Abramorama          2 hours and 17 minutes      Documentary

Are you ready to hear a lot of screaming females? That’s what you’ll get when you see the pandemonium the Beatles created when they toured the United States in the 1960’s. The footage of the fan-demonium of teenage girls screaming set new decibel levels and make the boy band craze of the past 20 years look like zilch.

But this movie is about more than that. Ron Howard has gathered an incredible amount of footage shot live at Beatles concerts in 1964 and the big one at Shea Stadium in 1965 which is a bonus. Whoopi Goldberg was 9 and talks about how she got to that concert with her Mother. You’ll also hear Sigourney Weaver talk about her experience getting tickets and going to see the Beatles in concert. Every girl had their favorite.

There was a lot going on at that time politically and socially which influenced the Beatles and their music influenced us. We also get behind the scenes to hear what the boys were really thinking about all the attention and notoriety. At first, it’s flattering, exciting, and they get to go all over the United States. But eventually, it gets stifling and confining having to stay in hotel rooms and backstage without being able to really explore the cities they toured. There were music challenges and social ones, too.

We see them face segregation at concerts in the deep South and refuse to play the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida unless Blacks and Whites can attend. Paul McCartney told DJ Larry Kane who was invited to go on their tour, that there was no segregation at concerts in England and that he and the boys felt the same way, that you can’t treat people like animals. That was major. One young Black woman interviewed who attended that concert says it changed everything.

We hear from girls who went to great lengths to see the Beatles, many of whom got so revved up they got sick and fainted. There were many minor casualties. Police and barricades were called into action.

If you lived through the 60’s, this film will bring back some very good memories. The interviews with John, Paul, George and Ringo show how funny and clever they could be, as well as sensitive to their fans. The movie shows how well they got along for a long time until appreciation for their music took a back seat to their notoriety. That’s when they started to think about splitting up to go their own ways. Plus the tour was grueling and overwhelming, filled with crowds that often got out of control.

Ron Howard is reportedly thinking about putting another film on the Beatles together. But this one is very informative. It’s also mind boggling to hear how many songs they wrote and hear them performed all in one film, hit after hit. The Beatles lived through amazing times in the ’60’s. How it affected them and how their music touched us is in this film now playing at the Music Box Theatre.