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Interview: Author's trip of a lifetime to N.Y. Fest for Beatles Fans, part 2

Images from the 2014 Fest for Beatles Fans.
Images from the 2014 Fest for Beatles Fans.Sandi Anne Borowsky. Used by permission.

(This is the conclusion of a two-part Beatles Examiner interview with Sandi Anne Borowsky, author of “The Trip of a Lifetime,” and her memories of the recent Fest for Beatles Fans in New York. Read part 1 here.)

Donovan at the Fest for Beatles Fans
Donovan at the Fest for Beatles FansSandi Anne Borowsky

Sunday, her second day of the Fest, was to be Sandi Anne Borowsky's exit day. And she said it was going to be a busy day.

“Sunday I got up early so I could pack leave my bags have breakfast and be at the hotel for 10:35 a.m. to hear David speak. Today was the day I was going to get Donovan’s autograph for someone special to me in Liverpool. I had a gift for him brought over by someone from Liverpool. I knew it was going to be an insane. Little did I know HOW insane.

“I just made it to the hotel for 10:35. Thankfully my hotel was really just around the corner. This talk was titled '1960: The year that made the Beatles.' It was a great talk with slides and a special guest that David brought over from Liverpool. The special guest was 'Jimmy' James from the Royal Caribbean Steel Band that played at the Jacaranda. His stories of knowing John and Paul before they were Beatles are amazing. Some of his story is in David’s new book.

“It was a mad dash to the second floor to get an autograph from Donovan. While the line was so long, I have to say it went quick. He was so nice in accepting his gift, signing what I had for him and putting his pen in a zip lock freezer bag.

“I did not have to be back until 5:50 so I grabbed a cab and went over to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Just for this weekend the marquee was as it was 50 years. I went around the building and got a photo of the door that they entered the building by. Funny, it has a 9 in it!

“Another cab back after a friend and I have a bite to eat. Had to get to the main ballroom at 5:50 p.m. for a concert with Chad & Jeremy. They sounded so great and had so many funny things to share about themselves and the Beatles. Totally enjoyable.

“At 7:30, it was 'The Sullivan Show: It was 50 Years ago today' with Vince Calandra. Vince was the stage hand for Ed Sullivan who stood in for George while he was sick at the Plaza Hotel. It originally was Neil, but he got called away as security would not let Louise Harrison into the hotel. Neil had to rescue her, and Vince stood in. He shared with us stories that had us all wanting more and more. This man should write a book. I would buy it no questions asked. (Editor's note: We interviewed him.) The one story had had stuck me was when they were in Miami doing the show. The guys had ordered fish and chips, thinking that is what they would be getting. It ended up not being cod or haddock, but gefilte fish. They could not eat it. Sitting at the table with them was a sergeant. He was eating a sandwich. They asked what he was eating. He said grilled cheese. They all ordered grilled cheese sandwiches. Then they were so late in getting downstairs and on the stage that no one ever plugged in John’s amp. I never even noticed that he performed with it unplugged! Did you until I just told you?

“At 8, the ballroom was jammed. I kept moving closer and more into the center as the night wore on. There was a countdown with Mark Lapidos for 8 p.m.. The screen on the stage showed the curtain going up for 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' The room exploded with yells. Ed Sullivan appeared on the screen. We never got to see the Beatles perform. That honor went to the Smithereens, who sang the songs in the order they were performed that night.

“I stayed in this room the rest of the night. I had a great seat, and no way was I giving it up. At 8:45, the band Liverpool took the stage. I never heard them before, and well, they blew me away. Then all the musical guests started coming out. Mark Hudson with his long British scarf and cool British guitar (like the one Paul used with the British flag on it). He kept dancing round the stage and kept losing his lead cord to the amp. He broke a string, and handed to guitar to a member of the band. In turn the strap fell away from the guitar. They just kept going. At another point the stage hands tried so hard to get the drummer miked up. Was not working AT ALL. Ended up with the stage hands holding the mike so he could sing into it! Talk about live! At one point Mark, must have gotten hot with his hat on so he just pushed back the brim!

“So many guests kept coming out on stage. At this point, I just stopped taking photos and just enjoyed the concert. It ended with a ton of folkies up on the stage singing 'Hey Jude.' It was totally amazing. I had goose bumps. As I'm writing this, I do again.

“I had such a great time that I missed the last bus home! Thanks to the Lapidos family for putting on one Beatleful weekend,” she said.