Saturday, August 20, 2016

The truth about the night before

Note this photo is NOT from the Cincinnati show at all but from the 1966 tour and is just used because I hate posts without photos. 

Many times when we think about the concert in Cincinnati, we don't think about the legalistic of it all.    The Beatles were supposed to perform at Crosley Field Saturday August 20, 1966 with the show starting at 8:30pm.     Afterwards they were to return to the Vernon Manor hotel and sleep in until they needed to get on an airplane to St. Louis on the 21st and land there around 4pm.     It was never in their itinerary to fly out directly after the Cincinnati show.   That is why it was pretty easy for the show to be rescheduled for noon the next day--they had no plans set anyway.

Sometimes else to keep in mind.   The Beatles were in the dressing room at Cincinnati, waiting for the rain to slow down, as were all of the supporting acts.   The Remains were in their stage suits, ready to go.      According to the Beatles' contract for the tour, a canopy was to be ready for all outdoor concerts in case of rain.     The promoters in Cincinnati did not provide that and actually broke the contract.  They were scrambling around, trying to get a canopy up for the show.    Meanwhile, it was raining and all of the Beatles equipment (except for the individual guitars), including the amps were out in the elements getting wet.   Not to mention, this was an open-air stadium and the fans were sitting there, getting soaked as well.  

The concert was postponed because the representative from VOX, who traveled with them on this tour, told Brian Epstein that it was not safe for the Beatles to play.      The Beatles were said to have said that they didn't care about playing in the rain because the fans were there getting wet and wanted to see them.    Reportedly, Mal Evans got thrown across the stage when trying to plug something in and that was the last straw and Brian made the decision to postpone the show.      If you want to find out how all of that equipment was dried out,  this is all explained in my book Happiness is Seeing the Beatles:  Beatlemania in St. Louis  which you can order at

Something else I discovered from my book research that I will share here for the first time.    You know how Paul says in the Anthology that it was raining and the Beatles were in a big truck sliding around and he decided that the other three were right, and it was time to quite touring?    Paul always says that happened after the St. Louis show, however I am 95% certain that this happened on the night in Cincinnati that the Beatles did not perform.    They had to get out of the stadium that night to go back to the hotel.    From the eye witness reports I interviewed, most people recall the guys leaving in an "Armored truck" or "a big truck--sort of like UPS drives."    No one in St. Louis saw the Beatles leave in a truck.  Everyone, including the newspaper the next day, says they left in a car.      I am pretty sure Paul's experience of sliding around in the back of an empty truck in the rain happened in Cincinnati on August 20, 1966.       And I realize that it really doesn't matter WHERE  it happened, but being the big Beatle geek that I am, I was really thrilled to find out this information and if Mark Lewisohn wants to use this discovery in the next volume of "Tune In," he is welcomed to do so  (wink, wink).

Anyhow---the Beatles were stuck in the dressing room for two solid hours and they gave several interviews that night with local newspaper people, including this one:

Beatles?  They’re Pretty nice Blokes
By David Bracey
Cincinnati Enquirer
August 22, 1966

The Beatles are a pretty nice bunch of blokes.  You’ve just got to meet them under the right circumstances, that’s all.

After three years of chasing the Beatles around the country, a reporter becomes bloody fed up with the begging and scrounging to get near them.  For what?

But Saturday I found myself lounging in a dressing room at Crosley Field chatting with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Britain’s ballyhooed boys.

It was no press conference.  There was no pushing, shoving, snarling and needling questioning.  There were no cameras, cables or bodyguards.

John Lennon and George Harrison were tuning up.  Ringo was sitting on a chair staring into space and chewing pink bubble gum.

Paul McCartney was goofing around in a corner, having a put-on karate contest with one of the show staff.   I wandered up to Mr. McCartney, who chummily took a slash at me with the side of his hand, grinned and said, “Hello.”

Brian Epstein, the Beatles founder and owner, was sitting with his feet on a table reading a newspaper.

I wandered around having a word here and there, bummed a light off John Lennon, put away my notebook and talked about home.

The screaming fans were miles away.  I’d caught the boys—pardon the phrase—with their hair down.  The only thing missing was a cup of Mum’s tea.

These boys are millionaires.  There’s probably no person in the world ale to read who doesn’t know their names.  They have been honored by Queen Elizabeth II and criticized by heads of government.  But suddenly they were four ordinary lads from Liverpool talking about ordinary things in familiar Liverpool accents.

John Lennon talked about his much-publicized remarks on the Beatles being more popular than Christianity.  He was a bit cagey, but he admitted, “I said just what was printed in the article.  I just used ‘Beatles’ as the word.  I could have said rock n roll or TV or Cary Grant.”  But that was all he would allow on the subject.

Paul McCartney, leaning against a wall said, “the uproar appeared because of what people thought John was saying.  They thought he was saying something offensive.  If they’d had the common sense to read the whole thing… He was speaking for Christianity rather than against it.”

“It’s one of those things that sorted a lot of our fans out.  All those people who are still our fans have bothered to think about the thing rather than just blasted off suddenly.”

The Lennon Christianity controversy has not blasted the Beatles out of the popularity orbit, but where do they go now?

Mr. McCartney said they realized they couldn’t go on forever barnstorming the world.  So they will keep it up until something happens.   Meantime another movie is being written for them and there is talk of a Broadway Show.

Mr. McCartney, the only remaining bachelor Beatle, mused about the animosity they have run into.  “You know, people come along with a pre-conceived idea.  The people who really listen to us, you can talk to.”

It’s Mr. McCartney and John Lennon who write the lyrics for their songs.  Mr. Lennon often is dubbed “the intellectual Beatle” because of a couple of the humorous books he has written.
“John is not really an intellectual,” Mr. McCartney said.  “Neither is anyone us an intellectual Beatle.”

Ringo Starr is a nervous looking chap.  He has a very small face and his eyes seem too close 
together.  He’s an engaging charter, though he looks alarmed every time he’s asked a question.

“I don’t think what John said bothered the fans,” he said, “But we’ve lost audiences, you see, because their Mums and Dads pay for the tickets.”

I complained about the way the Beatles avoid their fans, many of whom are innocent kids who spend all their money to see the Beatles or to buy them presents.

“We don’t’ keep away, “he said.  “When we hit a town we have to conform with what the police want to do.  Actually, we’ve been less policed this year.”

And that was that with Ringo about Beatle business, other than an explanation as to how they live while they are on tour .  the answer is simple – like prisoners.  In England, Ringo said, he can go out on the town alone without being hounded by fans.

George Harrison, with the longest hair of the lot, talked about his interest in Indian music, Indian from India that is.

He is studying the “sitah”, a long, stringed instrument.  “I’m  interested in Indian music generally,” he said.  “I’m trying to learn a bit about it.”

“Westerners have a prejudice against Indian music.  You don’t know it, but the prejudice is born in you.”

And on and on he went on a tack like that.  More’s the pity that fans and the foes never meet the Beatles when their volume is turned down. 

No comments:

Post a Comment