I've watched the first release on Laserdisc about 5 times and it's good to see that the full length episodes (longer than the 1 hour episodes screened on TV) have made it to the DVD release. Old interviews from John Lennon are spliced into newer interviews from Paul, George and Ringo and there is an overwhelming sense that what's presented is honest. Warts and all as they say. It is undoubtedly even more poignant to watch now that George has left us and it is now indisputable that the Beatles are history.
Perhaps there is a little too much bias towards the early days and there may be not enough on the time when I personally felt they were at their absolute peak (the Rubber Soul/Revolver era) but these are small criticisms.
The DVD extra material disc is also fantastic and I bought the set mainly for this as it wasn't part of the Laserdisc release. It was worth it. It was fantastic to see Paul, George and Ringo jamming together for fun and working in the studio on Free as a Bird and Real Love. Another treat was to see their own enthusiasm for listening to the original takes of songs like Tomorrow Never Knows and Golden Slumbers. My favourite bit must have been George asking which album the latter track was on!
Finally the price is incredible. At a fraction of the price of the original Laserdisc or VHS release, it is an essential purchase for anybody who has any desire to know more than just the albums and songs.
The Anthology DVDs are a rich, vibrant collection of snapshots and first hand recollections of the greatest band ever known. There are some deeply personal memories from the three surviving Beatles (this was obviously recorded before George sadly passed away) and some funny moments too. George, in particular seems to have the best sense of perspective about the whole thing. He says many times that the world just used the Beatles as an excuse to go mad. He believed the band were in the "eye of the hurricane" while the rest of the world went crazy.
Each episode is roughly 75 minutes in length so you get a good total viewing time. Obviously, there's a lot more that could've been included and maybe one day we'll get an expanded version.
The price of the set alone is worth it just for the inclusion of the extras disc. It was great seeing the guys playing together again and the insight into the recording of Real Love was a treat. I, for one, thought the two "new" Beatles tracks were excellent.
Worth every penny.
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