Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Beatles at Shea through the eyes of a Beatlemanic

While these girls did not meet the Beatles, I found this story about three Beatle-crazed fans from 1965 attending the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium to be a lot of fun to read.  I hope you agree.

The Beatles at Shea

By Terry Klemmer

Dad, my brother Biff, Judy, JoAnn & I departed at 5:30a.m.   Unknown to JoAnn’s somewhat protective mother, Dad and Biff would leave us at Shea to spend their day at the World’s Fair.

Our first stop was church for the early mass, though any thoughts of God, religion or praying were admittedly the farthest things from the minds of the three Beatlemaniacs.  Dad must be credited for his show of patience as we stood our Beatle dolls on the pew, and occasionally squealed at each other in anticipation of what was to come.

When finally on our way, we made a sign that read, “WE’RE BEATLE BOUND” from a paper bag and my eye liner, to display in the car window.  When Dad elected to stop for food, we managed to choke down some hamburgers, but who could think of food at a time like that?

We arrived in N.Y.C. and saw many posters advertising, “Help!” in the subway.  It was 10 a.m. when we reached Shea and found gate “A.”  The first people we met were from Manhattan and they told us that the Beatles were to arrive by helicopter at 7.p.m.  We left to buy some magazines and photos to add to our collections and met a girl who said she’d talked to Paul on the phone.  Then back to Shea we found a crowd of girls who were marching around the stadium singing “We love you Beatles” and joined them.  One girl had a 6 foot poster of Ringo mounted on a stick.  She gave us lipstick asking that we add our “kisses” to the others on the poster.  With obviously phony press cards we made a futile attempt to get inside the stadium, which only resulted in our incurring the wrath of several of New York’s “finest.”  Having failed there, we found a phone booth and took a shot at calling the Warwick, but when Judy asked for John the operator promptly hung up!  Some people just have No sense of humor.

Concert time was getting nearer, so we got in line at Gate A.  We met many super people in that line, and everyone was sharing everything they had such as food, sodas, tissues – anything one had and another needed.  This atmosphere of peace and love seemed to follow them wherever they went.

When finally inside, we found our seats in the blue section and decided we need a plan to get ourselves closer to the front.  Since the ushers determined where one belonged by the color of the ticket, I suggested that we pocket our tickets and make a mad dash for the front and center.  As each usher asked to see our tickets, I pointed to someone too far ahead in the crowd to hear us and began yelling about that was “Pam” and we’d have to catch up to hear because she had our tickets.  It worked like a charm and we managed to secure some great seats in the brown section.

The show began with Cannibal the Head Hunters followed by several others.  During this time our eyes were glued to the dugout in search of familiar faces.  We spotted Brian walking around chain-smoking and screamed his name at the top of our lungs, but he was too far away to hear us.

When Ed Sullivan walked on stage our hearts jumped to our throats.  After a brief introduction, THEY ran across the field to the stage.  Judy screamed, JoAnn cried and I froze and stared fearing that I would miss something if I would move to even breathe.

I haven’t much of a memory for detail; therefore my reference material is an 8 page narrative I wrote the morning after Shea.  Unfortunately, the bit on the actual concert is primarily filled with ramblings about how we actually saw and heard THEM, not a photo in a magazine or voices on a record.  It goes on to tell of how we felt being there breading the same air as they were, seeing the same sights, etc. etc. etc.

They took turns speaking to us between songs which were, Twist and Shout, She’s a woman, I Feel Fine, Dizzy Miss Lizzie, Ticket to Ride, Everybody’s Trying to be my Baby, Can’t buy me love, Baby’s in Black, Act Naturally, a Hard Day’s Night, Help! And I’m Down.  John had said something about George changing guitars.  One lucky lady managed to get onto the field.  She made a mad dash for the stage while being pursued by several members of the security force.  She had but a few feet to go when she was caught.  This happened between songs and Paul had paused to watch her.  He yelled “Boo” into his mike, so naturally e all joined him.  John was fantastic during I’m Down and he made everyone crazy as he played keyboards with his elbow and his leg.

Suddenly it was over and after thanking us for coming; they waved to us before running to the station wagon.

Judy, JoAnn and I collapsed into our seats for a moment and then we tried to get down on the field in hopes of pulling up some grass that they had walked on.  Judy went totally out of control when she was grabbed by a policeman.  In her hysteria she happened to belt him in a place where NO man cares to be hit, and this was our cue to get going!

We ran outside and grabbed handfuls of grass and dirt from where their car had been.  JoAnn was running around in circles yelling about how she needed a “bag for her dirt” until some guy told her to put in in her mind.

We went to meet dad and Biff at the subway and found them literally hanging on to a pole so as not to be pulled away in the crowd of thousands coming from both the concert and the World’s Fair.  On the subway a man was reading the Daily News until Judy noticed a photo fo us taken earlier when we were marching around Shea.  She grabbed it out of his hands screaming “That me!!”  The poor guy said she could have it and moved to another seat.  JoAnn and I got copies at the station.

We all cried on the way home feeling ourselves inch by inch getting farther away from Shea and our wonderful Beatles.  Judy fell asleep leaning on me, and JoAnn on her as the best day of our young lives came to a conclusion.

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