By Susan Lytle
For Maclen fanzine Issue 10/11 (April-May 1976)
Just how do you go about relating an event that happened 11 years ago? My first reaction as to re-read the 5th grade-style composition I wrote way back when for my own personal reminder. Along with fact about the concert, there are minute details such as what color nail polish I wore, what I ate for breakfast, etc. My reactions to the day are more vivid than the day itself.
The date of the concert, Sunday, September 13, 1964, is more familiar to me than my own birthday. My girlfriend, Cathy, and I were all dressed p in our look-alike blue outfits. Blue was Paul’s favorite color, you know. And I don’t remember ever seeing so much blue and red in one crowd as on that evening.
It was my first rock concert so I was thoroughly convinced that I and my 10 year old companion could rush the stage with no trouble at all. After seeing the policemen and their dogs surrounding the Holiday Inn, we were too afraid to even consider anything disorderly. I was angry at the Beatles because I couldn’t get near them and I vowed to tear down my posters when I got home. (I didn’t).
There was a mob of girls around the entrance to the Baltimore Civic Center. Someone said that the Beatles were signing autographs, but of course, it wasn’t true. I began to get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the butterflies you get when a Beatle is close by?
Cathy and I bought programs and “I Love Paul” buttons. My mother attended the show, too. Her favorite was Ringo and we couldn’t understand at the time how she could resist a Ringo button.
The wait for the concert to begin seemed endless. Girls all around us were giggling, stomping their feet and shouting out cheers. And after the excruciatingly long opening acts, THEY came out. A flood of screams filled the auditorium and the first thing I saw was George’s hair. “Where’s Paul? Where’s Paul?” I thought, and after a minute of hysterics, I finally located him.
The Beatles seemed to be having so much fun up on stage. George kept ducking behind John and Paul. Paul jerked his bass the way he always does. John did his foot stomping, hand clapping routine. Ringo was Ringo.
The song that stands out in my mind is “And I Love her.” It is such a lovely, romantic song and of course, Paul’s. During this number, I elbowed my mother to take pictures with my super-duper brownie camera. We were only hundreds of feet away. “Mom, take it now! Take it now!”
My eyes remained glued on Paul. All of a sudden, I burst out into tears. I had to do something, but what? It was like telepathy because Cathy looked at me just as I turned to look at her. “Let’s scream Paul!” We waited for what was a quiet moment considering the circumstances. Then, after a countdown, we let out what seemed to us the loudest screams in the room. I honestly think Paul did hear us (or was it the dream of a 10 year old?) because he looked up suddenly, stared into the darkness of the audience and gave a quick jerky wave. It was for us, we just knew it and that’s what mattered.
By the time Paul announced, “for our last song….”, our hands were red from applause, our ears were ringing and our throats felt like cotton. Yet we didn’t want it to end there was something so damned final about it.
Suddenly, just as a dream ends, it was over and the house lights went on and girls were still standing in awe with tear-stained faces. My mother led the way for us out of the building. We were speechless. Three girls in front of us were sobbing bitterly. One was moaning, “It’s over. They’ll never be back! I’ll never see them again!” Although we didn’t know at the time the Beatles would never perform in Baltimore again, there was a general feeling that they wouldn’t’ which made the end even sadder.
The aftermath of the concert was typical of the era. Fainting girls were being stretched out on tables in the corridors. Red-faced girls and puzzled policemen and parents wandered out onto the street. A vendor made one last attempt to sell Beatles banners. We bought the last two blue ones.
I remember trying to force myself to cry. I actually wanted to but couldn’t anymore. I had long since run out of tears.
Later that evening, Cathy and I wondered if we’d ever see the Beatles again. We came to the conclusion that they had to come back. But that night, I literally cried myself to sleep.