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FIRST PICTURES: The Beatles / Live at the BBC: The Collection

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Apple and Universal have done a very good with these new Beatles BBC releases. The Collection ‘box set’ is in reality is just both volumes contained in a simple card slipcase, but these releases do feel like two peas in a pod, so why not give them a ‘pod’ to reside in?

1994’s Live at the BBC is newly remastered and gets a presentational lick of paint, losing the sepia tones that defined the original and the plastic ‘fatbox’ 2CD jewel case. The packaging is now consistent with the 2009 stereo CD remasters, so that means glossy six panel card wallets, with the black strip and Apple and Beatles logos at the top. The 48-page booklet contains exactly the same content as before, but the layout is slightly different and the photos look much better, with the black and white shots again losing their sepia.

The new two-CD collection is On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2. The stunning cover shot of ‘the boys’ walking along a London street has been colourised – like one of those old Laurel And Hardy films – which in theory should be a little naff, but it adds something quite special. There is an air of unreality about it, which is somehow appropriate, given how unreal The Beatles achievements were in terms of record sales and social impact in these early years.  As you will see from the photos below, the packaging is cute because it echoes the design of the new Live at the BBC reissue. So the four Beatle mug shots, which are black and white on volume one, are again colourised on volume two. Same goes for the widescreen shot of the BBC Radio Studios in Central London. Volume one has white type on black, while volume two reverses it. The booklet is the same size and length as for the first release and author Kevin Howlett provides continuity by again contributing some excellent notes at the beginning.

The slipcase is definitely a ‘nice to have’ rather than something essential. But considering we went to considerably more expense to get hold of this Italy-only Beatles remasters box, it wasn’t going to be an option to not get these releases without the box. It’s only a few pounds extra, after all.

The Beatles / Live at the BBC: The Collection is out now.

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5 responses to FIRST PICTURES: The Beatles / Live at the BBC: The Collection

  1. David says:

    Audio content and presentation is obviously great (it’s The Beatles!)
    but:

    I don’t understand why retailers are selling the Collection package for between £5-£10 more than buying the two sets individually.

    The slipcase adds nothing of value whatsoever, is cheap and entirely superfluous. Also, from the reviews I’ve read the flimsy cardboard packaging of the individual albums is still arriving damaged even though they are ‘protected’ in the slipcase. Meaning the albums are sometimes being mistreated prior to packaging, which is a shame.

    As the industry is seemingly intent on using this cardboard style packaging, I would prefer they were presented in proper digipack form with the plastic tray and spindle rather than discs loose in sleeves/pockets. Often they are not easy to access and not a great way of storing the discs.

    Aside from those niggles, a nice addition to a Beatles collection.

  2. Galley says:

    Normally, I would’ve gone for the slipcase version, but a U.S. retailer was selling the individual sets for only $7.99 each.

    • Aadam Jacobs says:

      I did a search in hopes of finding this $7.99 copy, but to no avail. Please enlighten us to the location of this deal. Thank you.

  3. Kudzu says:

    “The 48-page booklet contains exactly the same content as before…”

    Yes, for all intents and purposes, but not literally. I don’t know why but some of the song write-ups have changed. I don’t have the booklets with me right now but I did a quick check and some of the song write-ups have been changed so inconsequentially that I wonder why they bothered.

  4. Lenny Banter says:

    I am a bit disappointed that they have used songs from the Baby It’s You EP and a track from Anthonology 1 to fill out the running order. Surely with so many sessions recorded they could have found song other songs to put on it, or are they keeping those behind for Vol.3?

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