Saturday, December 27, 2008

September 5, 1964 - International Amphitheater, Chicago

Taped: Saturday 5 September 1964

There had been plans for a civic welcome and 100,000 people were expected but Special Events Director Colonel Jack Reilly canceled the arrangements saying he did not have sufficient police to spare "for a bunch of singers". Paul commented on TV and radio, "So we shall have to go in by the back door again and the fans won't get a chance to see us or we to see them. It's a great big drag."

Nonetheless Chicago was ready for The Beatles. The Andy Frain Organisation sent ten of its ushers to The Beatles' concert the previous night in Milwaukee to scout the tactics of The Beatles' fans, and the 170 ushers and 35 usherettes were specially selected as being non-Beatles fans so that they would not succumb to the hysteria. Stationed around the auditorium were 320 Chicago cops. One of them, patrolman Anthony Dizonne, remembered the Frank Sinatra days. "This is kind of like Sinatra multiplied by 50 or 100," he observed. "These Beatles make about fifty million bucks a year and they don't even have to buy a haircut in this country."

The Beatles' plane flew into the rarely used Midway Airport an hour late. They were due at 3.40pm but by the time they arrived over 5,000 fans were waiting for them. The girls were kept behind a chain-link fence as the group were bundled into a long black limousine and roared off to the Stock Yard Inn attached to the amphitheater at 42nd Street and Halsted. The crowds outside were so thick that the group had to enter through the kitchens. The Chicago Sun-Times reported only one casualty at the airport, a 14-year-old girl who was treated for a cut finger.

At the concert, fans were frisked and all large signs confiscated because they would block the view for others. Jelly beans, candy kisses and anything else that the fans were likely to throw at the group were also confiscated. Despite this, Paul was hit in the face by a spent flashbulb.

After the show half a dozen fans were taken to Evangelical Hospital in various states of emotional and physical exhaustion. One girl was poked in the eye but left the ambulance to rejoin the audience.

After the show, they hurried into waiting cars and drove straight back to the airport where they flew on to Detroit. A police guard was mounted on their hotel room to prevent fans from tearing it apart for souvenirs.


Anonymous said...

I sat in row 3 at the 1964 Beatles concert in Chicago. If anyone was frisked for jelly beans, the methods could not have been very effective. There were jelly beans flying through the air while The Beatles sang, and after the concert, the stage and surrounding area was littered with thousands of jelly beans.

Anonymous said...

I was there also and still have the program with ALL 4 signatures under their pictures.

Anonymous said...

I was there as well. still have my program but strangely the names under the pictures of the Beatles are switched, i.e., John's name under Paul's picture, etc. I have never seen one like it. Went in with my two buddies, we were the only guys on a bus full of girl scouts from Freeport Illinois. It was pure pandemonium.

katchic2004 said...

Does anyone remember who the opening acts were?