Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Not the Best Welcome in Auckland

When the Beatles landed in Auckland, New Zealand on June 24, 1964, they did not know that they weren't going to have the security that they were accustomed to.    When their plane touched down at the Whenupai Airport, 300 fans were waiting for them, but the fans were not allowed to wave to the Fabs.   The Beatles were taken straight to their Royal Continental to hear for the hotel.   Glenn A. Baker's great book, The Beatles Downunder takes it from there--

(Lloyd Ravenscroft speaking) 'The Royal Continental was rather inconveniently located on a hill with a lane-way running behind it and a tiny car park descending from the lane.  O one occasion our Cadillac got to within 30 feet of their entrance and because there was only a handful of police on duty, it stopped dead in the middle of a surge of people.  So Mal, Neil and I squeezed out, locked the boys inside and pushed in inch by inch towards the garage door, a process that took about 20 minutes.   All through this, girls were fainting in the middle of the crush and we were passing them over our shoulders to safety, only to discover five minutes later that we were handling the same girl.   We managed to get the steel door open and we carried about 200 fans into the garage with us.  So we kept the Beatles locked in the car until we had removed them one by one.' Somehow the fans did get their hands on the group.  John said, 'It was a bit rough.  I thought definitely a big clump of my hair had gone.  I don't mean just a bit.  They'd put about three policemen on for three or four thousand kids and they refused to put more on.  They said, 'We've had all sorts over 'ere, we've seen them all,' they said they h ad seen them all as we went crashing to the ground.'    Dave Lincoln explains, "that was the one time I saw John really lose his temper, particularly as Ringo had got a bit hurt.  He virtually went on strike, refusing to play any more shows until he was assured that there would be enough police when they needed them.  It was times like that he showed very clearly who the leader of the group was.

The Beatles made it inside of the hotel and appeared to the fans in the street below while standing on the fire escape balcony.   Here I will let Bruce Renwick from his book The Beatles in New Zealand explain what occurred
The seething mass erupted and as the four waved to them a girl rushed around the balcony and planted a kiss on Ringo's cheek before a burly security guard picked her up and carried her away.  After a few more more minutes of waving, the Beatles disappeared inside and the crowd started to simmer down and disperse.  

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