Monday, July 4, 2016

The Fans in Manila

As you would expect, the Beatle fans in Manila were just as excited about seeing the Beatles in concert as any other Beatle fans around the globe.   The fact that the Beatles didn't show up for some lunch at the palace didn't mean much to them, as they were just anxious to see the Fab 4 in person.    In Manila before the Beatles came, Help! was being shown at the local movie theater.      And you can see the excitement on their faces and the pure Beatlemania in these photos. 

One fan, Marra Lanot wrote this about seeing the Beatles during the afternoon show:

What was it like hearing The Beatles in person? Hearing? You couldn’t hear a word or a note, what with all the screaming and clapping and “I love you” thrown at John, Paul, George, and Ringo!

What was clear was that John especially was intently listening to the sound system and shouted with concern to the audience: “Could you hear me back there?!” Of course, the audience’s reply was unclear, whether it was a Yes or a No.

But who cared? What was important was The Beatles were there IN PERSON! They wore striped light-gray suits, they were singing, talking, looking at us. They were human, not just some cardboard representations of the world icons that they still are. And they were in Manila!

Being an avid fan of the Beatles, I had bought two tickets maybe just two weeks or so before their performance. The tickets were naturally quite expensive, and so I got seats somewhere in the middle.

The concert was at 4 pm, July 4, 1966, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Days later, I found out my best friend was seated in the front row, and she told me how she wanted to run to the stage but didn’t because she was with her Maryknoll friends who sat prim and proper. How I envied her. Had she known I was there, she said, she would have dragged me to the front row and pulled me to the stage. As if that was an easy thing to do. So, there I was like all the others, standing on my chair, watching The Beatles as well as the audience who listened and not listened at the same time.

Pilita Corrales was front act, and much as I admired Pilita as a singer, I was so impatient for The Beatles to appear. When they finally did, my jaw dropped and for a moment I was so still, as I usually am when initially stunned or flummoxed. Then, they sang songs from their then-new album Rubber Soul, which I had memorized

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