LIVE: “Looking Through a Glass Onion: Deconstructing the Beatles’ ‘White Album'” @ Proctors, 2/24/12
Review by Allison G., Nippertown high school freshman
Last week, my parents and I went to Proctors in Schenectady to see a lecture/presentation on the Beatles’ “White Album” delivered by Scott Freiman. This multimedia big-screen presentation had a great mixture of audio from the Beatles’ recording sessions, video and pictures, little-known information, stories and humor. Mr. Freiman is a composer, producer, engineer and a Beatles fan. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Music from Yale University and a Masters of Music Composition from New York University. He created “Deconstructing the Beatles,” which is a series of interesting presentations that include the composition and production techniques the Beatles used.
During the presentation, Mr. Freiman told the sold-out audience how certain songs came to be, like “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” My favorite song on the album is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” where the electric guitar solo was played by Eric Clapton, who was humorously referred to as ‘God’ when his picture was flashed on the screen at Proctors. George Harrison convinced him to play that guitar part on his song. Another song I like is “Helter Skelter.” Through many takes it was originally supposed to be a bluesy song while the Beatles were recording it at EMI Studios.
The song “Dear Prudence” was written about an actual girl by the same name who was on retreat in India with the Maharishi Yogi at the same time the Beatles were there. She had a nervous breakdown, would not come out from her room. So John and Paul went to her and started singing to her, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play.” The cool thing I learned about the song’s inspiration and how it came to be was that Prudence’s aunt was from Schenectady.
Overall, I thought the presentation was very well put together, enjoyable and informative. I liked that when we were listening to the audio clips, Mr. Freiman isolated certain instruments from the recorded tracks so to hear – and see – them better. I like how some of the audio clips were from the Beatles’ recording sessions at EMI, and some were recordings the band did at George Harrison’s house. I also liked that he didn’t make the lecture boring. He put humor in it and made it come alive. There was never a point during the presentation that I didn’t like it; I enjoyed the whole thing from beginning to end.
Mr. Freiman has three other lecture/presentations. There are two on the albums “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and one titled “A Trip Through Strawberry Fields.” I recommend that Beatle fans should go see one of Scott Freiman’s presentations.