Here's my finished piece for The "All Together Now" Beatles Tribute Art Show at Gallery Nucleus (opening Saturday July 7th at 7pm)! It's done in pen and ink and watercolor. I had played around with some color comps for a fully painted version but ultimately I wanted to highlight the drawing with some light washes. You can see my other concepts and rough drafts here.
To me, the greatest Rock moment of all time is when the Beatles gave an impromptu performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corps recording Studio. Imagine being on your lunch hour in London when you see people rushing through the streets, murmuring that the greatest rock legends in history are performing a their first live show in three years out in the open! The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 after they figured out that their concertgoers could not possibly hear their live music through all of the manic screaming that accompanied their shows. Suddenly, they were blasting a live performance of brand new music from the rooftops! When the police showed up, the Beatles were actually pretty excited because they would have loved to have had footage of themselves being dragged off by "the man". To the Fab Four's chagrin, the police tamely asked them keep it down or turn it off (as if they were some kids having a loud party, and not the greatest band of all time creating history). At the end of what would prove to be their final live performance together, John leaves a joking farewell to the audience, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition."
There is a melancholy feeling to the whole performance that is very moving to me. The rooftop concert proved to be the last time the Beatles performed a live show together, and you can see from the footage that there is a distance between each of them. No longer are they all clad in matching suits, Beatle boots and mop top haircuts; no longer were they the happy-go-lucky young lads trying to make it big. Each man had become a legend in his own right, and the rooftop concert showcases each Beatle's individuality as much as it also is a great example of the magic that they created when they were together. "Don't Let Me Down" is one of my absolute favorite songs; there is an earnestness in the vocals (John handling lead with Paul and George providing beautiful two and three-part harmonies) as John pleas with Yoko to understand that he is really putting his vulnerability on display for the first time and needs her not to let him down.