Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Concert memories from the Beatles at the State Fair

To read more about the Beatles concert in Indianapolis, I recommend two books.   The first is Some Fun Tonight vol. 1 by Chuck Gunderson.   In this book, you can read the great (true) story of when Ringo left the Speedway and went cruising around Indy with a police officer and ended up at his house and met his daughter!   It is worth reading!

The second book came out this summer.  It is called All Those Years Ago and it is by David Humphrey.   It is all about the Beatles Indianapolis concerts and has a ton of fan memories and interesting information.   You can purchase your copy here.  

The Beatles performed 2 shows in Indianapolis.   The first one was inside the Coliseum and the second was outdoors in the bandstand.   I believe that all of the photos I have seen are from the Coliseum.   There is also a great film that shows this concert.   What I recall about the film is that it shows an ice cream vendor not doing his job, but listening to the Beatles.

Concert memories (collected from many places online)

"I was a 9 yr old boy going to see the Beatles that summer at the Indiana State Fair. However, I have very good recall of this, my first concert. I remember walking around the fairgrounds and seeing girls with Beatles buttons with words on them ‘I Love John’ ‘I Love Paul’ and such. There weren’t many girls wearing ‘I Love George’ or Ringo buttons though. My father was a pediatrician and was the doctor of the ticket manager of the State Fair and he got 4 tickets and sent his 11 yr old daughter and son to this along with our older cousin and her friend. (Very cool, dad) 

The Beatles came out and played the east end of the Coliseum, which for people that saw concerts there in years following was maybe the only time anyone played this end. The west end became the common location. I think John beginning to sing ‘If I Fell’ and the screaming became so loud I had to put my fingers in my ears. I mean, there is loud and there is Beatles loud. I think the beginning of my hearing loss began on this day Since this time I have seen many major concerts but none even began to come close to the fervor of this hot summer day inside the Coliseum.

There were men in white coats running around with stretchers picking up girls who had fainted and carrying them off hurriedly. Lots of girls, thousands, maybe I was the only boy in the place. And many were out of control. I just stared at them wondering what was the big deal.

It is interesting that the Beatles would later comment on this concert that it was “quite quiet” only I don’t know if they had started drugs by this time or had earplugs in because it was anything but quiet. It was unbearably loud and it never stopped, relentless.

I mostly remember just looking around at the girls who were screaming. I was in a bit of shock that someone could lose control like this over a bunch of guys up there singing. But, the impression was everlasting: THESE GUYS WERE C-O-O-L.

After this I remember guys began wearing Beatles boots. I thought they were pretty cool but parents frowned upon them because they looked like something ‘hoods’ would wear.

After the concert ended, we exited the southeast corner of the Coliseum. As we walked away there was a sudden shrilly, high pitched scream that went up and I turned to see what had happened, only to find a surge coming towards me that to this day kind of gives me chills. It was the feeling being trampled underfoot and it was not pleasant. I looked up and there was a surge of girls then the Beatles were running right past us, within 3 feet, and got into a black car that was parked nearby. I have a memory of one of the Beatles brushing against me slightly as the cops cleared their way for them. It was thrilling in a sense, but it was over in maybe 10 seconds. But how thrilling can it be for a 9 year old, anyway? Wish I’d been a few years older.

This is one of the memories you have in your lifetime that cannot be erased and I would say that nobody will ever cause a commotion and stir that the Beatles did. And the decibels of the screams given Elvis, especially Michael Jackson, don’t approach the levels given the Beatles.
One of a kind. Originals." The best. –Larry R.

"I was at the concert in the early evening. I remember lots of sailors were there in white uniforms. We were sitting up high in the stands, indoors, and had a good view of the stage and whole crowd. I don’t know directions, but the stage was to our left. It was the first time I had been back to the Coliseum since the horrible explosion the year before. What impressed me the most about the Beatles was how polite they were and professional in their performance. They bowed all together after each song. Their hair seemed so long and you could see why they were called mop-tops. It seems funny now to think how much fuss was created by their appearance. There was a lot of screaming, but not right near us, as we were mostly adults in that area, and we could hear the music well enough. It was a wonderful show, and I’m so glad to have seen the Beatles live."—Ruth

"I was inside the Coliseum that day in Indy. My buddy and I had front row seats. The Beatles were all dressed in gray Nauru jackets and pants. I don’t possibly know why the fab four thought the crowd was “quite quiet”.
The thousands of screaming girls were so loud and it never let up…we could barely hear the songs they were playing, yet we were only 30 feet away from the stage! It was a moment in time I will never forget!" –Eric J.

"At the first performance inside, they started letting the crowd into the lobby. But were not letting anyone go to their seats. A lot of pushing and shoving. Saw a guy's arm break a window glass. Remember at least one kid knocked down. Fortunately they quickly yelled to let them go to the seats. It was pretty scary. I was 16. Could have been a tragedy. I was ready to leave!
Glad my older brother talked me into staying! It was a great thrill to see The Beatles live!" –James B.

"My father was the MC for the second show in the grandstands, WIBC morning DJ Bouncin' Bill Baker. We lived on the north west side of town behind Broadmoor golf course. We had a police escort to the concert from our home and when we arrived in my fathers Greenbrier van painted up with WIBC logos and Bouncin Bill Baker signs all over a crowd swarmed the van thinking that The Beatles were inside.  My brothers and I loved it, but my mother was a little worried. I was only six but I remembered it well and sitting in the second row from the stage, girls kept pushing everyone as I stood on the wooded chair to get a better look. My father came out on stage wearing a green Nehru jacket and a Beatles wig, which Ringo took off his head when they came out! My older brother was fortunate enough to meet all The Beatles back stage in their dressing room. It was a great memory of a magical evening, I’m still hoping to find someone who might have taken a picture with my father on stage that night and get a copy for our entire family. We still have a complete roll of Beatle wallpaper from the radio station left over and other memorabilia, which my sister is avid collector. A very fond memory! " My Best Brad W. Baker

"I  was at the early show in the Coliseum and I was one of the screaming girls. I really loved the music so I tried not to be so loud that I couldn’t hear anything. It didn’t matter though, everyone around me and my friend were so loud we couldn’t hear much else. My father drove us up from Lexington, Ky. and we barely got there in time for the seating. I remember Jackie De Shannon wearing a bright blue fringed disco dress right before the Beatles came out. When they came out and started singing it was so surreal I couldn’t believe I was really seeing them in front of me. The memory maybe a little faded but some parts I remember so well. We couldn’t get tickets for the second show but my Dad let us hang around the fence by the tunnel where they were driven out to the stage area in a black limo. I was a huge George fan and he actually waved at us as they drove by, it was magical, there are no other words. After that my friends and fellow outcasts at our preppy school had Beatle parties where we shared bootleg records and videos not yet released in the states. Someone’s dad went to Europe and brought them back for us. It was huge in my life to be there and some of my best memories." –Jean

"My mom and I went to see them! My dad thought it was ridiculous to pay $5 bucks a piece for our was awesome!" –Charlie H. 

"I was 11 years old, We saw the Beatles at the Grandstand show. My Mom told me & my sisters not to scream, but I did anyway" – Sally P.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic. Just fantastic, Sara!!!

    The second two pics from the bottom I particularly love (have to read the fan accounts when I get home!). Love the girl snapping her fingers, having the time of her life!!! And the pic of the whole coliseum!