Dad takes dare and attends a Beatles concert – plus a teen fan describes the chaos in the ’60s

The Beatles in the sixties

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Dad takes dare… attends a Beatles concert (1965)

by George Moses – Fergus Falls Daily (Minnesota) August 23, 1965

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.

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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 Beatles - 1960s (2)

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 minute 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.

Teenage girl describes what a Beatles’ concert was like (1964)

Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, PA) September 2, 1964

By Pat Holder (age sixteen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Holder, 583 N. School Lane, writes her impressions of the Beatles’ concert at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, which she attended Sunday as a representative of the New Era.)

The Beatles with instruments

Personally, I found the Beatles were polite and seemed very intelligent, but I was sort of scared by the audience. I had never seen people that hysterical before.

Some ten and twelve year-olds started the screaming laughter, and it was hard for the others to keep from joining. Many of the kids had camped out all night on the boardwalk to make sure of their places.

They screamed so much they couldn’t hear the concert they had waited so long to hear. I was in the press box, so I could hear the singing and the music.

Even if a grown-up doesn’t like their singing, he would like the Beatles personally. I’ll admit I’m prejudiced. I love them. You should have seen Daddy. He was a nervous wreck.

Two buses brought two loads of girls from Albany, N. Y., which is at least a six-hour drive. Scattered all over the restaurants and bars near Convention Hall were the nervous parents, who chatted with one another like those who face common disaster.

Fear for their children

They were afraid their children wouldn’t get out safely. One girl fainted while waiting in line, but everybody got out all right. They were told that if they got out of their seats, the concert was over. So they screamed, but they stayed in their seats.

Screaming girls at Beatles concert in 1964

Girls by far outnumbered the boys, anywhere from ten or twelve years old to twenty and twenty-five.

John Lennon had once said that he liked blonde girls with a touch of leather. They overdid the ‘touch of leather.’ Girls had it on their hats, and belts and boots.

The natives of Atlantic City were angry at the mutilation of. St. James’ churchyard, which was next to the Lafayette Hotel; where the Beatles were staying. The kids waiting for the Beatles before the concert would not leave, so finally the riot squad was called in to disperse the mob.

At four o’clock in the afternoon, the line in front of Convention Hall was about a block long, but by six o‘clock, the line was stretched seven blocks in both directions.

Meanwhile on the Pacific Ave. entrance to Convention Hall, entered reporters, photographers and guests who were attending the press conference. The press conference was mostly filled with guests, and 90 percent of the guests were girls who were giving various awards to the Beatles.

The Beatles arrived at 6:45, after being caught in the mob for half an hour. Shortly after things were all settled, the question and answer period began.

Screaming girls at Beatles concert 1964

Questions and answers with the band

Question, directed to Paul McCartney: ‘Do you have any marital plans?”

Answer: ‘No, and I’m not married.”’

Question, directed to all four: ‘What do you miss most, now that you are famous?

Answers — Paul: ‘‘Buses.” George: ‘‘Nothing to do.” John: “School, because we didn’t have anything to do there.” Ringo: “Movies.”

Question, directed to all four: “What impresses you most about the United States?”

Answers — Ringo: ‘‘The size.” John: ‘The bread you eat with everything.” George: ‘‘The dollar is worth one third of a pound.” Paul: ‘‘Buses.”’

After ten minutes, the press conference, which was to last 40 minutes, was called off by Derrick Taylor, the Beatles’ press manager, due to the hysterical reaction of the girls present.

At 8:30 the concert began. The Beatles were the fifth and last group on. Even Ed McMahon, of the ‘‘Tonight’’ show, and Dick Clark found the beat irresistible. They sang eleven songs, most of which the screaming fans couldn’t hear.

The Beatles left hurriedly in two chauffeured limousines, but not without some trouble.

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Ran after cars

Although they were on the floor of the limousines, many of the kids guessed it was the Beatles and ran after the cars.

One blonde girl jumped on the trunk of the car and screamed hysterically for the Beatles, but when the car started with a jolt, she fell to the ground and the contents of her pocketbook spewed all over the street.

Thus ended a truly “Hard Day’s Night” for the distraught parents, the disgusted Albany bus drivers, the police and the well-paid Beatles.

NOW SEE: Look back to when Beatlemania hit America in the ’60s

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. My mom and dad and a cousin from Germany attended a Beatles concert around that time. I swear to you that my mother was neither drunk nor stoned, but she could not remember one bit of it. Had it not been for my dad and my cousin retelling the tale, she’d have sworn she was never there.

    I thought this astonishing, until my husband pointed out I’d been to a Lionel Ritchie concert in the 1980s…and did not remember it. I remembered the opening act, but not the concert, itself. And I don’t drink or do drugs, either. Guess “fainting isn’t in my line” either!

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