The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years: A trailer dissection

On 15th September, Ron Howard’s take on The Beatles’ touring years shows at Vue. With beautifully restored footage of their iconic Shea Stadium performance – and Paul and Ringo’s official seal of approval – we dissect the trailer to see what new light is shed on the Liverpool legends.

By lifelong fan, Johanna Payton

If you’re a super-fan like me, with 40-years of Beatlemania under your belt (I was raised on a diet of Rubber Soul, married in Gibraltar à la John and Yoko and middle-named my son Jude), glimpsing the Apple Corps logo in a trailer might make your heart skip a beat. Yes, Ron Howard’s shiny, new documentary, Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, is an authorised release, produced with the “full cooperation” of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

What’s more, for its theatrical release, the documentary will be followed by a 30-minute restored version of the Beatles’ 1965 iconic performance at New York’s Shea Stadium. The sound was remastered at Abbey Road Studios by among others George Martin’s son Giles.
The trailer starts with screaming; a sound synonymous with The Beatles’ ascent. The fabulousness of the lads from Liverpool drove a post-war army of teenagers to hysteria. We then see four fresh faces, ready to play Shea Stadium – inventing stadium rock in the process – before cutting to an acerbic John Lennon, who, when asked why the crowd screams, responds, "I don't know, I couldn't tell you." There’s an immediate sense of importance to Howard’s diligently researched work; perhaps he’s the man to explain the cultural phenomenon of Beatlemania.

From early Cavern performances to their final gig at Candlestick Park, the film focuses on 1962 to 1966, when the band played 166 concerts in 90 cities – and the trailer captures this buzz. To the strains of Day Tripper, it introduces the boys as if we’ve never met them, the stills and footage looking vibrant against a jarring audio clip (“you guys are nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys”) countered by a classic Ringo quip.
We dissect the trailer for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years to see what new light is shed on the Liverpool legends.

Then we’re into Help!, a song Lennon wrote about The Beatles’ stifling success. As young Ringo talks about intense pressure, on-screen titles set out the film’s stall: “The Band you know. The story you don’t.”

Enter a flash of modern-day McCartney. Eight Days a Week features brand new interviews with surviving Beatles Paul and Ringo. As much as I loved Macca waxing lyrical at the helm of his fishing boat for Anthology, new insights on an old story are always a pleasure.

A new perspective is at the crux of this teaser. We know the band cracked under the strain and pulled the plug on its live performances. But the mix of rare and exclusive footage, Oscar-winner Howard’s capable steer and the fact the film will be in cinemas for one night only make it a delicious prospect.

A Day in the Life changes the tone as George Harrison talks about “magic chemistry” and the word “brotherhood” flashes onscreen. The trailer ends with the song’s final, sustained piano chord and a typically snide joke from the late Lennon: I expect I’ll be an emotional wreck come 15th September.

We Beatles fans yearn for new material to fuel our unshakable belief they’re the greatest. As Howard says, “their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.” For the fans, Ron’s reverence is deeply reassuring. And, judging by the trailer, Eight Days a Week will be an addition to The Beatles’ canon well worthy of our attention – and adoration.