Saturday, September 6, 2014

Concert memories of the Beatles in Detroit

photo by Tony Spania

Memories of fans who attended the concert in Detroit, Michigan (collected through various places online)

I was at this concert and saw Paul McCartney again at Comerica Park July 24, 2011. He mentioned that you could not hear songs for all the screaming. So true. I was bummed because you could not hear at all. Girl next to me fainted and missed entire concert. Did enjoy Jackie DeShannon but don’t remember the other acts. I have never run into anyone who was at that concert and everyone is always impressed that I saw them in 1964—Gayle

I also attended the 1964 concert. The event was so influential in my life that it is etched in my mind forever. Interestingly, I don’t remember any other bands performing at the concert. I remember that they only played for about 20 minutes and were set up at one end of what was normally the Olympia ice hockey surface. The screaming was constant and deafening and as fate had it, I was seated to the band’s right and just slightly behind them, but up in the second or third tier so I had a great view and could actually hear them play and sing, (except when Ringo sang the song “Boys”). Thoughtfully, they all turned around and acknowledged the fans seated behind them after every song. Another image that has stuck with me is all the jelly beans that fans threw at them during the performance. After the concert, two rows of cops with arms interlocked surrounded the stage, barely stopping some and dragging others off who had leapt over them to grab the jelly beans they stepped on during the concert. An absolutely, unbelievably amazing Beatlemania scene! Afterwards, on the way out, people were breathing so hard from 20 minutes of screaming, that the walls of the exit corridors were literally dripping with exhaled moisture! –Mark C. 

My sister was at that concert. She still has a couple of the jelly beans that the Beatles stepped on and threw back at the crowd. I went with my dad to pick her up from the concert. She was 17 at the time and came out of Olympia with her girlfriends hoarse and drenched in sweat. –Bob P.

I was also there…up in the Press Box with the son of my Dad’s boss and his fiancee’. I remember a girl fainting and all the screaming. Though I had no idea what this word meant at the time, I can now describe it all as “surreal”…like I was almost dreaming it. I was 8 and it’s one of the best things I can ever say I’ve gotten to do in my life. –Barbara H.

I was there with two sisters and my mom. Yes, etched in my memory, John or Paul were only heard as the girls calmed down to hear them mention what song was next. One cord maybe, then couldn’t hear any of the songs the Beatles played but the screaming, the jelly beans the Beatles had to dodge. One girl kept jumping up and down screaming in front of us. My mother beat her with her purse cause she was blocking her view. The energy, the pandemonium. All worth to live a moment in the history of the Beatles. Heard they grossed more in Detroit than any other city that tour. I now live in Singapore, and yes, there is a bit of reverence, when you tell the world “you saw the Beatles live.” -Mike Griffin

I was at the 1964 concert. My family lived in Ann Arbor. My dad got tickets from one of the Red Wings hockey players he knew through his job at Ford and he took me since I was only 12. This was a very special occasion since I was one of six children at this time. We were seated up and to the left of the stage and had a very good view. I was timid in the midst of all the screaming. When I finally worked up enough courage to scream, the woman in front of me turned and gave me a strange look. I stayed pretty quiet but was elated. If I covered my ears, I could actually hear the songs through all the noise. My dad wore airport ear gear! Funny! I was motivated to learn to play the guitar and I was convinced I would someday marry Paul McCartney. My best friend was going to marry John Lennon. What a childhood memory! I still have the original program from this concert. –Robyn

I was there , I lived in Detroit at the time. I don’t remember hearing much of anything because of the screaming and I think I was doing quite a bit of it myself. But, it was great fun, and I will always have that memory as I was only 12 at the time. The father of a friend of mine said they would never last and bet her a 6 pack of colt 45 that they would be gone in a year. Don’t know if she ever collected it or not! –Mary Lou S.

My Dad, a Probate Judge, scored 4 tickets in ’64. He was to take my three older brothers; one who loved hockey didn’t care to go so I did. At 10 years old I recall hearing only one bit of music through all the screaming. I remember a girl behind me, the veins in her neck bulging as she screamed. As Ringo walked off stage I think a woman leaned over a railing and swung her purse to hit him over the head, likely so she could say her purse touched a Beatle. Amazing night and, yes, people have that reverence when I mention that I was there. –Dave S.

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