The Beatles in Detroit

Teens Climax Hectic Evening


Fifth Estate # 13, August 30, 1966

There I was, right in the exact middle of it… most of that which had gone before merely served to strain my patience… had to go out several times for a cigarette, drink of water…when they finally came on, it was several seconds before I realized that this was it…every single one of these hideous creatures standing on top of the seats, screaming… the light from the thousands of popping flashbulbs was like some strange acid-inspired lightning, accompanied by this strange high pitched squealing thunder…retreated to the balcony, shaken by the intensity of the pure energy unleashed there in that weird electriarena… Migod, it was Romans and Christians and Lions all over again…once safe up above, away from the insane mass orgasm, I could see just what was really happening…the music was probably the worst pap they could have done… the reason obvious…these savages just would not LISTEN to the good stuff, the real art…they don’t have the vaguest idea of what these Beatles can do With sounds and words…so they get just exactly what they deserve, the crap, the screamers, the noise and shouting…and according to the ritual, the girlies faint and charge the stage, actually throw dangerous weapons at them…an attempt at communication with the fantasy come to life. So the Beatles concert turns out to be a big slap in the face, a musical screw-you aimed at the pre-pubic non-minds who sleep with their John Lennon dolls, trying to work off the forbidden orgasms. Money or no money, I do not want to be a rock-and-roll star. These cats were lucky to escape with their lives. And this was a lot quieter than the last time around.

I would safely predict that at this point, the Beatles are not going to do another tour of this kind ever again. It has about reached the point where they kiss off the monsters and go after the adults who have been patiently digging them all, along. Perhaps in a couple of years, a night-club tour for the grown-ups.

Meanwhile, thanks to the records, we can dig them any way we want…The newest effort, REVOLVER, is probably the best record of it’s kind ever recorded anywhere by anyone (at least until maybe the Spike-drivers get their first album out). Throughout the entire record, the quality of writing, singing, arranging, and musicianship is just magnificent, everything cooks so beautifully that you really have to listen over and over again to get all the little things that keep happening…Sometime try listening to the Beatles on a stereo set, one channel at a time, to really get all the groovies, to dig how they put it together… rave, rave, rave.

Must mention that among the recent attractions in moldy old Detroit, the Butterfield Blues Band and Jim and Jean are probably the best things ever to grace our tired gritty city. The Butterfield Band hangs together so beautifully, so damn tight, right there together on everything, but yet so loose and free…the astounding technical feats are only a small part of the bag they’re really in…. What a drag to observe the local blues “hippies” hanging on for dear life, trying desperately to cop part of what’s there for themselves, trying to make themselves into something, and digging all the wrong things and really not helping themselves at all and Just dragging the whole thing down to their own level. Paul said it all when he said, in all honesty, that although he could probably burn any harp player in the country, it really doesn’t matter because the important thing is the communication of real love, the purity of creating music that goes beyond ego…It’s beautiful to watch them get into something and COOK, not just for the unbelievable technical things they do, but more for watching how people with something very special can pass it between them without fear.

Jim and Jean are without a doubt the best combination of real good professional show-biz big-time smooth polish and real honesty and warmth that has ever come out of the folk bag. Everything about them, the material, the arranging, the voice and instrument work, the whole stage presentation are always done with the greatest taste. I also want to give their fine Verve-Folkways album another plug…It is certainly one of the best things to come out of the folk-rock bag to date.

At the time you are reading this, Tom Rush has been to the Chessmate and is gone again…At the time I’m writing this, however, he hasn’t even been here yet. I hope we all enjoyed him…

At the Chessmate in September, the Southbound Freeway for two weeks and then the Blues Magoos return…At the Raven the Spikedrivers are featured during the last two weeks of the month.

New Face in Detroit: Jan and Lorraine have started to get some of the recognition they deserve for their really beautiful work…All of us who have seen and heard them are very excited and we all hope to see them make it big.

Final thought: About Dylan and the late Richard Farina: The only people that should be allowed on motorcycles are those who really don’t have any talent, or anything of value to offer…which is the way it USUALLY works out…