Monday, August 29, 2016

Those who were there remember the concert

It wasn’t exactly rattling jewelry, but I paid my $7.50.  The cheaper seats went for one and two dollars less.  While those in my section heard The Beatles performance quite well, many people left Candlestick Park complaining that they couldn’t hear.
I filmed the complete day’s activities, form the building of the stage through the Beatles’ final bows.  And, I did it right out in the open.  Like everyone else, I hadn’t a clue that this was the last concert, or that what my fifteen year old hands were shooting would become the only complete chronicle of the day’s events.
Security-wise, the show was uneventful, including the mere two handfuls of boys who jumped the outfield fence.  They didn’t get far and fell quick prey for some of the 200+ rent-a-cops.  Those of us in the stands were orderly.  That’s what I remember, and that’s what my film shows.  We were warned that to even be on the field would mean certain expulsion and possible arrest!  Only those who avoided the price of admission jumped over the fence.  These were the “bad boys” some of the incorrigible locals from the ghetto neighborhood surrounding Candlestick.
An armored car waited, engine running, beside the stage throughout the show.  This was their ultimate escape hatch, should all hell break loose and the fans rush onto the field.  It’s a wonder anyone could play music in such a paranoid environment.  There comes a point when they can’t.  The Beatles were clearly nearing that point.  They gave no impression of it during the show.  But, the extraordinary security precautions gave them away.
Was this to be the last concert?  Paul McCartney had asked Tony Barrow to tape record the show.  Both Lennon and McCartney were snapping photos during their walk to the stage.  Harrison can be clearly seen doing the same in my color footage.
--Barry Hood

 Believe it or not, I attended the Candlestick Park concert in August of ’66 with a girlfriend.  I was more interested in her than the music, which suffered from poor sound amplification.

 Yeah, I was there too.  Stadium public address systems were not made to handle concert music.  Couldn’t’ hear much over the screaming.  And, the stage on second base looked so far away.

I was 12 years old in August 1966, and my 13 year old sister and I were avid Beatlemaniacs, as were a few of her girlfriends.  We heard the announcement that The Beatles would tour America that summer, and we decided to go to the concert together.    I think that it was my sister who brought the pair of binoculars that we shared at the concert, after borrowing them from our father.  I remember that we had only one pair among us that evening.   The evening began as we all piled into the car and headed up the Peninsula on the Bayshore Freeway.  Just around the bend at South San Francisco, on the causeway up to Candlestick Park, traffic came to an absolute standstill.  Horns were honking from cars all across the road and people were leaning out of their windows to scream, wave and hold up pictures and posters of the Beatles.  We all joyously joined in, and my heart was pounding so hard that it felt as if it was coming out of my chest.  I screamed, cheered and greeted the other concertgoers as we inched our way to Candlestick.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, we made it to the parking lot.   It was freezing, as it always is at Candlestick, because the place is situated on the Bay just beyond San Bruno Mountain – in the worst line of fire of fog – and tremendously windswept.    We went inside the stadium and purchased the program.  It was a beautiful booklet of wonderful black and white photos of The Beatles.  Then we ran to our seats.  We noticed that everyone was moving down to the empty seats in front, and some people were even moving down to stand right up against the fence itself.  My sister and her friends wanted to move, too.  At first, I was afraid that the authorities would throw us out for sitting in the wrong seats, but since everyone else was moving down to the front and no one in charge seemed to care, I quickly forgot about my fears.  We ended up sitting just several rows back from home plate, in what appeared to be the best seats in the house.  Even best seats have their drawbacks, however, and ours was that we were right behind a wire screen, making it even more difficult to see.  In the long run though, it really made no difference where anyone sat, because the stage had been erected way out on second base, and binoculars were necessary to be able to see at all.   The Ronettes must have been the group onstage when we got there.  We had no idea who they were, and I could not figure out why there was a girl group onstage.   I did not realize at the time that other acts would be playing.  I had thought that we were just going to see The Beatles.  After the girl group finished, Bobby Hebb sang “Sunny” and the Cyrkle sang “Turn Down Day” and “Red Rubber Ball.”   They sounded fine, but we wished they would hurry up because we just wanted to see the Beatles.   When the Beatles finally were announced and ran onto the field, everyone was on his or her feet and everyone was screaming at the top of our lungs!  We hugged each other, screamed and tore out our hair.   During the 22 minute show of 11 and a fraction songs, someone climbed over the fence and ran on the field toward the stage.  We cheered louder, but the police caught him not far into the field.  This scenario was repeated two more times during the concert.  I secretly was jealous that I was not running down the field too, but I was too scared to try it.   The Beatles ripped right into “Rock and roll Music” then followed up with “She’s a woman,”  “If I needed someone,” “Day Tripper” “Baby’s in Black,”  “If I needed someone” “Day Tripper” “baby’s in Black” “I feel fine,”  “Yesterday” “I wanna be your man,” and “Nowhere man.”  Next they sang “Paperback Writer,” which I remember as sounding just awful; out of tune, each Beatle singing in a different key, and unsuccessfully attempting to create the echo effect on the record.  IT was flat, and to put it bluntly, terrible.  But it really did not matter to me.  I was so busy screaming and having the time of my life that I did not care.    My only disappointment was that while The Beatles were onstage, my sister and her girlfriends hogged the binoculars and only let me use them once for about 30 seconds.  I never even got a chance to focus, let alone fix them on John, my favorite.   I took black and white pictures with my little Brownie Starmite camera.  I sent the roll of film to a photo company to be developed, but the three pictures that I had taken were considered unprintable.  I sent the negatives back to the company and insisted that at least one concert photo be printed.  The photo company complied, and printed the best of the three that I had taken.  All that could be discerned from the photo were a few dots.  A couple of ears ago, however, I dug up the negatives and had the picture specially blown up into a poster.  You can see the heads of the people in front of me, the field, the outdoor lights, the white armored car by the stage, the stage itself, a round white dot on the stage (Ringo’s drums), figure dots of the Beatles onstage and figures of unidentified people surrounding the stage.  It may not sound like much, but it is perfect because it truly represents how I, the typical fan in the stands, saw the concert.   At the end of the evening, one of the Beatles announced the final song, and the group tore into “Long Tall Sally.”  We were shattered at the end of its last note, thinking that the concert was all over…when suddenly The Beatles started to play the beginning of “In my Life!”   My heart soared, “Oh wow, it isn’t really over yet after all!”  But then, just as quickly as they begun to play the opening bars, The Beatles cut it off, ran form the stage, climbed into the armored car and down off down the field.  We stood there absolutely devastated, shocked, crying, disbelieving that it was over.  It seemed like it had only just started.   I came home and could not sleep all night.  I wracked my brain, trying to think of each song that the Beatles had played and wrote down the name of each one.  I had no idea that the songs I was listing would be from the last Beatles concert ever to take place, and that I had participated in a historic event.  I have kept my list throughout the years in a safe place.   For some inexplicable reason, the only song that I left off my list was “In my Life.”  In fact, I had forgotten all about it until I sat down to write this article, and I re-read all of my newspaper clippings of the concert.  Lynn Ludlow’s review in the San Francisco Examiner reported the incident and suddenly he  moment came back in a flash.   I remember it so vividly because it was a few seconds of false hope that the Beatles were going to play yet one more song and that the concert was not over.  I remember it as clear as day.  It is true.  The opening bars of “In my Life” were the last thing ever played by The Beatles in concert.  Years later, I was cleaning my room and by mistake, threw out my ticket with the orange print.  My sister threw hers out then, too.  But n ow, by some miracle, I have a new ticket, to take the old one’s place.  It is bright and beautiful and is hanging on the wall next to my bed. -- Beth

These fans are awesome!

Somebody has to find their tape!!!

Not a Beatle anymore

Tony Barrow always quoted George Harrison as saying after the concert at Candlestick Park, "That's it...I'm no longer a Beatle."      And while George was no longer a touring Beatle---he remained a part of the band for 3 1/2 more years and truly George remained a Beatle his whole life and  beyond.  

A Wild Welcome in S.F.

A Wild Welcome from S.F. Fans
By William Chapin

                The Beatles ended their United States tour on a noisy note of triumph last night, to the cheering adulation of 25,000 screaming worshippers in Candlestick Park.
                For 33 minutes, they sang their songs from a big, well-guarded stage at the edge of the infield grass as their audience literally shrieked the intensity of its pleasure.
                The crowd had been noisy before, applauding the earlier acts on the program, but at 9:27 it really let loose:  the moment was at hand.
                The four musical English-men wearing dark Lincoln green double-breasted Edwardian suits and open collared silk shirts – suddenly emerged from the Giants’ dugout and ran to the big, fenced in stage above second base.  Bedlam.
                They opened with “Rock and Roll Music” and closed with “Long Tall Sally”-singing eleven songs in all before they quit at 10pm.  And during every moment of it, the Beatles had this particular little world squarely in their hands.
                And the crowd, although howling appreciative, was, at the same time, markedly well-behaved.
                During the entire time the Beatles were on the field, there were just three attempts by frenzied fans to reach them:  At 9:40pm, a group of about five boys climbed over a fence from the nearly empty centerfield bleachers and sprinted toward the rear of the infield stage.  A covey of private police quickly intercepted them.   At 9:47 pm, another group of about the same size tried the same tactic over the same route and with the same results.  And just after 10pm as the Beatles were leaving the stage, a husky, disheveled boy jumped onto the field n ear third base and put up a rousing battle with four guards before he was subdued.

                The weather was pleasant- clear with only sporadic winds and reasonably mild temperatures, although Beatle Paul McCartney, in telling the audience good-by, apologized for the cold.
                The fact that the crowd was relatively subdued – in action if not in noise- was at least I part attributable to the almost unbelievable set of security  measures  invoked to keep idols and idolaters safely apart.
                Their stage, for instance was also a cage.  It was a platform elevated five feet above the infield surface, and it was surrounded by a metal storm fence six feet high.  Police – private and otherwise were everywhere.
                Before the show started, a Loomis armored car was backed into position near the enclosed stage.  And when the singers left the stage they jumped into it and were driven off the field surrounded by trotting, nervous-looking guards.
                The Beatles were perhaps the only calm people at the ball-park.  While they waited their turn onstage they sat in the visitor’s dressing room- unmindful of the roaring crowd outside – doodling artistically and talking quietly.
                They all had Pentels - those Japanese marking pens.  John Lennon drew an elaborate yellow sun on a tablecloth.  Paul McCartney and George Harrison drew what one observer called “psychedelic drawings” on foolscap – McCartney’s flowerlike, Harrison’s a face and Ringo Starr drew a small face inside a paper match folder.

Through it all they talked and chatted with old friend Joan Baez or good naturedly answered the questions of the reporters there:  about crowd reactions on their trip, their future plans, and their current hits “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby.”    Drummer Ringo was asked if the group had experienced any hostile crowd reactions as a result of the controversy over Lennon’s quoted remarks about Jesus Christ.   “No,” he said, “for us it’s been the same as eve because we’ve been so heavily guarded.”  Ringo said the group has no plans for retirement and will continue to perform as long as they are “with it.”  He said they plan to make a movie in January – storyline still indefinite.  Ringo, who’s featured on the disc, was asked to define a yellow submarine.  “What’s a yellow submarine?  It’s nothing at all,” he said.  “It’s just one of those silver ones painted yellow.”
                The song, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is about lonely people – about the life and death of Eleanor Rigby, who keeps her face in a jar and puts it on when she goes to the door and about Father McKenzie, the priest who buries here.  Lennon, who wrote the song, was asked if any particularly profound meaning was intended.   He said no.  “Just look at it as a story about Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie.” 
                Their airport arrival aboard a charter American Airlines jet from Los Angeles had been unceremonious, and even dull.   The San Francisco Airport terminal buildings had been scouted determinedly all afternoon by small bands of teenagers trying vainly to learn when and where their heroes would arrive.  They were as much in the dark as ever when the plane finally touched down at 5:25pm and taxied out of sight and out of reach to the old Pan American terminal at the northeast end of the field, more than a mile from the main terminal.   There, they were met only by the wall of grim-faced police and perhaps 50 members of the press.
                They posed grudgingly for photographs and then along with the 40 plane passengers – the performers appearing with them at Candlestick—they boarded a chartered bus and, proceeded by the armored car and a police car, set out for Candlestick.

                They found the stadium gate locked and during the moments it took police to let them in, the surprised fans descended, climbing over the armored car and the bus which tried to elude them by circling the parking lot.  The tour brought  them before thousands of teenagers in 14 cities, where they put on 19 concerts. 

Rock n Roll Music

Joan Baez and Wendy Hanson---Brian Epstein should have been standing in that empty spot....

Taking to the stage for the last time

Half-hearted interview

Square Queries Get Doodled Replies

Question:  Is it true that you borrow harmonic ideas from the Baroque era?
Lennon:  I don’t know what a baroque is.  I wouldn’t know a Handel from a Gretel. 

From this, you may guess the Beatles are cordial to interviewers who manage to get through their inner line of defense systems, but that’s the easy part.  John Lennon, 25, who plays the bass guitar, writes songs, composes tunes and authors books in his spare time, was sitting with the other three Beatles at a dining table in the visitor’s’ dressing room at Candlestick Park.

With them was Joan Baez, the folk singer.  All five were absorbed in doodling on the tablecloth and on scraps of paper.  They had felt-tip pens.

Another questions:  some of your latest tunes are too complex for amateurs and others to play by ear.  Is that on purpose?

Lennon:  We just laughed as we made our last LP and said, ‘They’ll have a hard time faking these tunes.’  It was either that or the possibility of the Eleanor Rigby Twist.

He was doing a landscape in blue on the tablecloth.  Paul McCartney, 24, the most talented singer in the group, was making abstract designs of a sort popular with the psychedelic crowd.

“We were just talking about the downfall,” he said answering a question about What Will Happen Eventually to the Beatles.  “We were really saying that it doesn’t matter, actually.”

McCartney was wearing a bright tomato-red sport jacket and a sweater with broad red and white stripes.  He was asked to comment on the assertion that the Beatles are harbingers of a social revolution among the young.

“Fine,” he said, not looking up, “It’s about time.”

Lennon said, “Anybody wanting to join the party just send a stamped envelope to the Defense Fund.”  He didn’t say which.

Ringo Starr, at 27 the dean of the Beatles was wearing a polka-dot shirt with a high collar.  He had removed his blue-tinted granny spectacles.

“What’s a yellow submarine?” he said when asked about a current hit tune which he sings nearly on key.  “It’s nothing, just one of those silver ones painted yellow.”

Lennon was equally anxious that no one should read profound meanings into Beatles songs.  Miss Baez began to hum another current hit, “Eleanor Rigby,” with differs radically from the usual rock n roll style of the Beatles.  “It’s beautiful,” she said.  “Eleanor Rigby is just a song,” said Lennon.  “That’s all.”

On his corduroy coat was a nametag, “Moses.”  Lennon said he borrowed it from a private patrolman in Los Angeles.  Except to indicate that he was misunderstood on the question of the Beatle popularity versus that of the Church, Lennon steered clear of hot topics.

Miss Baez began to blow on a finger ring.  It made a siren sound.  Lennon had a similar ring and he did the same.   So far as anyone knows, they didn’t come any closer than 25 feet to a teenager. 

Catering for Doodles

The catering for the Candlestick Park show was by Simpson's catering.     I purchased two blurry photographs of the Beatles backstage eating their meal from the daughter of the caterer.    I believe these photos might have been hanging up in the shop.  There are no surviving negatives and these are the only known copies.  

Photo copyright held by Sara Schmidt (do not copy)

Photo copyright held by Sara Schmidt (do not copy)

Here is another photo where you can see what the guys had to eat.  I am pretty sure Paul is posing with the Simpson catering folks.

Much was said about the Beatles doodling on the tablecloth with pens that were given to them by fans.   The newspaper even wrote about it.   Simpson's displayed the autographed table cloth that was full of Beatle doodles and low and behold, it was stolen shortly after they were on displayed.   Here are some photos of the guys doodling.

Beatles:  Case of Missing Doodles

A white linen tablecloth enhanced by Beatle doodles was stolen yesterday from the display window of Simpson’s catering service.  The theft of the priceless relic was discovered by Simpson’s co-owner Joe Vilardi, at about 10 a.m.  Vilardi said another employee had observed the cloth resting peacefully  in the window as late as 8:30a.m.  But when Vilardi appeared at the 926 Clement street office to “check on some phone calls,” the big 12-foot-wide window had been shattered and the linen purloined.

Simpson’s obtained the table cloth on the night of the Beatles’ appearance at Candlestick Park August 29. It was the same cloth on which the four Englishmen devoured prime rib of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, stuffed baked potato, salad, relish and French pastry. 

Sprinkled among the gravy stains and pudding droppings were doodles of almost psychedelic persuasion, drawn by Beatles in a moment of contemplation before their concert in the infield.
John Lennon, according to Vilardi, had sketched “an interesting sort of Japanese sunset in yellow crayon.”  Paul McCartney had drawn faces in the abstract.  There were other less impressive drawings on the cloth – presumably the work of other Beatles and, perhaps, of their dinner gust, folk singer-pacifist, Joan Baez.

Simpson’s first had the great Britons autograph their creation, then the caterers whisked the table cloth back to headquarters, where, for the past six days, it has served as an invaluable lure.  Crowds of young and old alike have flocked to the store, Vilardi said.  “Some of those excited little gals wanted to touch it or take pictures,” his co-owner said.  But there were no threats of theft.  

Although the cloth was not for sale, Vilardi said he received offers for it ranging as high as $300.   Simpson’s had been warned by “the cop on the beat” that the sight of such an invaluable property behind glass might  prove too tempting for some fanatic.  But said Vilardi, “I never gave it any serious thought.”  He realizes now that he underestimated the value of his merchandise.  “I can readily see that somebody wanted it rather badly,” Vilardi said weakly yesterday.  “Imagine taking it in broad daylight.”  

Backstage with the lads at Candlestick Park

In and out of the bus to Candlestick