Barber shop Quartet Candidates, Swingin’ fan’s report on Beatles: Still they seem like nice guys
By Connie Kienzle
The Pittsburgh Press
The shrieking of the audience almost made the Little Old Lady wish she could hear the screaming from the stage instead.
But not quite.
They seem like nice boys, she thought. And they certainly hare having a good time. But their mother should send them to a good barber.
The Beatles were mouthing the words to a song that the Little Old Lady turned off the last time she heard it on the radio. At certain intervals the screaming 13,000 little girls would swell so that she had to disconnect her hearing aid.
She looked around. There were little girls jumping up and down, clapping, swaying, crying, screaming and waving. They stood on seats. They implored. One girl, standing up to scream, jammed the woman’s hat down over her eyes.
Land sakes, the Little Old Woman thought. I believe that child is going to have a fit. Look at those tears. In a moment she’ll be in shock.
From her spot at the foot of the stage she could see Ringo Starr perspiring as he shook his long hair in an ecstasy of song. The din increased, but she still couldn’t hear what the Beatles were “singing.”
Feet began stomping all over the Civic Arena. Too bad I wore my tennis shoes, thought the Little Old Lady, who was beginning to hear the beat.
In other parts of the Arena, there were grandpas, grandmas, whole families, neighborhood groups, scholarly gentlemen and older couples who were also digging the whole Beatle bit. Some of them had their fingers in their ears.
Right in front of the Little Old Lady was a policeman wearing earmuffs. He was one of a group who hugged the front of the stage, looking grim and shaking heads but not in time to the “music.”
She heard one of them saying how orderly the crowd had been.
Why did they pay all that money to come down here and yell like that, wondered the Little Old Lady. They only sounds discernible over the bleating of the crowd were Ringo’s drumbeats and an occasional twang of John’s guitar.
She had taken the tin lizzie to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport earlier in the day to watch the Beatles arrive. There were about 5000 children and some parents, all crunching against the airport’s snow fences which had been specially erected behind the metal railing and it seemed as if the screaming had hardly diminished since the Beatles flew in.
There was a hodge-podge of County deputy sheriffs, all looking bored, and an assortment of other uniformed men standing in the immediate area where the plane landed. Some had cotton in their ears.
Four shaggy youths disembarked and were whisked away before the Little Old Lady could get a good look. That hair looks longer than any of the pictures I’ve seen, she thought.
Later at the press conference where the Little Old Lady sneaked noiselessly by a regular garrison of armed policemen and detectives, she heard Ringo saying he was afraid to trust an American barber and the hair would have to wait until the end of the United States tour. “But it could stand abit of it off now,” he said.
She hobbled up the immobile escalators with the first mass of screamers and made her way to what seemed like a good spot by the stage. Police were everywhere.
These children are really having a good time, though the Little Old Lady as she looked around the Arena, but they’ll all going to need some goose grease and a flannel wrapper on their throats tomorrow.
I’d like to hear the Beatles sometime, she said to herself as she watched George and Paul smiling at each other and then at the audience. John gave a funny little hop and the screaming shrilled higher.
I’d rather listen to music but I really don’t mind them, she thought, feeling a little silly. She began to unbutton her elbow-length gloves so she could clap a little harder. Her tennis shoes began to tap, gently. Why didn’t I wear those regular high-button shoes with the cleats, she moaned inwardly.
“Yes yes yes” screeched the Little Old Lady, as she threw her second best black velvet tam into the air. She thought “yeah yeah yeah “would be going a bit overboard.
But the amazing phenomenon wasn’t over. After the Beatles left the stage, the little girls converged on it with ear-splitting yelps.
Besieged policemen defend the stage which the Beatles had stood upon from bodies hurling forward just to touch the boards. Tears flowed.
Feeling creaky and brittle, the Little Old Lady decided not to add her bones to that pile of Beatle-bugs.
Besides, she thought, I have something better, and she patted her old black handbag which contained two of Ringo’s cigarette butts, pilfered after the press conference.