Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ole Los Beatles Espana (part 2 Madrid)

 Here is the continuation of the information that I posted yesterday about the Beatles in Madrid.   There is a lot of information here that was new to me!   I had no idea that 6,000 fans could not get in to see the Beatles and that the police were so violent towards them!  Wow!  

Ole Los Beatles Espana

By Juan Agueras and Richardo Gil
Sgt. Beatles Fanclub

Many pictures were to be taken the following morning, Friday July 2nd, during a pseudo-official reception organized by Bodegas Sherry at the very Fenix hotel.   The Beatles were awarded with a gold badge and signed, using pieces of chalk, on four casks brought especially from Jerez for the event.  They tasted the wine, served by Julio Moreno, a “venenciador” (a person who serves wine directly from the cask by means of a long, thick stick).  John tried to take his first steps in the technique.  Miguel Primo de Rivera, Jerez’s Mayor, presented him with the exotic stick.  Lennon exclaimed, “Ole!”  Going on the clich├ęs, flamengo dancing was also scheduled.  Ringo and Paul tried to imitate the dancers, who later on became “Las Hermanas Hurtado,” a combo of comedians.  The Beatles’ bass player, innate public relations, gave a wink to the TV cameras.  This ceremony was to be registered in history as having taken place in Andalusia, which is not true as it was held in Madrid. 

 In the afternoon they were interviewed in their rooms by Jose Luis Alvarez and Roberto Sanchez Miranda from Fonorama magazine, a nice gesture of Brian Epstein whom they had talked on the phone.  They had met some month before.  “A record less record player,” Roberto Sanchez remembers, “Paris Match magazine open showing a page which featured themselves, a table with plenty of sorts of bottles and glasses.  John woke up form a brief doze, the sheet line printed on his face and fidgeting with a venencia.   George went out of his room looking like Adam.  They made me sing ‘She Loves you’ in Spanish.”  Jose comments, “John suggested a picture of us all together.  He kicked off the table so that everything fell onto the floor.”  The meeting was brightened up when some English friends entered the room.  The two journalists summed up this overall impression, “four wonderful lads, really natural and with no affectation at all.”

Friday July 2nd, Plaza de las Ventas.  The surroundings of the venue began to become stocked with people, mainly youngsters, who had been queuing since early in the afternoon.  Police forces, which had put cordons around the place and which were on horse back, were busy repressing those people who were too much enthused.   Likewise, those who looked suspicious were not allowed to enter.  The show started at 9:30pm, just as it had been scheduled, with 12,000 people assembled at the place (half the venue’s capacity).  The most expensive seats were occupied by celebrities.   Spanish musicians and lots of Americans, the later’s presence being quite conspicuous all along the show.   Nevertheless, the Beatles were to play much later on.  The host, Torrebruno remembers that due to the fact that the Beatles were due to appear on stage at a really late hour, the audience got really excited.  “They wanted to see the Beatles and nobody else, just the Beatles.”  The Fab four got to the Plaza de Toros at about 9pm.  They went straight into the medical section, which had been prepared to serve the purposes of a dressing room.  While the four from Liverpool were waiting for their performance to begin, and once the first part of their show was over, special scenery was laid out.  Yet the set’s concept was closer to a variety show than to a Rock n Roll concert.  

 At 10pm Torrebruno, the host, delivered his introduction.  Meanwhile, the combo was heading for the stage’s right side stairs.  They were carrying their own instruments.  “And now the very moment has come” Torrebruno said “Yes dear friends, here they are for the first time in Spain, the wonderful ones, the unique ones, the Beatles!”   Once the introduction was over, Paul proved everyone that he had learnt Spanish at school when he was a boy by means of presenting each song in the language of the country they were playing.  The show went on with “She’s a Woman.”  John, who played bot h acoustic and electric guitar played harmonica on “I’m a Loser.”  Paul sang “Can’t buy me love,” Lennon and McCartney sang together on “Baby’s in Black.”  Then the people began to shout, “Ringo!  Ringo!”  “I wanna be your man” was the next song, which the drummer played as he shook his hair.  “A Hard Day’s Night” was given a tremendous hand just like “Everybody’s trying to be my baby,” sung by George.  When it came to “Rock and roll music” (Ringo had written Rock and Roll Sausages on a paper attached to his drums—it was an expression used in The Cavern era by someone who hated The Beatles).  “I Feel Fine” and “Ticket to Ride” were the songs they played right afterwards.  With “Long Tall Sally” the show was brought to its end.  It was song number 12.  Then Paul said goodbye to everyone after 45 minutes on stage.  Though people wanted more numbers, no encores were played.  Torrebruno returned to the stage and put an end to the night. 

One of the guest artists, Phil Trim, Trinidad Steel Band’s vocalist recalls how John Lennon asked him about “What the Eastern audiences were like.  We had just returned from Japan and Australia and they were about to visit those places.”  Pedro Ruiz Bermejo, a DJ evokes that “as nobody could speak English, I was commissioned to go and interview them.  I talked to George Harrison in Las Ventas.  It was sort of eating from a forbidden tree.”  Enrique Gines, journalist, was shocked when he could spot Ava Gardner among the people gathered to watch the show.  Miguel Rios, Spanish rocker, said he will never forget a man standing at the doorway with a gigantic pair of scissors and with a banner asking for a chance to shave the Beatles’ heads.  By the way, a rumor went that a gang of students had made plans to kidnap George Harrison so as to get his hair cut.  “I was literally having a trance,” Miguel Rios tells us, “I just remembered how shocked I was by that music, by their control upon everything.  It all was wonderful.  At the beginning of the show, they rushed their way onto the stage.  Quite the same happened at the end, after twelve songs they disappeared all of a sudden.  People were as if mesmerized.”

Rosa Montero, then a 14 year old daring girl, watched the show from a distant point.  “I remember the stage was mute and vulgar.  On it four fleas in black, always jumping to the rhythm.  A cold atmosphere.  Definitely, the people were not accustomed to this kind of show.  Everything seemed to be too big.  The Plaza de Torros was empty and it was too expensive.  The Beatles were too much for those people.  But getting into that place was like getting in touch with my generation.”
Paul was shocked by the amount of people that could not enter the place (there were 6,000 of them outside and they made more noise than those listening to the concert).  Ringo was shocked by the violence used by the police officers.  Even Francisco Bermudez, the one who had organized the Beatles to come to Spain, suffered from this erroneous police force’s attitude.  An officer mistook him for a fan when Bermudez was trying to make his way towards the back part of the stage.  Fortunately, it was but verbal violence.  “They sent three police brigades.  It was not a sell out, because people were afraid of the repression.  And that’s it.  I paid more attention to the security forces than to the show itself.  I could not even watch them play.  If the policemen saw someone stand up, then they rushed forward and took that poor fellow into a lorry.   They jailed about 300 youngsters that night and what were they guilty of?  Ignacio Matinez, a member of Los Pekenikes, a guest combo says, “There was a police officer for each of the members of the audience.  Just one more office and we could have conquered Gibraltar.”  Rosa Montero evokes events which took place after the concert in an underground station.  “As I was a bay, the despised me, but I could see them hit the young people there with unusual rage. The officers seemed to be crazy.  They were fighting against what they thought the Beatles stood for:  silent individual rebellions, revolutionary fringes, anxiety to change the situation.  It was the very first time I could see the grey ones at work.  Then I realized what being a Beatlemaniac really meant:  it was a fight against the values epitomized by those officers.  It made me understand that rock was not only music but a change to think about a different world.”               

After the concert, The Beatles and their court returned to the Fenix Hotel.  Antonio Fernadez, a member of the building staff at the time, was taken aback by their being isolated from the rest of the world, “They hardly left the room save for the show.  They spent the rest of the time indoors—in their rooms.”  If they managed to get away from their cloistering, nobody ever noticed.  Enrique Bartolome, the hotel manager hints that they might have gone out for a walk with beards and mustaches.  But as a matter of fact, the Beatles stayed sleeping, “the favorite activity” some magazines said, whereas Brian did not.  He had an appointment which had been arranged discretely.    According to the magazine Fonorama, it did not take place.  Eventually, Brian expressed his desire for knowing late night spots.  He was seen at Bourbon Street, a club visited by homosexuals.  All the reviews published the next morning had a common point:  the feared riots had not taken place.  This is an excerpt from the newspaper ABC, “Had it not been for the records and musical magazines, we would not have the slightest clue of the abilities of the Beatles.  The uproar prevented us from hearing them.”


  1. There was a dictatorship in Spain back then (in fact since 1939, and until 1975), so I guess this is the main reason police were so violent...

  2. Fernando Silva SalasJuly 7, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    The "venenciador" real name was Julio DELGADO, not Moreno.