Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wellington Concerts

The first concert the Beatles gave in Wellington was a disaster.   The sound was set very low on the microphone and the houselights were left of during the whole show.   John Lennon threatened to cancel the rest of the tour if things didn't get fixed.    Derek Taylor wasn't sure what to do, and Brian Epstein wasn't even in New Zealand with the boys.   So opening act artist, Johnny Devlin took over and and talked to the PA operator about the problems and the sounds at the 2nd show wasn't great, but it was an improvement

Derek Taylor was very thankful and asked Johnny what he could do to repay him.  All Johnny wanted was his photograph taken with the four Beatles and he got that request filled.

To the joy of the fans, Ringo was well enough to begin singing on stage again!   Ringo was back to belting out "Boys" and driving the girls crazy whenever he shook his mop hair.

Here are memories of fans in Wellington that were found on various webpages online

"I was there at the Beatles Wellington concert 50 years ago - a screaming, sort of hysterical 15 year old. Actually, I don't recall too much about the concert apart from screaming myself hoarse, along with all the others.
But I do remember being a part of the crowd that blocked off the intersection of Willis & Manners Streets when the Beatles came out onto the balcony of the St George Hotel. I remember me & my friend racing through Suzies Coffee Bar and out onto the veranda, walking along that (it extended right to the corner of Boulcott St back then), just so that we could be that much closer to our heroes. There were quite a few of us that did that.
Afterwards, my Dad, who had driven me & my friend into the city to see the Beatles, said that he was really worried that the verandah would collapse under the weight of the people who were up there.
Of course I never gave that a thought. All I could think of was that I was that little bit closer to the Fab Four - especially Paul who was the one I loved best."- Jenny B. 

"I was lucky enough to see the Beatles in Wellington – The first 6 o’clock shows it must have been. My sister and I had been suffering whooping cough and were not allowed to go to school for six weeks.  We just about drove each other, and our parents mad.  At the end of the six week isolation we were given the all clear to return to school , and for enduring each other’s company for so long, our parents bought us tickets to see the fab four.  I was 12, little sister was almost 10.   
I don’t remember too much of the opening acts, only that there was some confusion when Sounds Incorporated took to the stage.  Many young girls in the audience thought they were the main act and ran forward to get as close to the action as possible. 
I remember thinking to myself, there is no way we’ll see anything if we remain in our seats.
When the Beatles finally did make an appearance, the noise was deafening.  It was Ringo’s first performance after suffering tonsillitis in Australia, and he did sing “Boys.”  In fact, I only heard two lines in the show; Ringo singing “I been told when a boy kiss a girl.”  And Paul McCartney with the opening line to All My Loving.  “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you” - the rest of the 25 minute long set was completely obliterated by the screams of those around us.
OK I screamed too, and as I did I remember this older girl, she must have been 18 or 19, looking daggers at me.  She told me to stop screaming so she could hear the show, and I told her “If you can’t beat them, join them.”  
I think that screaming was definitely part of the enjoyment of being there.  It wasn’t a concert, it was more an expression of teenage rebellion.
We couldn’t hear the Beatles, but we could see them alright and they all looked to be enjoying themselves, except for John Lennon who looked more and more pissed off as the set went on.
Did I enjoy the show?  I was the only one in my class at school who went, so what do you think?  Bragging rights were far more important than actually hearing anything." - Jimmy 

"My then girlfriend and I went to the early concert on the second night they played in Wellington, ie the third of four. During the concert I had to go to the loo and saw gaps in the security you could drive a tank through.
Went home, had a couple of drinks, rang my teenage girl cousins and said that if they could get their parents permission, I was pretty sure I could get them into the sold out last concert. They managed to get this permission, I picked them up and headed back to town.
Before entering the Town Hall I told them to absolutely ignore anybody calling after them and to head right on into the actual hall. The warm up act, Johnny Devlin was in full flight.  The security guards, all looking as if they'd been conscripted from the RSA, and all thinking their job was finished for the evening, were far away from the double lot of double doors leading into the hall proper.
We all marched up the steps, across the foyer, with me at the rear. By the time the security got to me all three girls were inside. The guard ask where my ticket was, I said "my girlfriend has the tickets, do you want to see them"? He said "yes" so I said "I'll get them", and promptly disappeared inside.
The fact that it was a sold out performance mattered not and we ended up standing on seats 4 rows from the front. 
There was one really funny moment during Johnny Devlin's performance.  His electric guitar cord fed back through the curtain which was his backdrop. One time as he gyrated to one side, the cord got caught up with the curtain. This pulled the curtain aside, exposing Ringo's drums, resplendent with  "The Beatles"  painted on. The crowd erupted and I could just imagine Johnny thinking "I don't know what I just did but I'd better add it to my repertoire."- Rufus C 

"I lived in Foxton and was only able to attend the Beatles concert in Wellington because a friend's parents let her buy 2 tickets and were prepared to drive us down to make the 6p.m. concert.
We were not exactly wealthy so I had to pay for my own ticket, from memory 30 shillings, which was a lot of money to a 13 year old.
We left straight after school and what a great experience. Seats were second row from front and we were in "heaven". Have vivid memories of the screaming and do remember wishing the fans could be a bit quieter so I could actually hear the music! Still a fan and have always had a soft spot for Paul"
- Christine B 

"I attended the Wellington concert as a Nelson 18 year old. Somebody, I have no idea who, organised a charter flight from Nelson. I think the aircraft was a Friendship - and it was full. Can't remember the price of the trip and concert ticket but on a £7.15 a week wage a fair bit of saving must have been done. It was to be a same day return after the concert.. Concert experience, of course, was great (and my memory says Paul asked for quiet for one song - and got it) . However, the weather that night in Wellington was so bad that the return flight was abandoned. Result was a plane-load of Beatles fans bunked down for the night in the old Wellington Airport terminal. The high after the concert was such that I doubt anyone minded a bit. Late to work the next day - well worth it." - Chris R. 

"I went to the first show on Monday and I had front row tickets -A13- and there was a row of policemen in front of me with all their helmets under the seats.   Being in the front row we could actually hear it.  The music was good, just like on the records.  The guitar was good and you could hear the words.  I remember John Lennon saying "Shuddop" and the crowd gradually quieted down.  It was quite quiet at one stage, the crowd must have screamed themselves out and George must have done a few little dance steps, and the crowd went berserk!  Just because he acutely moved!  Ringo sang a song too - Boys--and that brought the house down!" -Damien O'Shaughnessy

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