There’s only a few things that I love as much as baseball. Cinema and music are two of them. If there was one concert which I could have had the privilege of attending it would have been the Beatles concert at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, August 28, 1966 at 8:00 pm. The Beatles are my all-time favorite band. I even took a Beatles course in college (yes, that in fact exists). A couple lesser known ska bands, Goldfinger and The Toasters, are also on my permanent soundtrack of life. Yet the music of the Beatles influenced those bands and most other musicians to follow. The Fab Four are forever the quintessential boy band. A Day in the Life is my favorite Beatles song, and I have fond memories of listening to my mother’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album on my record player over and over again in high school. It almost sounded better than the CD version I listen to today. Perhaps I am a bit of a flower child at heart.
One of the most memorable moments of Dodger Stadium history through its 50 years is the Beatles concert, which would be the band’s second to last concert. 45,000 fans gathered at Dodger Stadium to experience the British quartet of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr play a 30-minute set featuring 11 songs. The brief set included: Rock And Roll Music, She’s A Woman, If I Needed Someone, Day Tripper, Baby’s In Black, I Feel Fine, Yesterday, I Wanna Be Your Man, Nowhere Man, Paperback Writer and Long Tall Sally. The screaming fans, who consisted mostly of teenage girls, made it difficult to hear the music. It has been said that the screaming could be heard all the way down to Sunset Blvd. Dodger Stadium was the Beatles’ 13th stop on their 14-city North America Concert Tour in 1966. The night of the concert the Dodgers were playing the first place Giants in San Francisco.
Bob Eubanks, future Newlywed Game host and Rose Parade emcee, was the concert promoter. He paid the band $120,000 for their half hour show. Tickets to the concert cost $3, $4.50, $5.50 and $6 for loge or field level seats. Walter O’ Malley reserved the Club Level of the stadium for season ticket holders. The opening acts were the Ronettes, Bobby Hebb, the Remains, and the Cyrkle.
The planning and logistics involved with this first ever concert at Dodger Stadium took months. Many preparations had to be made to contain the Beatlemanics. The fire department allowed a 8-foot chain link fence to be erected around the entire field. The blue and white 6-foot stage was set up at second base.
Allowing for a quick and safe exit for the band was of the highest concern. The original plan to drive the Beatles off in limos through opening gates in center field didn’t work amongst the chaos and climbing fans, so they instead turned the limos around and they retreated back to the dugout and the team’s dressing room.
“Lennon was furious. Just furious,” Eubanks said. “They wanted to go to a party. It got nasty, it really did.”
Security got them out by covering them with blankets and putting them in an ambulance, and they exited Scott Avenue. The Beatles then had to be transferred to a Brink’s truck when the ambulance overheated after its radiator fell out when it hit a speed bump in the parking lot as the driver was trying to steer clear of the mob. Dozens of fans were injured, and 25 were arrested. There was a large amount of people who stayed lingering at Dodger Stadium well after the concert had ended..
The Beatles went on to conclude their tour at Candlestick Park the next night. This would be their last live public concert they would play together.
What a magical summer night in Los Angeles August 28,1966 must have been.
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