Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fans recall the wild night in Boston with the Fab 4

When I saw the Racetrack location on The Beatles schedule in 16 magazine, I asked a friend, who not only had his driving license but had his own car.  My uncle had a beach resort near the Racetrack.
We asked his parents if we could drive from Connecticut to Massachusetts for a weekend at this resort and see The Beatles.  His mother said okay!
The next step was to ask my relatives to try to get tickets.  After bugging him for a week, my uncle called them.  A few days later I heard that they had gotten tickets!  Soon, two tickets to see The Beatles arrived in the mail.  I couldn’t believe my luck!  Two ticket, second row yet!
When we got to the concert and sat in our second row seats, I looked around in totally anticipation … girls, girls and more girls.  It must have been 9 to 1.
The set up was odd, I thought.  We were sitting in bleacher-type seats with a fence in front of us, then the racetrack, and on the other side, maybe 50-75 feet away, was a wooden makeshift stage.  We were really close.
DJs came and introduced groups such as The Remains and The Ronettes.  While they were priming the crowd for The Beatles, I’ll never forget looking to the left of the stage and seeing light reflecting off something shiny and moving.  It was one of those real moments in life.  I noticed some figures, then John, then George, Paul and Ringo.  And even though the noise grew to some incredible level, as they came into my full focus, bouncing up the stairs and onto the stage, I heard nothing—I froze.  There they were.  Holy shit, it’s The Beatles, holy shit!
When I came back to some sort of consciousness, the crowd was wild and I picked up my 8mm movie camera and tried to film as the crowd shoved and screamed.
How cool they looked in to suits.  I tried to memorize what I was feeling forever!  And, I did.  I think I even wrote down the song list.  Then, in such a short time, it was over.  A limo pulled up to the stage, they got in quickly, and the car pulled out on the track and drove right by us.  And, for a fleeting second or two, there was John’s face, looking out the window and waving.  Again, holy shit!  Girls were crying; it was such a weird feeling as they drove away.
I had the film developed, but never having used the camera before; I didn’t know there was a filter over the lens.  I still have these films; they’re not very good, but I can see something in them no one else can!

I was there with four friends and had front row tickets. The girls were screaming so loud and it  was hard to hear the music. A few girls hyperventilated and passed out behind us. A couple of people jumped the fence between the track and the seats and got to the stage but not quite to them. At 14 years old it was quite something. I had no idea why it was so crazy but I loved the Beatles and knew all their songs and words back then.  – Ken

I was there too. It was hard to hear them, but I think the sound system was not appropriate, inasmuch as I don’t believe a concert was ever played there. Plus, all the screaming did not help at all. I was 15 and could not believe I was even in the same arena as the Beatles. I lived 2 streets up from the race track. I didn’t have a ticket but knew how and where to jump the fence. So, I can say, I saw them when. – Mary Jane

 I remember 6 things distinctly:
1. It was very hot and very humid, made worse by the crowd surging all around us, mostly surging towards different limos on the infield that folks thought the Beatles were in.
2. I remember Barry and the Remains, Bobby Hebb, and Cyrcle did “Red Rubber Ball” very well.
3. I remember decoy limos, not 4 limos, until the Beatles all jumped out if the same car. 4. The sound was very poor due to clipping of overdriven amps, small speakers, and lack of on-stage monitors. Technology simply had not caught up to the new paradigm of large venues and increased attendance. 5. Girls were hyperventilating and passing out, and the crowds were passing the girls to the rails where the cops would lay them down on the track, giving them some fresh air. Some enterprising young ladies feigned illness, hit the track, and headed for the stage.6. The most poignant moment: during the Beatles performance, a fan made it to the stage and was trying to just touch one of the four, I believe it was Paul. I was on the rail at that time because one of our girls was laying on the track from the heat, so I was pretty close to the stage. I remember how petrified they all looked. Great memory, my first concert   - Dana

 The way I remember it, all the opening acts came out of limos from the front. When it was time for the Beatles to play, four limos pulled up in front of the stage and the crowd went crazy and some fans touched the limos. The Beatles were not really in the limos. The cars were decoys. While everyone was focused on the cars and the melee, the Beatles were all of a sudden on the stage. I always suspected the helicopter that had landed on the field behind the stage. The girls were crazy loud but I heard all the songs. Great show!  - Ted

 I was in the lower section and right behind me were the grandstands," he said. "They were pretty good seats because the grandstands were a bit further away. So I felt fortunate to be that close, but we were probably still a couple hundred feet.  I think they played for like 25 minutes and that's seems to be in line with other people's remembrance of the show," he said. "And I was like, 'That's it?' So I was a little disappointed because I would've liked to have seen them for an hour. But the bigger disappointment is just not being able to hear them. I would've loved to have heard at least half of it and not away from where they were playing."    --Ron

In August 1966, I was living in Springfield, MA.  My birthday  wasn’t until November, but I remember my mother buying me a ticket to see the Beatles in Boston.  She came home with a special she had seen advertised which included round-trip tickets to Boston on Peter Pan bus lines and a ticket to the Beatles show all for $12.75!  I had been a Beatle fan from the first time of exposure, and this was the best thing that could have happened to me.   All of my friends who were going to meet at the bus station.   To our surprise, there were four buses in the group.  Some were decorated with “Beatles or bust” banners on the sides.  Inside, the bus was pure energy.  Everyone was signing songs and passing Beatles magazines.  Finally, we got to Suffolk Downs in Boston at 7:30pm.  People were all over the place selling souvenirs, buttons, banners, newspapers, Beatles cookies and Lennonaid.  After buying one of everything and getting inside, I bought my program and found my seat.  It was too far back, so I decided to get closer.  Impossible!  The show started at 8pm, but it was past that now and every time a limo pulled into the race track near where the stage was, the screams became unbearable.   The first act was Bobby Hebb singing “Sunny.”  Next were the Cyrkle, then the Ronettes, one of my favorites at the time.  When they finished, the tension grew.  And when The Beatles were announced, the place went crazy.   I couldn’t see too well, but I was standing right next to one of the P.A. speakers and even could hear them talking to themselves onstage.   I remember Paul telling George that a girl in the audience looked like him.  They were making all kinds of wisecracks but unfortunately, I can’t remember them.  Their portion of the show as over all too quickly. They did all the songs that are on the Tokyo video.  George Harrison became my favorite, as I got the closest to the group while he was singing “If I needed someone.”  I remember saying to everyone that he was “so cool.”   We all then headed back to our buses – girls crying and guys talking about forming groups. -- Harold

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