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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: marcella27 on March 22, 2021, 08:52:19 PM



Title: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: marcella27 on March 22, 2021, 08:52:19 PM
Hi all, I'm trying to find out if anything of any length has been written about the Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969 (Prague, Bratislava and Brno).  I've read the thread in which Stephen Desper provides excellent information on the Prague show, but wonder if anyone has written anything else in any depth that touches on the political aspects of an American band playing in Czechoslovakia at that time.  Thanks in advance. 


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: zaval80 on March 23, 2021, 03:39:12 PM
There is a book by Dick Heckstall-Smith, the saxophonist from Colosseum, "The Safest Plece in the World", which has the first-hand account of a working musician; it includes some BB-related anecdotes like having to rely on a battery from a Soviet tank for their PA, and a rather huge section on a socio-political analysis - but it must be said that he was a "tankie".


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: chrisb on March 25, 2021, 03:25:24 AM
Not much..but Mike Love put up a Facebook post when his band returned in June 2019 to play the Lucerna Concert Hall, Prague (the venue for the first of their 3 concerts in the country back in 1969).
It said...


"FREE TO ROCK

Sunday night had to be one of the most amazing events of our career. Fifty years ago (June 17th 1969), The Beach Boys performed in Czechoslovakia at the Lucerna Great Hall in Prague. Our three performances in the country were the first by a western rock band behind The Iron Curtain.

That concert is indelibly imprinted in my memory. The memories are not only of the show, as our first impressions were formed during our landing. We chartered a plane in London to fly to Prague. It was the most intimidating sight that I have witnessed in thousands of landings. To the left side of the runway were dozens of Russian MiG-19 and MiG-21 fighter jets and to right were dozens of Russian T-55 and T-62 tanks. This was obviously staged by the Soviet military to intimidate…and it did. A year earlier, Operation Danube was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by nearly 250,000 troops from five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary.

Despite all that they had been through, the people of Czechoslovakia welcomed us with open arms. We represented rock ‘n roll, the USA and something in short supply at the time – freedom. How fitting that we were promoting our new single, Break Away, which we performed that night I will never forget the concert at Lucerna Great Hall on June 17th, 1969. The audience response was thunderous, the hall was jam-packed and there was no air conditioning. The walls and pillars of the 1920’s hall were damp from the humidity of humanity. In our entire career, we’ve never had a more tumultuous reception.

Sunday night, we performed in that in that very same hall. And at midnight we celebrated the 50th anniversary of that monumental concert. Not much has changed in that in that historic hall…but outside those walls, it’s a different story. Freedom reigns in the beautiful countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Once again, we felt the love and appreciation. A total emotional experience for all of us.

The film, Free to Rock, was released in 2017 and The Beach Boys are a part of that amazing documentary. The film was produced by Jim Brown and shows the power of music to create freedom. I am proud, yet humbled, to know that our music has connected with the hearts of millions, regardless of race and religion, language, ethnicity or geography. People feel the love, as we do, every night. It is said that home is where the heart is… and Sunday night back in Prague, we were home.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287080/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl "


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: marcella27 on March 26, 2021, 10:35:23 PM
There is a book by Dick Heckstall-Smith, the saxophonist from Colosseum, "The Safest Plece in the World", which has the first-hand account of a working musician; it includes some BB-related anecdotes like having to rely on a battery from a Soviet tank for their PA, and a rather huge section on a socio-political analysis - but it must be said that he was a "tankie".

Thanks so much!  I had never heard of this so will check it out. 


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: marcella27 on March 26, 2021, 10:37:14 PM
Not much..but Mike Love put up a Facebook post when his band returned in June 2019 to play the Lucerna Concert Hall, Prague (the venue for the first of their 3 concerts in the country back in 1969).
It said...


"FREE TO ROCK

Sunday night had to be one of the most amazing events of our career. Fifty years ago (June 17th 1969), The Beach Boys performed in Czechoslovakia at the Lucerna Great Hall in Prague. Our three performances in the country were the first by a western rock band behind The Iron Curtain.

That concert is indelibly imprinted in my memory. The memories are not only of the show, as our first impressions were formed during our landing. We chartered a plane in London to fly to Prague. It was the most intimidating sight that I have witnessed in thousands of landings. To the left side of the runway were dozens of Russian MiG-19 and MiG-21 fighter jets and to right were dozens of Russian T-55 and T-62 tanks. This was obviously staged by the Soviet military to intimidate…and it did. A year earlier, Operation Danube was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by nearly 250,000 troops from five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary.

Despite all that they had been through, the people of Czechoslovakia welcomed us with open arms. We represented rock ‘n roll, the USA and something in short supply at the time – freedom. How fitting that we were promoting our new single, Break Away, which we performed that night I will never forget the concert at Lucerna Great Hall on June 17th, 1969. The audience response was thunderous, the hall was jam-packed and there was no air conditioning. The walls and pillars of the 1920’s hall were damp from the humidity of humanity. In our entire career, we’ve never had a more tumultuous reception.

Sunday night, we performed in that in that very same hall. And at midnight we celebrated the 50th anniversary of that monumental concert. Not much has changed in that in that historic hall…but outside those walls, it’s a different story. Freedom reigns in the beautiful countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Once again, we felt the love and appreciation. A total emotional experience for all of us.

The film, Free to Rock, was released in 2017 and The Beach Boys are a part of that amazing documentary. The film was produced by Jim Brown and shows the power of music to create freedom. I am proud, yet humbled, to know that our music has connected with the hearts of millions, regardless of race and religion, language, ethnicity or geography. People feel the love, as we do, every night. It is said that home is where the heart is… and Sunday night back in Prague, we were home.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287080/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl "

Thanks!  I hadn’t seen that post of Mike’s.


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: Rocker on March 27, 2021, 03:29:08 AM
You can find more from Stephen Desper about this show here:



"Mike Comments on Czechoslovakia at the Lucerna Great Hall in Prague"

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,26631.0.html


Title: Re: Czechoslovakia concerts in 1969
Post by: zaval80 on March 27, 2021, 05:37:36 PM
There is a book by Dick Heckstall-Smith, the saxophonist from Colosseum, "The Safest Plece in the World", which has the first-hand account of a working musician; it includes some BB-related anecdotes like having to rely on a battery from a Soviet tank for their PA, and a rather huge section on a socio-political analysis - but it must be said that he was a "tankie".

Thanks so much!  I had never heard of this so will check it out. 

The latest edition from 2004 is called "Blowing the Blues: Fifty Years Playing the British Blues".