Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The BEATLES at Dodger Stadium

Sunday August 28, 1966

Here is the GOLDEN ticket. We had three of them! One for my sister Jocelyn, one for her friend Susan, a tall lanky blond with hair like Cher, and me. In those days tickets to concerts were cheap. I don't remember how we got these tickets. Maybe Susan's father got them for us. Nevertheless, we had tickets to see the Beatles at Dodger Stadium and we were there that incredible summer night.
It was one of those moments in life that is unforgettable.

This is what it was like. A warm southern California night. A stadium made up of mostly young teenage girls. About 45,000 of them. Everyone was pretty calm when the other acts were singing. There was mostly the normal buzzing sound of conversation but a general disinterest in the entertainment. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the Beatles arrival on stage. I remember the announcer saying the Beatles were coming on. All of a sudden the screaming started and it just seemed to grow into a mass hysteria. I've read reports where the screaming was heard all the way down to Sunset Blvd. I believe it! When the Beatles ran on stage across some area of the field they looked like "ants". We were so high up in the bleachers we could not really see them well and in those days there was not any kind of sophisticated sound system or big screens to help you see or hear the performers. It didn't matter. They started to sing but you could not hear one word. All you could hear was screaming which would ebb and flo from loud to louder. At one point in the beginning I just looked around me. Screaming girls everywhere. Susan was crying and screaming. Everyone around us was screaming so... I started to scream too! Well, I guess you have to be very young to scream that loud for so long. It really didn't matter whether we could hear them or see them. What mattered to us that night and forever after I suppose, is that we were there, and were a part of the phenomenon known at Beatlemania. A once in a lifetime chance, as it turned out ,it was the second to the last performance on tour that they ever made together.

12 August International Amphitheatre, Chicago
13 August Olympia Stadium, Detroit

14 August Municipal Stadium, Cleveland

15 August Washington Stadium, Washington DC

16 August Philadelphia Stadium, Philadelphia

17 August Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto

18 August Suffolk Downs Racecourse, Boston

19 August Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis

21 August Crosley Field, Cincinnati

21 August Busch Stadium, St Louis

23 August Shea Stadium, New York

25 August Seattle Coliseum, Seattle

28 August Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

30 August Candlestick Park, San Francisco

*The Beatles first started touring in 1963 and made their first American tour in 1964. In November of 1966 it was announced that the previous concert season that summer was the last tour the Beatles would ever make.

The Beatles 1966 North American Tour program was available at Dodger Stadium during the concert. Of course we bought one.

Warm-up acts included soloist Bobby Hebb and bands "The Remains," "The Cyrkle," and "The Ronettes." But they proved to be no match for The Beatles, who performed 10 of their songs in a 30-minute period.

From the article: "When the Beatles Rocked Dodger Stadium"
"I think when they first announced that The Beatles were coming to Dodger Stadium there were some doubts that they could sell 45,000 tickets. I think promoter Bob Eubanks had to put up some pretty high financing for them to agree to come there. Rumors were that he was concerned before, but then when the tickets finally took off, he was happy about it. As soon as we heard they were coming to the stadium, we started working with the (Los Angeles) Fire Department and a lot of people to see what we could do to keep the crowd from taking over the field, which they had done in a lot of other places." ...

"The flat stage (decorated in blue and white), probably four feet off the ground, was set up at second base. We sold out all of the seats in the stadium, other than the Pavilions. The ends of the stadium were sold for the first time. With a flat stage, they could move around and the people on the far ends of the Reserved Level or Field Level could still see them. The promoters gave tickets to people who were blind to sit in the Pavilions."

*Dodger Stadium operations prepared for months in advance for the expected onslaught of fame and hysteria. But, no Dodger event could have readied them for what was about to unfold that Sunday. The Beatles were winding down their 14-city 1966 North America Concert Tour, as Dodger Stadium was their 13th stop. Other venues had difficulty keeping the over-enthusiastic "Beatlemaniacs" from mobbing the field and stage areas at the concert.

"Sounds of laughter
shades of life
are ringing through my open ears
inciting and inviting me
limitless undying love
which shines around me
like a million suns..."


Annie (churches of venice) said...

Wow, that is such a wonderful memory to have! I love them so much. I remember in the 70's when there were all those reunion rumors going around, my best friend and I were determined that we would see them one way or another. But alas, it never happened.

I've recently introduced my young nephews to the Beatles's music and they love them!

thanks for sharing this!

Sandrac said...

Very cool, Barb -- what a fantastic memory. The Beatles were mesmerizing (Hard Day's Night is one of my favourite movies!)

Laurie said...

Oh I love that last photo with the car! Thank you for taking me back...

Chiocciola said...

Awesome! I can't believe you saw the Beatles! That is so cool.

girasoli said...

Lucky you!! I saw Paul McCartney in Seattle in the early 90's. One of the best concerts ever. I can't imagine the craziness of seeing all 4 together. Very cool that you were there!

Pete said...

I just ran across this while thinking about the Beatles as I browsed on iTunes. You mention not knowing how you got the tickets. I, too, was there. My sister, 11 years older than me (I was 12 at the time) drove. We got the tickets by mailing to KRLA radio. You had to include a self-addressed stamped envelope. It was essentially a lottery...kind of a first come, first served as I remember. It took a couple weeks and at 12 you get distracted pretty easily, so I had kind of forgotten about it. Then the mail came one day and I thought how curious this letter looked, addressed to me in my handwriting. Then I opened it a WOW there were the tickets!! Can you imagine...SIX DOLLARS? TO SEE THE BEATLES!!!! One of the highlights of my life and I remember it just the way you describe it here. Oh, and I wore dark blue granny glasses...crazy, fun times. How MOD!

Donna said...

I could have written the same description only I was at the Shea Stadium show on Aug 23.

Our tickets were $5.00 plus the cost of the train into Queens. Guess I didn't have any money left for the program.

Thanks Barb for stirring up the memories.

Who would have thought then that Paul McArtney would be singing in the White House for an African American President!

Ciao Bella!


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