Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sell Out

by Billy Shepherd and Johnny Dean

The tour? Let's deal with that with the obvious statement that it was a complete sell-out from the opening date at Glasgow to the last at Cardiff. With the Moody Blues and Beryl Marsden also on the show, the Beatles barnstormed the country. As ever, if you wanted to hear much of the music you had to sit in the dress circle. The stalls, everywhere they visited, was an absolute bedlam of noise and the bouncers and police had a terrible job trying to prevent audiences from getting too boisterous. One journalist told us there had been three hundred cases of fainting in the audience at the two London dates alone. No wonder the Beatles invited some of the St. John Ambulance folk in for a back-stage chat. . . .

Of course there were last-minute hitches--they're unavoidable on a hectic tour like this. But what impressed us all over again was the incredible team-work that went on with the Beatles. Thelimousine driver, the road-managers, everybody kicked in to prevent real trouble. Like at Birmingham where the boys ran into a pea-souper fog and arrived at the theatre some ten minutes after they were due on stage.

This could have been disastrous with a packed audience yelling for the Beatles. So the compere strung out his introduction, the Moody Blues made their act longer and the theatre management arranged to have two intervals instead of one. When the boys finally made it, there was their stage gear, including boots, neatly laid out on the side of the stage by the other equipment.

And so on to Christmas, when the boys managed to get a bit of a break. It was their first non-working Christmas in five years and Ringo specially was looking forward to the break with his baby Zak and Maureen. He stocked up with presents early--but the others left it to the last-minute. Incidentally John told us that he'd made anti-carol singer fortifications round his house. He said with a grin: "I used to go carolling myself, believe it or not. But I was a proper little robber and I've gone off the scene now."

George spent part of the time in Liverpool and part in London on the hectic round of parties. Paul also went to most of the big parties.

Another year of triumph came to an end. People were already wondering what 1966 could possibly bring for the boys. Come to that, the boys themselves were wondering.

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