Here are 2 reviews from people in Toronto who attended the lecture from the official Paul McCartney Forum: http://macca.devstars.eu/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=59067
PaulaJ: "I didn't know quite what to expect from this night, exactly. I had never been to any unique lives-type of talks before. When I got to the theatre I was buzzing with the anticipation of the evening. Most people were over 40 but there was a handful of teenagers too. I got the feeling their parents coerced them into coming. lol
The stage was simply set with a podium, flanked by two of those teleprompters with the glass panels, a 10' x 10' screen, and a nicely-upholstered Bergiere chair. I was sitting near the back (second last row) but it was a small theatre, so that was ok. (I'll get to the one problem with my seat later).
Sir George was introduced by an entertainment writer from The Globe and Mail newspaper (they were the sponsors). He reminisced about being a young reporter back in the mid-60's and receiving a copy of the Sgt. Pepper album to review. He brought the copy with him last night. It was in mint condition. It may have even still had the wrapper on it.
He then introduced Sir George. Everyone gave him a standing ovation for just walking onstage. Loved that! He is a very tall man, I'm guessing about 6'2" and was dressed in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and a green and blue tie. He looked very distinguished. He appeared somewhat frail and I was concerned that he would have to stand the entire evening. Despite being mic-ed, you had to listen closely to him speak as he has a rather low and quiet voice.
He began by saying he never imagined producing any more music in his life until the LOVE project came up. He spent about 15 minutes describing how the project came about, who was involved, and the huge task of milling through ever bit of Beatles sound to come up with the final product. One thing he said that I was very happy to hear was that the Beatles tapes were still in storage prior to LOVE and they decided, in order to preserve them properly and while they had the opportunity, they were transferred to digital - every song, every sound, every track. Fabulous!
He then went on to talk about his early days with Parlaphone - recording childrens' albums, The Goons, and Peter Sellers. He worked his way to the Beatles by describing his first meeting with Brian Epstein wherein Brian played the guys' first recording for him and he admitted to this day he thought it was awful. Despite that, he saw something in the guys themselves - their "cheeky humour" - that appealed to him.
He described how the various sounds on "Strawberry Fields" came about. One moment in the film, with Sir George at the control panel, really hit me. He was moving the phasers up and down and separated out John's vocal. He had such a warm look on his face and described how that vocal alone "makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It's very special". It was such a sentimental moment and I'm sure we all felt it - not just me.
There were funny stories of how the guys would pipe up and say things like "we need an orchestra on this song" not realizing that co-ordinating, scoring music for, and fitting them all into the studio was a monumental task. He showed a brief clip of the original trumpet player playing the part in "Penny Lane". I love that song! Another interesting thing was the orchestration for "Eleanor Rigby". Sir George had modelled it after the music in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". Next time you see the movie, listen to the music as Marion (Janet Leigh) is driving the rainy highway after she steals the money. There was a split screen-sort of comparison. We all chuckled over that.
The talk after that was mostly spent talking about the Sgt. Pepper album, as this is the 40 year anniversary. He had clips of Paul, George, and Ringo describing different aspects of their part in the production. How the title of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" came about (Julian's painting), the difficulty Ringo had with hitting the final note in "A Little Help From My Friends" but with Paul's help managed to finally nail it, the fragmentation of the parts in "A Day In The Life" came about as well as all the little tricks and sounds associated with that song. (On the original masters, you can hear Mal Evans counting out the bars to the song), figuring out a way to get the orchestra (violinists) to play the crescendo at the end of the song by telling them to "not listen to the player beside you - just do your own thing", and how the BBC rejected the song - they wouldn't play it. Sir George shook his head over that one.
There was an interesting story of the recording of "For The Benefit of Mr. Kite". We all know John got the idea for the song from a poster he saw in a store. John wanted to capture the true sounds of a travelling circus/medicine show. They wanted a kaliope or pipe organ, but decided that was too much trouble and chose to work with the organ sounds they had available. Sir George had the idea of taking long lengths of tape and chopping them up into two-foot lengths. They finally had about a hundred of them. They then threw them up in the air and randomly fed them into the tape machine and, presto!, the sounds of a travelling show were made. John loved it! He said it was perfect.
We all laughed when Sir George said he visited John one day at the Dakota some years after the Beatles split up and John said, "You know, George, I would love to record all of our music over again". Sir George's head hit the podium in a fake faint. He thought John was mad! I suppose an artist always hears things differently later on and wishes they could change a some things. That was pretty funny.
The talk ended with Sgt. Pepper. He talked about how he found out about Brian's death and how devastated he was - how things started to fall apart after that. There was no discussion on any project after Sgt. Pepper. Nothing about the White Album or Abbey Road.
I could go on and on, but I think you all have a pretty good idea of how the evening went.
Thankfully, Sir George did use the chair several times to sit down during the film clips.
One last thing about my seat location. I was in the second last row and directly behind the last row was the sound board. Unfortunately, that back section could hear the sound guys giving cues for the show. There were a few times it got fairly annoying - when they were chattering too much. One guy behind me even had an official photographer beside him snapping pictures throughout the evening. He finally lost his temper and told them to keep it down. I don't blame him. It was annoying. The photographer disappeared and the sound guys, though still having to talk in the cues, were quieter too. Soooo.... if you're buying tickets for this event, keep your seat location in mind. As I said, Sir George speaks rather low and it's difficult enough to stay focused on his speech without outside noise. It's not like a pop/rock concert where this stuff gets drowned out.
Hope you enjoyed the review.
beatlefan46: "I was there as well. Actually I had posted topic a couple of days ago asking if anyone else was going. I had received an e-mail from the globeandmail which was putting on the event on Tuesday and since I was the only one going I was able to get 12th row on the left side of the stage. It was a perfect spot and great view of Sir George. I loved the film clips of the boys especially with Ringo since he always had something funny to say. Ringo was talking about how crappy they were playing and couldn't hear themselves sing because of the screams. Ringo said all he could do is "watch three bums" and keep steady with the beat! I could have listened to Sir George all night long. He received a standing ovation when he came on and was leaving the stage. I had tears in my eyes because I didn't want the evening to end. What an honor to be in the same room of the "5th Beatle.""
Sir George Martin at his lecture in Toronto's Elgin Theater on May 3, 2007. (Photo taken by MaccaSandy)