I Was There When The Beatles Played The Cavern Once upon a time the term ‘Beetle’ represented a small bug shaped insect, which crawled along the ground. Then came along those other ‘Beatles’; those crazy liverpudlian musicians with the strange hairstyles and the driving beat. Now this documentary charters that said same beat, and was first broadcast on ITV in 2011, and lasted for a whole 60 minutes.

Live at the Cavern Club - The Cavern Club Poster

It was once a warehouse. Then it was an air raid shelter. After that a jazz club. But the world will always know of 'The Cavern Club' to be the landmark location in 'The Beatles' story.

You see, this documentary explores the history surrounding this musky musical domicile, and how it has helped shape the way people thought of Liverpool, music, and the nature of time.

Now to accomplish this bold task, the usage of numerous pieces of archival footage complements a linguistic voice-over narration. Which is also aided by many interviews from people whom were present during the Caverns chequered history. There are the fans, the workmen, the historians, and the musicians, all of them elaborating on the what, the why, the where, and the when, on what is now thought of as the birthplace of the ‘Mersey Beat’ sound.

WELCOME, THE FAB-FOUR: The date is the 9th of February, 1961, and having just returned back home to Liverpool, from performing away in Hamburg, The Beatles, played at 'The Cavern Club' for the first of nearly 300 appearances, thus changed the way people thought about music forever.

Moreover, during this time, The Cavern helped change the Beatles in turn. For example, it gave them a platform to highlight their talents to fledgling music promoter, Brian Epstein. And then, once under his wing, Brian altered the Beatles drastically, by replacing their drummer (Pete Best for Ringo Starr), tailoring their image (from leathers to suits), and then taking them down south to start their rise to fame (and the band we all know and love today).

BEATLES OR BUST: Now what happened to the Cavern after that? Huh? Well, once the Beatles hit it big, other musicians tried to follow in there footsteps, and treaded the same boards as they once did. Elton John, Queen, the Kinks, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Hermans Hermits, plus many, many more, all performed gigs at the Cavern, until it was knocked down in 1973.

Please note, there was some sign of this sad turn of events happening in the late sixties, when the Cavern closed its doors due to financial difficulties. But though popular support, and some well earned dosh, it managed to keep its doors open until the council eventually turned it into a car park in the seventies.

However, the sad news of John Lennon's murder in the eighties, prompted the people of Liverpool to rally forth once more. And they re-opened a new cavern club in exactly the same spot than the previous one was located – just eight feet lower.

Although it is now lower in depth, it is still a high point for people who wish to see where it all began.

A legacy continues.

OK, as documentaries go, 'I Was There When The Beatles Played The Cavern', is a fairly standardized show where an elaboration is in order. You see, it chronicle’s a legendary piece of history in a somewhat myopic manner, and only touches upon certain event’s in a rather melancholy way. However, it is precisely because of this self-same sentiment – melancholy – which is why this program manages to elevate itself from ‘fairly standard’ to 'emotional history', due to the fact that it is able to conveys a meaningful message that underlines this program – change, and the cause and effect of change.

The Beatles With Pete Best

Well, is change any good? Some of it must be, or otherwise there would not be any progression in the world at all. Though, within The Caverns bi-polar history, change is something that was initially resisted, but then just became apart of the norm.

Overall, this documentary does not even try to answer the question of change really, although it does ask it. Instead, it presents many moving accounts about the Beatles and the Cavern, plus the association that these two entitles brought along with them. For example, due the course of history, how we as a society have developed from being 'rebels without a cause' to 'sheep within a flock'.

The Cavern Today

OK, I know that this may sound very harsh thing to say to some of you out in cyberspace. But this is a statement of fact where time is concerned. Time is the be all and end all to this documentary, and just shows you how 'the times they are a changing' at every tick of a clock.

Sad I know, just as sad as the way people once were to how they are today.

Still, take heed from my words dear reader, the power is within us to make our lives better. But if, and only if, we become rebels like the Beatles, and not sheep like with a heard.

Good documentary. Brief and melancholy, just like this review, right guys? I Was There When The Beatles Played The Cavern? Maybe?


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