Ole Los Beatles Espana
By Juan Agueras and Richardo Gil
Sgt. Beatles Fanclub
They headed to Barcelona next Saturday at 2:45pm. It was quite a hot day. They flew with a Superconstellation from our national company Iberia with flight number IB 214. Juanita Biarnes, a photographer, will never forget it as she managed to take pictures of the Beatles themselves on the plane. “When I boarded the plane” she remembers, “I noticed that the four of them and their people were in the back. Together with them, there was a typewriter, two sound engineers, a sort of assistant who did all the chores requested by them (the latter three were also bodyguards), and the manager, a quiet man, unsuspicious and always watching and controlling in silence everything which took place around his lads.” As her pictures clearly showed us, the Beatles did not travel as stars. She was marveled by their availability and kindness. They were traveling in a regular flight, without special security measures. John and Paul were sitting quite close to the toilets, just like George and Ringo, who hid their eyes behind dark sunglasses. Instead of landing on runway 17 – as previously announced, they did it on a different area of the El Prat airport, opposite the restaurant. Here you have a relayed anecdote: the Hungarian novelist, Lajos Zilahy altered his timetable so as to avoid all the chaos he expected the Beatles were to generate at the airport. There were about 200 fans waiting for them. Brian Epstein got off the plane before the Fab Four and then Franciska, a singer in fashion at the time presented the Beatles with four monteras (a type of cap used by bull fighters) with compliments of the promoter. Paul toyed with his cap and played the fool pretending it was a goblet. They also received from the hands of a pretty woman four little dolls dressed with typical Andalusian suits and some keyrings from Elisa Estrada, a member of the Spanish Official Beatles fan Club. To please the photographers, they went upstairs and downstairs once again. A Cadillac took them to the Hotel Avenida Palace, in Gran Via Street, at the center of Barcelona. Their rooms were located on the first floor.
The press conference turned to be very funny – rather an improvisation and it began at 7pm. Only 20 journalists turned up, maybe due to the fact that the promoter was reluctant to give away free tickets for the concert. Juanita Biarnes was lucky once again, “After the press conference, I told them I wanted to be with them. They said yes by means of pointing their thumbs up, a Beatles common practice. At 7:30pm the five of us went into their rooms. There were records spread all over their beds, lots of hardbacks, a badly looked record player, a Spanish guitar. Ringo was lying on a bed reading. George was not present. Nothing special on the shelves: no perfumes or the like. A hair dryer. They smoked a lot, all types. Ringo always smoked tipped cigarettes. There was a table with plenty of drinks and fruit. John did not cease to play the Spanish guitar for a moment. He played many classical Spanish pieces. They talked to me about Albeniz. They loved flamenco dancing. They wanted to write some songs with a Spanish touch. They told me to sing a rumba, a word which by the way, made them laugh. I admitted I had no idea about rumbas. Nevertheless, I taught them to palmear (to handclap in flamenco like style) and some Catalonian expressions. After this friendly conversation, a casual dinner was held in the suite. This was the menu: john—a chicken sandwich with a lot of tomato sauce, Paul had a cheese and ham sandwich, George and Ringo—fried eggs and beans. They drank tea with milk. After the dinner, they were told they had to get ready to go to the show. “
The 18,000 (three quarters of the total capacity) who gathered at the venue to watch the Beatles seemed to be more patient when it came to listening to the guest artists. Torrebruno was once again the host. As the other groups, who began to play at 10:45pm, were on stage, the Beatles were somehow stuck on their improvised dressing rooms. Mass media harassed them even when they felt like going to the toilet. Paul, a natural born PR, posed next to he police officers, mimicking their salutes. By the way, Barcelona officers seemed to be more tolerant than their Madrid colleagues. Eventually, around midnight, they went onto the stage through the bullpen’s door. The scenery was simpler than in Madrid. Just like in Madrid, John, with his hat on, stood on the right, Paul on the left, sometimes changing places with George, who stood in the very center, right in front of Ringo. As usual they played the same repertoire as the previous show in Madrid, which was 12 songs, 8 by Lennon and McCartney, and 4 cover versions. The song list had been especially devised for the mini European tour which had begun in Paris on June 20 and which was about to come to an end.
Back in their rooms, they celebrated the end of the tour. Some hotel customers complained about the noise. Francisco Bermudez, who was taking part in that party, recalls that an Italian customer man was about to smash him. Likewise he recalls, “We were all celebrating the success of the great ever and most satisfactory experience of my life.” He was said that he, the promoter, lost money, however, later on he said he had actually earned some 600,000 peseta’s. “Not too bad, I think.” Brian Epstein suggested he could help him to organize a tour through South America.