The Bestival Festival is home to some amazing sights and it is about a lot more than who is playing on the main stage. We caught a very special performance in the Xbox Tent and have got an exclusive film. These four tots took to the stage in the Xbox tent and got the crowd going with the Beatles twist & shout. Check out the tiny one with the Kanye sunnies!
Do You Want to Know a Secret? I’m not the world’s biggest Beatles fan, probably because I only really listened properly to the band perhaps four or five years ago. My parents were fans, certainly, but for some reason The Beatles didn’t get much airplay in our hous when compared to other music from my parents or from my brother. The first fifteen or so years of my life gave me an eclectic mix ranging from Dave Dobbyn and ELO to AC/DC and Rage Against the Machine, before I started picking up bits from friends. Hell, I only listened to Led Zeppelin properly a few years ago, for which you are encouraged to mock me in the comments.
But I digress. The Beatles never featured particularly highly, for whatever reason, although my musical education has gotten broader and broader over recent years. The Beatles: Rock Band is, for me, the culmination of my Beatles education. (Fear not – fawning though that sounds, I have integrity; you Can’t Buy Me Love and all that.)
Turning on The Beatles: Rock Band is a bit like having a brilliant Birthday. There’s spectacle and noise, and great music, and you’re constantly given presents that make you want to Twist and Shout. We’ll take each of those in turn, but first, if you’ve somehow managed to avoid the Guitar Hero/Rock Band phenomenon – entirely possible, as if any game is going to bring the uninitiated in, it’ll be this one – this is the latest in a series of games that have you play along to popular music on a variety of plastic instruments. If you sing, it’s much like karaoke; if you’re on guitar or bass then you hold down fret buttons and click a strum bar; if you’re on drums, then you smash drumsticks against plastic pads, all in accordance with the “notes” on the game screen. A variety of difficulties, tutorials, and even a mode that prevents you from failing out of a song if you’re performing badly mean that players of any skill level can have a good time – particularly if inhibitions are gone due to, say, alcoholic beverages.
The opening cutscene, which goes through pretty much every phase of the Beatles’ career, sets the tone, and the reverence for the subject matter continues throughout. There’s just a constant barrage of nice touches that make you smile. The start and end of songs (the loading times, basically) are marked with archive audio of the Beatles tuning up or discussing how the take or performance went. For completing songs in Story mode – which goes through the band’s career chronologically, from the Cavern to the Abbey Road rooftop performance – you’re rewarded with photographs complete with flavour text discussing relevant facts about the song, and archive footage, all pulled from the Abbey Road archives.
Happily, for every small problem, there are countless things that left me astonished. The dreamscapes are first and foremost in this. The last half of the game is set after the Beatles stopped touring, leaving us with a recording studio that would provide a dull backdrop to 20-odd songs, but a way around this has been found with the studio fading into a variety of beautiful environments and animations that mirror the song’s progression and lyrics. Of particular note are Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With A Little Help From My Friends, which take the theme and run with it to spectacular levels. The latter in particular opens with the Lonely Hearts Club Band playing to a huge audience in beautiful fields with some lovely visual references to the song, before fading into a hot-air balloon for With A Little Help From My Friends. Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows has an amazing psychadelic background that perfectly fits the song itself, while the hypnotising guitar of I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and its sudden cessation at the end of the song are wonderfully represented, at that end, by a jarring backdrop – and that for a backdrop that technically isn’t even one of the dreamscapes.