Back on Aug. 29, 1966, the Beatles played what turned out to be their final stadium concert. It was at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. Local station KYA, which sponsored the original concert, will re-create the event on “The KYA Time Machine Live From Candlestick Aug. 29, 1966” at 9 p.m. Pacific time tonight at www.1260kya.com. (Full disclosure: Beatles Examiner Stan, aka me, will be among involved in the show. Hope you can tune in.)
Also on the bill at the Candlestick show besides the Beatles were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes.
Emcee for the show was station DJ Emperor Gene Nelson. Nelson described the scene that night.
“I was the MC and, as any (San Francisco) Giants fans will know, Candlestick Park in August at night was cold, foggy and windy. The funniest thing this night was one of the warm-up acts, Bobby Hebb. He stood up on the the stage at Candlestick Park with the fog and the wind blowing and he was singing ‘Sunny.’ It was tough anyway to work a ballpark as an MC, especially as the Beatles were taking their time to get out. I was trying to entertain a crowd that was shouting, ‘Beatles, Beatles, Beatles,'” he said.
Photographer Jim Marshall equated the scene to the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night.” “We drove round to the place and they wouldn’t let us in the first time. They finally let us in the center field gate and the ground’s keeper wouldn’t let them drive on the grass because he didn’t want his field chewed up with tire tracks.”
A reporter covering the show for the San Francisco Examiner newspaper wrote, “It was a little girl’s audience. They were little girls who were out there much to see Paul and Ringo, because they were cute and to hear the stuff of the Beatles’ new record that had just come out. But they played nothing from the new record. Everything they did had been done on every tour appearance around the world.”
Tony Barrow said Paul McCartney asked him to record the final show for posterity. He taped it holding the microphone up in the middle of the field.
“There was a certain amount of relief after the Candlestick Park concert,” George Harrison said. Barrow said that Harrison said later, “Well, that’s it. I’m finished. I’m not a Beatle anymore.”
“I don’t think anyone didn’t want to stop touring, but Paul would have gone on longer than George and I,” said Ringo Starr. “I was feeling such a bad musician and I was fed up playing the way I was playing. That was my criteria for ending it.”
“We’d done about 1,400 live shows and I certainly felt that was it,” said George Harrison. “I was thinking, ‘This is going to be such a relief — not to have to go through this madness anymore.”
Indeed, the Beatles looked forward to working in the studio.
“We’d been having more fun in the studio,” said Ringo, “as you can hear from ‘Revolver’ and ‘Rubber Soul.’ As it was building up, it was getting more experimental. We were starting to spend more time there and the songs were getting better and more interesting. Instead of being pulled out of the studio, we could now spend more time there and relax.”
What was to follow in the next few years blew everyone’s mind.
Sources for quotes: “The Beatles Anthology,” “Off the Record” by Keith Badman.
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Stan is the author of the Beatles Examiner (http://joltleft.com/x-2082-Beatles-Examiner), Paul McCartney Examiner (http://joltleft.com/x-34954-Paul-McCartney-Examiner), Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Examiner (http://joltleft.com/x-19248-Vintage-Rock-n-Roll-Examiner) and TV on DVD Examiner columns on joltleft.com (http://joltleft.com/x-10254-TV-on-DVD-Examiner).
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