoeba San Francisco partied like it was 1964! Beatles Day was enthusiastic and joyful, as customers and employees came together to celebrate probably the most significant band the world has ever seen. If you missed out on the action, allow me to describe some of it for you!
Before the store opened, there was a line of customers waiting on baited breath to get their hands on the mono box set -- I sold the last copy at 11:30, so they went fast! The limited edition box set includes the first 10 Beatles album in their original mono glory, plus all their mono-mixed singles on a disc and many other special goodies. A customer and I had a conversation about how very different the mono mixes of Beatles songs and albums are, including different "oinks" on "Piggies!" Beatles die-hards say you haven't heard The Beatles yet if you haven't heard them in mono, since most of their records were originally mixed and released in mono! And those die-hards were finally satisfied yesterday, at last grabbing every Beatles album in mono in one giant swoop with the new box set.
DJs took to the Amoeba stage from 11am on, playing their own mixes of The Beatles music from the early years to the end, and including sets of covers, b-sides and solo career cuts. It's amazing that we could play only Beatles/Beatles-related music from 11am-6pm and cover so much territory -- considering The Beatles were only around and recording for less than 10 years, the amount and breadth of the music they created is mind-blowing.
The highlight of the day was no doubt our Beatles cover band, The Mono Butchers! Made up of our own David James (bass/vocals), Josh Pollack (drums/guitar/vocals), Brock Galland (guitar/vocals), Allen Leong (keys/vocals), Joe Goldmark (pedal steel), and Ben Tuttle (drums), The Mono Butchers gave us a rollicking, high energy set that had the crowd begging for more.
They kicked it off with "Hey Bulldog," a personal favorite, sung ably by Brock. Next was "Another Girl," also delivered by Brock, whose military style jacket, fringed hair and Lennon glasses gave him the perfect look for taking the stage. The powerful bassline from "Rain" filled the store next, and the backward mumbles from the recording were included perfectly in this live cover performance. Suddenly, from behind the keys and seemingly from out of nowhere (he was kind of hidden behind the front line of musicians), Allen Leong pulled his mic close and began to sing "Oh! Darling," nailing McCartney's gritty vocal! Next, Josh Pollack ripped through "Back in the USSR," and the band really cooked on all the riffs and "oooh"-ing backing vocals. They were really flying now! Then, David James took the lead vocals and things got heavy for "I Me Mine," another real rocker. "Lady Madonna" followed, built upon Allen's bouncy key riff and Josh's killer guitar playing and singing. "I Dig A Pony" had perfect, soaring harmonies and lead vocals by David James, who could perform with ease the difficult task of playing bass and singing incredibly well simultaneously! The set finally closed with another lead vocal by Allen Leong on "It Won't Be Long." Throughout the performance, Joe Goldmark's pedal steel added just the right touch of country tinged melody to each song. Allen's standout vocals led store owner Marc Weinstein to dub him "the secret weapon!"
Somewhere near the end of the spirited performance, someone in the crowd yelled out to the clearly talented musicians, "Why do you guys work at a record store?" One of the guys answered, "To keep our pants up," there was a good laugh, and they launched into the next song with vigor. The members of this band made Beatles songs seem effortless to play -- they had mastered each part of the songs they covered and clearly knew the recordings like the back of their hands, and they also managed to inject a great deal of fun and ease to their performance. It was an apt tribute to a band whose good humor and buoyant songs have lifted generations and will continue to do so until the end of time.
Beatles Day was a thrill because it allowed us all to engage in a little bit of nostalgia, to tap into some of the universal joy The Beatles have brought to the world, not just during their time in the 60s, but in the years since. Here at Amoeba we were surrounded by folks rocking their Beatles t-shirts, from Abbey Road and Let It Be to the new 09.09.09 shirts that trivia winners received and The Mono Butchers wore. We had trivia contests for prize packs each hour, and fans crowded the stage to take part and impressively show their knowledge of Beatles minutiae. For 09.09.09, we all came together in solidarity of our continued love and appreciation for The Beatles and all the magic they have wrought.
For more pics from our Beatles Day, click here!