Monday, November 3, 2014

One stop in Ireland

There was controversy that followed the Beatles to Ireland on November 2, 1964.  The Beatles were supposed to perform at the Royal Variety Show in London and had turned down the invitation and went ahead with the Autumn tour.   There were rumors that after John's "rattle your jewelry" comment the previous year that the Beatles weren't welcomed back, but really Brian Epstein had a "been there done that" attitude toward the Royal Variety show and while the Beatles were often asked back, they never did that performance again.

Instead, the Beatles flew into Aldergrove Airport and where driven straight away to the King Hall in Balmoral, where their performance was to be held.  Here is what Trevor Kane, who took them from the airport to the venue had to say about it all , " They came in my car, which was a big Mark 10 Jaguar.  We had a police escort, which amounted to a couple of cars at least.  They guided us to the King's Hall and stayed with the Beatles later when they went to their hotel.  But we didn't stop at the hotel first.  We went straight to the venue and from the moment they arrived they were locked inside.  The conditions they had in the King's Hall weren't very comfortable.  There was no luxury about the place.  the room we converted into a band room for them was a place we previously  used for hiring ice-skates.  It was a big room off the King's Hall.  They had very few visitors.  A few journalists got to meet them although they didn't hold a press conference.  There were very few people who met them face to face.  they just flew into Belfast and flew out as quickly as they could.  The one thing I remember was that there were about 1,000 autograph books sitting in the corner of the band room for them to sign.  All the punters had left them in.  The Beatles sat there and signed them.   They hadn't an awful lot to do.    They h ad brought per-printed, signed pictures with them and gave them out as well.  The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society had also left in a very prized possession, which was their visitor's book.  They asked if the Beatles would sign it.  This book had kings and queens in it.  It was a big book and very precious.  Halfway through he night I found it among the heap of about 1,000 autograph books.  They had signed it and just flung it into the corner.  I managed to rescue it.  It could just as easily have gone out the door."

Security was extremely tight and quite a crowd of people were trying to get backstage to talk to the Beatles.  Almost no one was allowed in, but a a few got inside.  The fellows presented toys to volunteers that were give to Belfast orphans as Christmas gifts.  Photos were taken of Ringo holding a toy Beatles guitar and Paul holding a toy guy alongside some of the fortunate volunteers that were able to get inside of the dressing room.

King Hall was a very impressive venue.  It held 8,000 people, which was much larger than the 2,000 seat houses the Beatles had been playing to throughout the tour.  And so with 2 houses books, 16,000 fans had tickets to see the Beatles in concert on November 2, 1964.   Reports from the time say that the show as exciting and that when the Beatles came to perform, the fans let our a scream that was like a high-pitched whine.  Reports said that some fans screamed while others wept violently, while others curled up on their seats in the foetal position, looking bewildered and addled.   And of course there were those fans that fainted.    They threw purses, coins, programmes and love notes onto the stage and eventually fans began to run towards the front of the stage, however the police had a barricade to keep them away from the Beatles on the stage. 

Fan, Gerri, who was 12 at the time recalls, "We went in our little mini-skirts, two little schoolgirls, looking at little rock n rollers.  We had front row seats, right in front of Paul McCartney.  We could hear them because we were right in front of them.  They were brilliant.  We were screaming and standing up on the chairs and pulling our hair.  I was so excited.   I thought I was going to faint.  There were all these photographers from the Belfast Telegraph and I was thinking to myself, 'Oh God, my mother is going to see this in the morning.'  Mr. McCabe brought us backstage.  It was pandemonium.  We were ushered quickly through.  I was in shock.  I had this little autograph book that my uncle had bought me in Hamburg.  It had a little lock on it, like a diary.  So I got all the Beatles' autographs.  I got Neil Aspinall on the same page.  I also got Bob Bain, who was the host.  I got Mary Wells and the Remo Four.  But they were never as good as the Beatles."

The Beatles with Trevor Kane (between Paul and Ringo) and someone that often gets cropped out of this photo, backstage in Belfast 1964,

Another girl, Valerie, was at the concert as a guest of the guitarist from Sounds Incorporated.   She was 17 years old and attended the 2nd show.  "I was so close to the Beatles on the stage that I could have touched them.  I was standing there, looking up at them.  There was this incredible noise of screaming when the Beatles came on.  It was like a train.  The crowd were going mad and there were people falling over.  There was this incredible volume of people and these poor guys were trying to sing.  You couldn't speak because no one could hear you.   I could hear them Beatles signing because I was standing so close.  I think it would have been difficult to hear them out int eh crowd.  The mikes were tiny so they couldn't have been throwing the sound that much.  But I was overwhelmed to be within just a few feet of them."

Information for this date came from the following books:
Beatlesmania!  The Real Story of The Bealtes UK tours 1963-1965 by Martin Creasy
The Beatles Irish Concerts by Colm Keane


  1. I wonder if any photographs taken that day by all those "photographers from the Belfast Telegraph" ended up in the newspaper. It would be a treasure for us Beatle people if anybody could find them.

  2. The two photos of Paul & Ringo show up as them being at the Gaumont Cinema in Southampton 6 November many of their photos have different places and dates...Even Getty Images has incorrect dates and/or locations for some of their photos - who to believe?