I love London. I will swear by this place as the greatest city in the world, but I really, really, really love Liverpool. Meaning, I’m going to live in Liverpool someday. I don’t know when, but eventually that is where I will end up. I am so in love with this city, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I know, I love the Beatles, but this place is so much more than those boys. I love the people, the places, the overall vibe. It’s incredible. But I’ll stop gushing over the city and start talking about the weekend..
We got to our hostel Thursday afternoon – Hatters Hostel. This was the fourth time I’ve stayed here, so it was not anything new to me. We got really lucky in a giant room in the basement of the place, and we were also the first ones there! With our newfound frugality, and knowing how much we would be throwing out for pints on pints of Cider, our meals here consisted of some quality Tesco PB&J with some crisps and Randoms. A four star meal, if you ask me.
We got all ready, changed, and it was about 4 – which in Liverpool time, meant we were late to the pubs. We headed out to our home of Mathew Street, and started our usual routine at the Grapes. They hadn’t started their nightly karaoke yet, so we grabbed a pint and a seat, reminisced, and headed over to Lennon Bar next. They had someone playing up there, which eventually turned into karaoke too, and it was like we had never left. We grabbed another pint and a seat – it was already overdue, so of course I knocked over my drink and spilled it everywhere, which I blame the TABLE for. This one time it was not my fault!
Lennon bar is also where we made our famous (or, famous in our minds) wall signings – which meant, we wrote all over the walls. Literally, all over. We went back up to find them, which we did, but our favorite one was covered up! Not only covered up, but covered with photos, with a giant hole drilled in it. Thanks, guys.
Now was that really necessary?
This is also a place where all of my favorite Beatles pictures are. Just a few to show you:
The Beatle People.
After this, we went down to the Cavern Pub, where more dancing and a broken glass was had (it was bound to happen sometime, people), and then went over to the Cavern Club – the place we’d been missing more than almost everything in that country. The Mersey Beatles were playing that night, who we had not seen before. We went up to start dancing, in which we were immediately called out for being ‘obvious Americans’ whooooops! Anyways, we spent the night down there dancing around to some great music with a bunch of strangers who were our best friends for the night. And it was amazing.
Back home, and all is right with the world
The next day we woke up and took a walk around the city. We had been everywhere before, multiple times actually, so our visits to Liverpool normally consist of getting a good nights rest, strolling around, and then going out at night. Perfection, is a more appropriate term for it. We went over to the city centre, took another trip into Primark, and went to eat in Cavern Walks. Heather’s sorority sister, Rachel, was coming in for the next two nights, so we met up with her, headed back to the hostel to get ready, and then hit the town – and by town, I of course mean Mathew Street.
We went back around, and ended our night once again in the Cavern Club. Our friends, The Rockits, play in the Cavern every Friday night, and they were the first band we saw on our first visit back in January ’12, they were the band we spent our night in the Cavern with our parents with, and they were also the band that we met up with again at Abbey Road on the River in the US. Needless to say, we were really excited to get back to seeing them there again!
It was another night spent full of dancing and singing, and of course, we ran into another stag (bachelors party). This one happened to be a bunch of hilarious Irish guys, who, when realized we were American, began the USA! USA! chant …. at every possible moment they got. It was pretty hilarious, and more reasoning to why I absolutely love stag parties.
Will never get tired of running down these stairs.
Yes we signed the ceiling.
Yes, everyone else liked our idea and decided to follow.
Yes we also signed the lights.
Saturday, we had a tour schedule at the Casbah Club. This was the place where the Beatles really played for the first time together in front of an audience. We got there, and I didn’t expect the place to be a literal house, on a suburban street. I mean, it’s called the Casbah Club! You’d think it was in the city, or bar-like, or something! But no, it is, in fact, a family-style home.
We had been too see all the Beatles sites, went inside John and Paul’s childhood homes, inside Abbey Road Studio 2, so it was really interesting to see the place that had a factor to all of these things happening in the later years. Another awesome thing about this tour, was that our guide was Roag Best, who is Pete Best’s brother, lived in the house, and actually lived and experienced everything that he was talking to us about. The Casbah Club was the actual home of the Best’s family, which gives more reason to why it is an actual house. It was started by Pete’s mom, Mo, in the late 50s, who wanted to make a place for people to listen to other types of music than the jazz-style, that was only allowed in places like the Cavern at the time. When the first band she had booked canceled, one of the members, a little-known gentleman by the name of George Harrison, went to his friends to see if their band, another little-known band, The Quarrymen, would want to play the Club. They agreed to play, but before the Club opened, a lot of painting and work needed to be done, and Mo told the boys if they wanted to play, they had to paint. The walls inside the Casbah now, are all the walls painted by the members of the Beatles.
The basement entrance into the Casbah!
‘Aztec’ ceiling that was painted by John.
The actual piano that the boys of The Beatles used.
The room where the boys first played together! The rainbow ceiling you see was painted by Paul, and the orange ceiling was painted by George.
You can see the rainbow ceiling above Paul! Paul is also making eyes at Cynthia Powell, John’s future wife!
Our not so successful attempt at being John and Paul.
When the crowds got too much for their playing in the tiny room, they moved to the ‘Spider Room’, which had a giant spider web painted on the wall, courtesy of Pete Best. The red ceiling was painted again by John, who, in true John Lennon fashion, re-signed the wall, just for Mo.
The next room was where merchandise was sold. It was also a room full of a star ceiling, painted by all the boys, said to be worth 15,000 pounds a star! That is one expensive ceiling! It was also the room where Paul and John convinced Stu Sutcliffe to spend his money on a bass so that he could join their band and go to Hamburg with them.
The star ceiling.
John Lennon silhouette painted by Cynthia Lennon.
Hahahhah. I don’t know about you, but this sold me.
I am so glad that we were able to visit the Casbah and take the tour. It’s kind of a hidden gem, not something most people talk about when they do their Beatle touristy stuff in Liverpool, but it really is something that everyone should see. We thanked Roag for all of his time, and headed back into the city centre to, yes you guessed it, head back to the Cavern.
We did the tour in the morning, because the Cavern has afternoon sets with our favorite band, The Shakers, and a great acoustic player, Jay Murray. This was also a thing that we had done every trip to Liverpool since our first time, two years ago. We grabbed some food and headed out back to Mathew Street around 2PM, which, to no surprise to use, we stayed until the early hours of the morning.
After the show, we decided to head over to the Cavern Pub before this, because The Amazing Kappa was playing. He is another band we’ve seen since we started coming, but he is crazy good on the guitar, as in the only person I would say compares to how good he plays would be Laurence Juber.
Casually playing the guitar behind his head.
Next up in the Cavern was Cave Dwellers – this was something that went on every Saturday night. Anyone was able to get on the famous Cavern stage to sing, play, or in our case, dance. It’s kind of like karaoke, but much better because it is in the Cavern Club. Our friend Alan, who runs Cavern photos, had told us the night before that he was going to make us get up on the stage. Now I am absolutely tone deaf, to where if the music is not blaring, you probably don’t want to hear me sing. So there was no way I was getting on stage. But put me down in the Cavern and give me a few pints, and it’s like I don’t know what stage fright is. Heather and I got up and danced around to someone singing the Stones, Jumping Jack Flash. Now I don’t know if it’s normal at Cave Dwellers for people to just get on the stage and dance, but they kept telling us to go ahead, so of course, we did!
After this, the night was filled with others singing and playing. There was even a hen party that got up and sang Hey Jude together! I kept telling Tony, the drummer in the Shakers, that I wanted to play the drums with him. I have never touched a drum set before, but who cares? It seemed cool, so WHY NOT! He finally called me back to the drum set with him and I played the drums to Norwegian Wood. Well.. I played one part, and he played the other. But I played the drums. And it was awesome.
View from on the stage. I could get used to that…
Don’t really need to say it, but it was another amazing night in Liverpool. One of the best that we’ve had – and that’s saying a lot, because without exaggeration, every night in Liverpool is a top contender for best nights in my life. And the great thing was, we still had one more night!
On Sunday morning, Heather and Rachel went out to the Magical Mystery Tour, which I really wanted to do while we were in Liverpool. I had a business meeting on Monday afternoon though, and if we were going to stay another night in Liverpool, I figured I should stay back and research a little bit. When they finished the tour, we went over to the Adelphi Hotel, where The Rockits were playing an event that they invited us to. It was a much, much older crowd, and we were absolutely the youngest ones there, but it’s something we are pretty used to, so we danced around and had a great time!
After the show, the Shakers were playing their Sunday night set in the Cavern, so we made our way back to Mathew Street one last time. It was a great show, and we said our hellos and goodbyes to the Shakers after. They are another band we’d seen and gotten to know from our visits around Liverpool, and they also made their Shakers debut in the US at Abbey Road on the River, so it’s always good to catch up again with them. After their show, the Mersey Beatles, the same band we saw on Thursday, played the Cavern until close. This was the first weekend we saw this band, but they were so much fun on Thursday, I was so glad to have seen them again on Sunday!
And with the end of the night, our long weekend in Liverpool was over. It was a crazy, fun, exhausting weekend that we had not had a second to rest during, but I would not have had it any other way. I have not, and firmly believe that I will not ever have a bad time in that city. There are so many great people, and so much great music, it’s pretty impossible to dislike that place – I don’t care what the Londoners say!