Dad takes dare… Attends Beatles concert
by George Moses
Bloomington, Minn. – The Beatles proved again Saturday night that their singing, if it can be called that, provokes mass hysteria in the young.
There were the usual screams of mingled ecstacy and agony, the usual defiance of club-wielding police, the usual near-riots.
But to a motley handful at a so-called press conference in Metropolitan Stadium, the Beatles, implausibly, became four nice young men — witty, responsive, and usually polite in the face of questions a kindergarten panel would have discarded as irrelevant.
They never answered in two words if one would do, but did it with such disarming charm that my resentment of their long hair eased a bit, and I found myself wishing I could stand their singing.
One example: A questioner asked the Beatles how the proposed to use their “vast influence” on small fry — presumably in the direction of moral uplift.
“We don’t,” chirped Paul McCartney cheerfully, and that was that.
I attended both events on what sounded like a dare from an editor friend, although he didn’t put it quite that way. He urged me to take along some daughters who not only buy Beatle records, but play them.
While I got a gold star for doing something most fathers would reject in favor of torture, the experiment left something to be desired, sociologically speaking.
Either my kids didn’t erupt in one groan or scream, or I missed them in the general clamor. They applauded each number warmly. But the rhythmic clapping during songs was so desultory, I feared my presence inhibited them, and said as much.
“Go ahead and cut loose, kids. Pretend I’m not here,” I said.
“Sorry, daddy, fainting isn’t in my line,” said a daughter who will become a teenager in a month.
The acid test came after the concert. Some 30,000 revved-up kids milled restlessly, dying for one close-up look or, preferably, clutch. The Beatles, whose personal safety is no press agent’s gimmick, were out of harm’s way by truck one minutes after they ducked through the Twins’ dugout, but the kids didn’t know that.
As my party headed for the press exit, kids began massing against it. Other kids began racing to the area. Still others, wild-eyed, joined the scramble. Trapped in the stampede, an old buffalo hunter would have tossed his rifle and fled for his life. Although, for all my girls know the Beatles MIGHT have been behind that door, they joined me in a bruising dash to safety far down the hall.
Ushers said afterward there were no serious injuries.