Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Orleans tidbits from Beatlefest

The Beatles 1964 New Orleans concert has always been one that has been covered in mystery to me.   I guess it is because up until this year, there had never been any actual photographs from the concert available and very few stories had came out.  Really all that was available was some grainy video footage.  So all I had known about the New Orleans concert was that the fans were hurt by police who were on horseback and that the Beatles called them "football players" during the show.     However, as the 50th anniversary approached more stories from this show started to come out and I heard many of them from Bruce Spizer and Ivor Davis at the Fest for Beatle fans in Chicago this past August.    I took notes during these talks so that I could pass these little nuggets of information back to you.

According to Spizer, the Beatles really wanted to meet Fat Domino.   As a matter of fact, he was the main celebrity out of all the people in the United States that they Beatles really wanted to meet.   Davis explains:  "Paul was really into Fats.  He was the one  that revered him, and Paul was the one that made it happen."   And so, thanks to opening act, Frogman Henry,  before the concert in New Orleans, the Beatles met Fats Domino backstage.   As Paul McCartney famously recalls in the Beatles Anthology:   "He had a very big diamond watch in the shape of a star, which was very impressive."   Davis recalls that the Beatles, particularly George wanted to listen to jazz music in New Orleans' nightclubs.   But of course, the tight schedule and Beatlemania did not allow for that enjoyment.

Speaking of New Orleans music, Deacon Jones (not the football player that was on the Brady Bunch), the musician was in the audience at this Beatles concert.   As a musician, he was interested in the Beatles music.

Both Bruce and Ivor talk about how out of control the fans and the police were.   Bruce said that some girls were pushed in wheelchairs, and they didn't need the wheelchairs, just so they could get out on the field and be closer to the Beatles.

I am not sure if this is one of the fans in question, but you can see empty wheelchairs behind her.
 Photograph taken by Ted Rozumalski provided by Robert Rozumalski."

Those who didn't have wheelchairs tried to run onto the field.   The fans in this stadium were quite far from the Fab 4 and so between 100-200 ran to get closer.   Many police officers were on horseback and they injured many of the fans.  New Orleans had more injured fans than an other stop on this tour.   Ivor Davis said that he felt fear because a lot of the kids were bleeding. 

Photograph taken by Ted Rozumalski provided by Robert Rozumalski."

Beatles collector, Jeff Augsburger had many artifacts from the 1964 North American tour including part of one of the microphones one of the guys used during this concert. 

Jeff Augsburger collection  Photo by Sara Schmidt

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