2002 Tour Report by Batya
took our coach to the airport and before we knew it we were
landing in London.
We arrived in merry ol' England, where tour guide Richard
Porter greeted us. We soon went with Richard on a walking
tour. We couldn't stop raving about how much fun we had, and
how many new and great Beatle sites they visited. It was perfect
weather for a walk-about. Others opted to go to the theater
for a West End play (at least four of us went to see the Queen
show "We Will Rock You"). Others went to dinner
and made it an early night, some went out to Leicester Square
or Piccadilly Circus, while others found a casino and did
some gambling. Monica, one of our returning tour-members,
was celebrating her birthday today, and her goal was to have
a celebratory visit to the Hard Rock Café in both Amsterdam
and London. She succeeded!
the first time ever, we stayed at the Bonnington at Bloomsbury
Hotel, home of the Beatles Day conventions in London. We began
our first full day in London with a hearty breakfast and took
the coach tour of Beatle sites with an emphasis on locales from
the films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help."
Our official tour band, "British Export," broke away
early and took a taxi to Abbey Road, where they began a full
recording session. We would join them later on. People who had
gone on the MMTour before commented that this was the most complete
London tour Richard Porter had ever done. First-timers were
in awe of all the sites covered. Richard was pleased to have
more time to show fans the sites. When the group went by Cavendish
Avenue, Paul was there, but didn't come out. A security guard
did, and asked our group to leave. I'm sure Paul wanted his
privacy. His daughter Mary had another son, and it may have
been that she was there also. That's my best guess. One of the
American travelers did see Paul outside, and hopefully her pictures
will come out!
I went with friends
to Windsor Castle and the British Museum. The castle grounds
are breathtaking and this place is huge! It's the Queen's residence
during certain times during the year. We saw many rooms with
paintings, old furniture, sparkling chandeliers and lots of
Back at the hotel, everyone met for our early evening group
recording session at Abbey Road Studios. This never loses its
magic. Before we arrived, "British Export" recorded
four tracks (one eachper band-member), and as a group, we recorded
the chorus to "Yellow Submarine" with lead vocals
by Jim "Ringo" Martin. The band played their roles
perfectly, dressed in appropriate "Abbey Road" outfits.
Before we began our recording session with master producer Will
at the boards, we ascended upon the front steps of Abbey Road
to pose for many pictures. Most of us took turns going back
& forth across the Abbey Road zebra crossing, of course
snapping photos by the dozens. We were privy to a collection
of Abbey Road souvenirs and memorabilia on sale by the staff.
When we entered Studio 2, we were joined by fans from Mexico,
Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela. One of the guys played the
piano and we sang "Hey Jude," "Martha My Dear,"
"Maybe I'm Amazed" and some of "Live and Let
Recording the background
chorus "Yellow Submarine" with British Export wasn't
easy. Too many of us were too nervous and too excited to sing
loud enough. We had to do 2 or 3 takes. But we did it, and it
was a rousing good time!!
Groups of five at a time made their way up the famous steps
to George Martin's control room, but most of us didn't want
to leave the studio. We never really know if we'll ever get
into Abbey Road again. It was brought to our attention that
this was the 33rd anniversary of the very last time
The Beatles recorded as a group at Abbey Road Studios.
Tour members Katie and Shelley sneaked back to Cavendish Avenue,
hoping to catch a glimpse of Paul. It is rumored that Katie
crawled under Paul's fence and videotaped very exciting footage
of his car's tires. Shelley tossed a rock under Paul's fence,
with a note attached, reading "Still Pissed At Yoko."
We stayed as long as possible,
and finally left as a group for our late-night dinner &
dance party at London's Hard Rock Café. They were kind
enough to keep both the souvenir shop and "The Vault"
open an extra half hour for us. The Vault contains Hard Rock's
rarest and most valuable collectibles. The Hard Rock Staff was
especially generous that night, let us touch and pose with some
of the rare paraphernalia from The Vault.
It was then time to parteee! We went in, had dinner and drinks,
and our DJs Charles and Danny
got our party started with some solo Beatles cuts before getting
into the best Beatles dance tracks. Our Mexican friends and
also some membersof the Venezuela Beatles fan club joined us.
It was a great finale to a wonderful time spent in London. This
was the point of the trip where everyone really bonded and the
group really came together as one.
After the Hard Rock party we headed back to the hotel. Some
stayed up a little later hanging out in the hotel lobby; most
of us went to bed.
Two coaches were waiting for us when we finished breakfast and
checked out of our London hotel. The
one leaving with Charles aboard was supposed to be the "party"
bus with trivia, a penny auction and fun interaction. That was
the "A" bus for "active." The bus with Danny
was earmarked as the "sleeping" bus for all the tired
people who wanted to catch up on sleep. That was the "B"
bus for "boring." Sometimes things change, because
the "A' bus wound up standing for "also sleeping,"
as all of us crashed.
Our first stop of the day was a very meaningful one. For the
first time in a number of years, we drove to Henley-on-Thames
for a respectful visit to George's Friar Park residence. Several
of us brought flowers and some wrote notes and poems to leave
on the front gates. A handful of us lit candles and paused for
a moment of silence. For those of us who had visited Friar park
years before, this was a very different experience. It could
be compared to walking past the Dakota Building before and after
losing John. We sure miss you, John and George. We were there
a few minutes before a security guy came out and asked us to
move on. He was nice and courteous about it. We crossed the
street, took some final pictures, and left. With some time to
spare, a few of us visited a nearby used record shop, while
a bunch of us checked out a beautiful old church nearby, and,
totally coincidentally, found Dusty Springfield's grave therein
(with her picture).