What will a die-hard Beatles fan think?
Therefore, it was with great interest and anticipation that I made my way to Montréal’s Museum of Archaeology and History to see The Beatles in Montréal exhibit, detailing the 2 concerts the band put on in the city on September 8, 1964.
I nearly missed a rare Beatles vignette hidden among the hyperbolic tales of how many girls fainted at the Forum concerns. I had never before heard that Ringo Star had received serious death threats prior to the concert. Some residents mistakenly believed Ringo to be Jewish and anti-Semitic individuals made serious threats. The Beatles took these threats seriously enough that they didn't spend the night in the city but instead left the same day and, during the concerts, Ringo’s drum set was re-positioned to hide his body.
Additional discrepancies are evident in a room dedicated to the Beatles music, where many award winning discs and memorabilia are on display. Sgt Pepper gets an extensive showcase, as does the controversial "Butcher Cover". But an object of interest to hardcore Beatles fans is almost entirely obscured in a hallway. An incredibly uncommon first disc of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean - recorded with original drummer Pete Best - as well as a Pete Best autographed litho of the original Beatles was buried in a corner.
This is a curiously curated exhibit, to say the least. While there is an interesting assortment of Beatles history and artifacts in display, there is a distinct feel of basing the narrative around available memorabilia instead of telling the most compelling story. The two most gripping stories of the Beatles in Montréal have to be the John Lennon bed-in and the serious deaths threats against Ringo Star. Yet the exhibit focuses on the very typical story of screaming girls and lots of excitement- a charming walk down memory lane for those who were there but not a story worthy of a museum.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Have you ever traveled with a musical motivation?
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