Beatles’ fans never got to 2nd base
By Paula Brooks
Anyone who is an avid Beatle fan as I am, understands how I felt upon receiving word that I would be representing the Beaver County Times’ Young World at the Beatles’ Press conference in Cleveland last August. This was a dream of a teenage lifetime, to actually see the Beatles in person and possibly talk to them! As you can imagine, I could think of nothing else form that moment on.
Unfortunately, two days before their scheduled stay in Cleveland, their manager announced that all press conferences were cancelled for the remainder of the tour. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. However, I recovered and decided to try to see them somehow.
I arrived at the Cleveland Sheraton early in the afternoon. Although the sky was gray and overcast, this didn’t dampen the spirits of the many fans clustered around the hotel. At regular intervals, a unified scream could be heard signifying that someone, possibly a Beatle, had been seen at one of the windows.
No one knew for sure if it was john, Paul, George or Ringo, but that didn’t matter to many of the girls who kept their vigilant watch all afternoon. As long as they saw someone they thought was a Beatle, they were happy.
As I stepped off the elevator on the parlor floor where the Beatles suite was located, I was really excited. The security guard read my letter of introduction, but told me he was very sorry but no member of the press was permitted to see the Beatles except the few reporters who were traveling with the tour. It was rather frustrating to be so very close to them, just down the hall from their rooms, and not be able to see them. The security guard told me I should talk to some of the people traveling with them. I saw two British disc jockeys in the lobby, but they too said they were very sorry but there was nothing they could do to help me.
Again I took the elevator up to the parlor floor. This time the guard permitted me, along with four other girls who had press passes, to stand at the end of the hall and wait in case any of the Beatles came out of their rooms. One girl told me that about two minutes before I arrived there, they had seen John Lennon walk down the hall. Before he went in another room, he waved and called hello. While I stood there I did see Brian Epstein, their manager. He was friendly but was too busy to stop and answer any questions.
The security guard would only let us stay there for about 15 minutes at a time, and he told us we should come up one at a time. I made a total of seven trips up the elevator that afternoon. Although I did not see the Beatles it was an experience I will never forget, and I feel fortunate that was able to get even this close.
On my way to the Cleveland Stadium for the concert, I noticed a large crowd around the back exit of the hotel. This, along with two limousines, and two police cars could mean only one thing—the Beatles were going to leave by this exit.
After waiting for over half an hour, I figured they must be leaving by another exit. Since the concert was to start in two minutes, I decided I’d better leave. No sooner had I walked to the end of the block, when a scream went up that I knew signaled the Beatles departure.
Never have I run so fast as I did back up that street. First came a police car, to clear the way. Next came a limo. Thinking it was the Beatles; I rushed up and took a picture of it. It turned out to be a decoy car.
The next thing I knew, there was George Harrison right in front of me with only the car window between! The car was moving pretty fast, but I also had a glimpse of John Lennon.
The concert was as wonderful as I expected it would be. The only incident that marred it was the mobbing of the stage by 3000 fans. One girl jumped the fence during the third song and ran toward the stage, which was set up on second base. The police caught her and carried her off the field.
However, this started a chain reaction and before the police could stop them, fans began pouring onto the field. Some girls even climbed onto the stage. The police escorted them into the mobile home set up behind the stage, which served as a dressing room.
The DJ’s from radio station WIXY, who sponsored the show, warned the fans that the show would not continue until everyone sat down again. After one half hour, everyone had returned to their seats.
The performance continued without further interruption.
All four of the Beatles gave a good performance, especially Paul. He showed a great deal of personality and animation and would wave to the audience during songs, causing the already deafening screams to become even louder.
During the last number, the fans again rushed the stage. As soon as the song was over, the four Beatles were whisked into the waiting limousine and rushed back to the hotel