Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Yes, 9/09/09 was Beatles Day at Amoeba Hollywood, and fans lined up before opening to purchase the long-awaited stereo and the mono box sets (the mono sets sold out at 1pm), plus sundry standalone albums and other Beatles “stuff.” (It must have been the Bob Smeaton documentary that was included in the stereo set, right?) Beatles songs were played throughout the day in their upgraded forms (miraculous), and the atmosphere was festive from the time the store opened until late. It was like an actual holiday, a warm eggnog and feety-pajamas feeling...only with a guy who looked like John Lennon (circa his Lost Weekend era) staying for the duration, and a couple of employees dressed in Sgt. Pepper’s regalia.
Beginning at 1 o’clock, Amoeba’s own Daniel (of Mandala fame) took the microphone and hosted Beatles trivia on the hour until 4 o’clock. His accent swayed between Brummie and Sherman Oaks, but he definitely looked like one of the Lonely Hearts Club Band. He even sported a vintage mustache. A throng holding cardboard fans stood in eager anticipation to prove they knew Ringo’s middle name and that Paul is a birthpath 4 Gemini and that he’s the exact same height as Lolo Ferrari. This crowd could not be stumped—though Daniel tried his best. One of the questions he asked was “what is ‘you’ referring to in the song ‘Got to Get You Into My Life?’” This set off a torrent of people going “ooh-ohh-oh” with their arms stretching to heaven. The answer was, of course, Chong, from Cheech and Chong (or, the green leaves that made Chong Chong)! With each right answer, Elicia (drums) and Becca (sax), also in garb, played some fizzling dying thing as a show of triumph.
Then there was a bomb threat in the vicinity and everybody evacuated. This added to the camaraderie in the room, and you’ve got to give Beatles fans this—they walk single-file, arms to their sides. It was a false alarm, and the festivities resumed shortly thereafter.
(I can’t help but wonder at poor Decca making the decision to not sign The Beatles back in the day. It seems to me a terrific blunder on par with Pickett’s charge, or the idea to extend Saved By the Bell into the college years. Sad.)
At 5 o’clock, KLOS’s Breakfast With the Beatles radio voice Chris Carter stood stoically in the DJ booth, and he took everyone on a little magical mystery tour, beginning with songs from the first three albums in their original mono (the way the Beatles intended) and others in their new-fangled stereo forms (miraculous). “I want to see some dancing,” he urged on “Twist and Shout,” and some of the merrymakers obliged. He was spinning from the entire catalogue until 7 o’clock, just for Amoeba. He wasn’t broadcasting live. “This is just for you,” he told the crowd. He then played “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and medley’d it right into “I Am the Walrus” in the stereo form (miraculous).
At 7pm, Amoeba’s own Brently Heilbron auctioned off “ephemera” and other memorabilia that he assured everyone “would better their lives forever.” Some of the collectibles he auctioned off were a Yellow Submarine lunchbox, a “Love” snow globe, a framed poster of the Beatles final U.S. show (at Candlestick Park), a rare laser disc collection, a Ringo action figure, t-shirts, calendars from such memorable years as 1970 and 1993, and other miscellany. He told the tragic story of the man who didn’t get the Beatles haircut, and the lessons that can be gained—yes, this was a segue to Pete Best. He auctioned a Pete Best Band single. Tragic. (There were no takers.)
But the whole day was fun. For all the Beatles fans who turned up, it was just a day in the life.