I've Just Seen A Face
Personal appearances by Sir George Martin

| Sydney 1998 | Melbourne 1998 | Links to other reviews | Playback Tour 2002 (Page 1) |
All You Need Is Beatles Concert
Sydney Opera House, 25 January 1998
Review by

My chance sighting of Penny Lane in our own Australian "City of Liverpool," as the signpost read, on the way to Sydney's inner city, was to bode well for the fading moments of the day, when the Opera House, perched in all its white-sailed splendour, by the edge of Sydney Harbour, came into view. Walking around Circular Quay, minutes later, on our way to collect the tickets, we passed hundreds upon hundreds of members of the 3:00 pm audience, lingering in the dwindling sunlight, and clutching their souvenir programmes, each still brimming with praise for the spectacle they had witnessed many hours before.

The three of us readied our banner made in a mammoth team-effort the previous day, when, in restless excitement, we carefully inscribed a bolt of cloth with the calligraphic words swathed in admiration and adoration -- "All We Need Is Sir George!" And then, after a colourful and spirited rendition of "Magical Mystery Tour" -- with our famed local talent Human Nature, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, singer James Reyne, the fifty-piece Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and with Little River Band member Glenn Shorrock as tour guide -- throughout which we sobbed and bawled with the best of them...he strode onto stage.

Honestly, the ensuing ten minutes will forever be classed amongst the most overwhelming of my days -- imagine, to be seated in the iconic Sydney Opera House, bathed in live Beatles music, and in the presence of the one and only Sir George Martin, long-time producer and friend of the Fab Four...only if the Beatles themselves had followed him on stage could I have been any more ecstatic. So, through a veil of joyful tears, and with my heart beating "She Loves You" style, it was hard to believe that there he stood -- that kindly smile, that dignified stature, that mellifluous voice -- and I had eyes only for him.

Sir George's impeccably deft selection included:

  • Michelle
  • She's Leaving Home
  • Got To Get You Into My Life
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Because
  • Here Comes The Sun
  • I Am The Walrus
  • Day Tripper
  • When I'm Sixty Four
  • Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
  • Strawberry Fields Forever
  • Penny Lane
  • A Day In The Life
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • Yellow Submarine & the Pepperland Suite
  • Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite
  • Across The Universe
  • Yesterday
When he turned around, to address us all, cameras a-flash, and audience agog, we witnessed what Ray Coleman called Sir George's "quicksilver mind" in full flight -- his sheer eloquence, gentlemanly manner, subtle humour, and purest respect and love for "the boys" shining through, as he spoke so very fondly of his time with them. One anecdote he recounted concerned John and Paul's "roles" within the group. Paul's reputation as "the soppy one" -- though a track like "Helter Skelter" was a case in point, he observed -- meant that John's "Across The Universe shook me rigid...it was so unlike him, but I love it." During another pause, and meeting the audience with peals of laughter, he recalled the famous conversation with John, in which John revealed that, had he the opportunity, he would re-record every Beatle track. "Really?" questioned Sir George, once more "shaken rigid." "I wouldn't."

All this with electric spotlights to accentuate the current song -- providing evidence aplenty for those Beatle-colour-conspiracy theorists -- with red, aptly enough, for "Strawberry Fields Forever," followed by a pink and violet "Penny Lane," a yellow song about a submarine in Pepperland, and a magnificent "A Day In The Life" with mind-bending psychedelic rainbow lightning, as the perfect accompaniment to Sir George's classic crescendo, after which one member of the audience suggested as our George left the stage for the intermission, "Do it again."

By the time the concert reached the "Abbey Road Medley," followed by "The End," both musically and literally, the audience was worked into such a frenzy! After Ringo's drum solo, we were all clapping in time to the music so eagerly that Paul, George and John's parts could not be heard above us -- but we could see the three substitutes performing very admirably indeed, and playing off each other in the highest spirits...we all knew how it would sound, anyway. And as Ringo astutely observed in Anthology, "I never felt the audience came to hear our shows. I felt they came to see us."

Then George announced "All You Need Is Love" as the closing number, my sister and I sang along with the band, and the banner appeared. Being one who does not often go in for voluntary public humiliation, I must confess, I knew no fear -- what I knew was that these hundreds of fans agreed with us wholeheartedly -- but standing at the back of the stalls, swaying in time to the music, I was the just about the happiest I had ever been, and I could tell that humiliation would come only if we missed the opportunity to sing along to the music of the greatest band in all history, and missed the chance to show Sir George Martin (without whom it would never have been possible) how much we appreciated and loved him.

Sir George then left the stage to a standing ovation, followed by a minute or two of rapturous applause, much stamping, whistling, and screaming -- in all of which I eagerly participated. (In fact, I became a fully-fledged, practising Beatlemaniac during these moments -- screaming louder than I had ever screamed before. I was a "crazy fan" right in the midst of "the hurricane," I was the British fan tearing up her clothes, we were the fans in Shea Stadium, screaming for all they were worth...)

The first encore was answered by "Hey Jude," with Sir George on piano. After receiving unwavering applause, he met the second by telling us with the utmost sincerity, "I will always remember this...Bless you all." (I'm in tears again.) Then for the third Sir George was clearly unprepared, eventually suggesting another round of "Hey Jude...but this time, you sing." And, boy, did we sing. We sang our hearts out. By this stage, Tommy, James and Human Nature (all good performers, by the way, though none could hit the high notes) had each observed the banner -- this mattered barely a jot to me. But when lead singer Glenn leant over to Sir George himself and pointed us out, whereupon Sir George smiled at us, I thought I'd never live to see another dawn.

What more can I say? One sweet dream came true today.

All You Need Is Beatles Concert
Melbourne Concert Hall, 31 January 1998
Review by
Elizabeth Warren

I was in the fourth row from the front, so I could see everything very clearly. But, before the concert started, my friend and I were waiting at the stage door for him to arrive. Human Nature arrived in the mean time and they all just walked right past us. I'm not interested in them though. When George arrived, we went up to the car and waited for him to get out. It was amazing to see this guy in the flesh who you'd never seen before except on TV. So I was the first fan to get his autograph when he arrived. That's when I got my ticket autographed. I also got a collectors card of him and three of the Beatles recording in 1963 autographed. So then we went inside and bought our programmes. During intermission, we went up to the stage and looked at the set list sticky taped to the floor. While we were doing that this guy came out the stage door and was just standing there. We didn't know who he was at the time, but at the end of the concert George thanked various people, and that unknown guy was in fact his son! Towards the end of the show, the ushers gave us streamers to through which we all did, and my friend and I nearly hit him because we were so close. Tommy Emmanuel also fell over because he slipped on the streamers.

Earlier on in the day, we had checked out all of the concert venue for escape routes. It came in handy, because we made a run for the back stage door to see if we could meet him again on the way out. Before he came out, I got Tommy Emmanuel's autograph and Glenn Shorrock's (both in the programme). Then Human Nature were trying to sneak out, even though there were relatively few fans waiting. Eventually George came out with his driver and his son and we got his and his son's autograph on the programme. Then I spoke to George and told him what a good show it was and I mentioned that my dad used to live in Abbey Road, St John Wood's (which is true, but it was a different Abbey Rd in St John's Wood.) And he said, "And do you like it?" I didn't know if he meant the street or the album, but I suppose he meant the album, so I said yes. Then off they went to the car and I gave his son the thumbs up which he responded to by doing the same. So in they were in the car and I was the last person they waved goodbye to. That's my version of seeing George Martin, but I need to add, that during the concert he spoke of his experiences with the Beatles too and it was amazing to hear it first hand instead reading it in a book or something like that. That was great!

Review Links


Visit Abbeyrd's Beatles Page for reviews of Sir George's 1999 US tour, when he presented a series of multimedia lectures entitled The Making of Sgt. Pepper.


Read Jorge Bernardo's thrilling story of meeting Sir George at in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1999. (And turn green with envy at the photo which proves it! ;-)


Read Winona's absorbing tale of Sir George's Sgt. Pepper lecture at the Park West in Chicago, Illinois, in 1999.


Relive Sir George's unforgettable Rio de Janeiro concert in 1993, with a detailed report and exclusive photographs by Ricardo Pugialli, the fan and author who helped bring George Martin to Brazil.


Paul Lehrman fondly recalls Sir George's 1999
appearance at the Berklee Performance Center
in Boston, with quotes, anecdotes, musings,
and a colourful illustration by Joseph Fiedler.

Playback Tour 2002 (Page 1)

Would you like to review one of Sir George's albums, books, concerts or lectures? Have you met Sir George and want to share your story with other fans? Please email silvermind@wildmail.com with your name, location and message. Thank you!

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