The Beatles - The First US Visit DVD

Visually, footage of the Beatles' latter years would seem to hold more interesting content than footage from 1964. This highly personal DVD dispels that theory. Shot from the inside by Albert and David Maysles (who also directed Gimme Shelter), this presentation is much more than a Beatles homage. It captures a pivotal juncture in American history without really trying.
Throughout the 80 minute feature, you literally walk side by side with the lads from Liverpool during their chaotic first trip to the United States. Most of the snippets you see frequently from this time period are drenched in the hellish roar of thousands of adolescent girls. On The First US Visit, the other side is revealed. All of the Ed Sullivan performances are on this, as well as some of the stage-switching Washington Coliseum concert, and they look better than ever. But the reason to buy this DVD is not for "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "She Loves You" (those are part of your DNA). There are many wonderful, memorable moments featuring the boys in their naturally charming state and some that show the other side of the band. Ringo doing some serious go-go dancing at a club in Washington, DC while an unknown band screams through "Money (That's What I Want)"; George acting his age (barely in his 20's) on the train ride to New York; John beginning to show signs of displeasure with the constant photography and TV cameras; and Paul becoming noticeably annoyed with the antics of George and Ringo. The breakneck pace and highly fabricated style that Brian Epstein had been employing began to wear on the band even during this two-week journey. Epstein is also further exposed as an arrogant but, at that time, indispensable manager.

The musical highlights include "This Boy" from Miami, which features George, John, and Paul gathering around the same mic for vocals, and the frenzied Washington Coliseum footage, which was the band's first actual concert on US soil.

With loads of intimate footage from hotels, cars, trains, and dressing rooms plus classic performances, this DVD is a must for any Beatles fan. It also will prove entertaining to the casual viewer as a one-of-a-kind insight into the onset of rock and roll culture in America.

- Bryan Rodgers