August 31, 2016

"I had a sense that it was this intense adventure story. I equated it to Apollo 13 or even Das Boot."

"They lived through this incredibly intense period, where they’re under all this scrutiny, all this pressure. The logistics are wild and, in some instances, a little threatening to their health and well-being. Out of necessity, they’re inventing the stadium concert tour. It was because the police kept saying, 'If you play a place that holds 8,000 people, it means we’re going to have 38,000 people outside. You’ve got to play in bigger places.' So they sort of invented the arena tour before technology could support it, really."

Said the movie director Ron Howard, who has a new documentary, "8 Days a Week," about The Beatles in their years of touring and performing live. 

It was 50 years ago Monday that The Beatles played their last live concert — last official concert — a mere 30 minutes, crammed with 11 songs and constant fan screaming. It was in San Francisco, in Candlestick Park. The last song was a cover song, Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”

They did play an additional concert, on a rooftop in 1969, as seen in the movie "Let It Be," which isn't available on DVD, not officially.

29 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm glad to hear it's Ron Howard doing this and not Ken Burns.

Brando said...

If all you're going to hear is other fans screaming, sort of defeats the purpose of going to see a band live.

I wonder what sort of money the Beatles made with their performances--these days it seems bands make far more out of concerts than they do with record sales. For them to quit at the height of their popularity the money must not have been good enough back then.

traditionalguy said...

Great memories. I recall spending some time in San Francisco three weeks before that concert, and it was windy and cold to me. The music was magical in 1966.

damikesc said...

If all you're going to hear is other fans screaming, sort of defeats the purpose of going to see a band live.

Wasn't that the reason they gave for stopping touring? Because it was pointless as all you heard was screaming from the crowd.

Ann Althouse said...

It was back before they figured out how to set up audio equipment to overcome the noise. It was just assumed everyone would scream and keep screaming for the entire concert. It was more of an ecstatic experience, with people overwhelmed to be in the presence of the idols.

Ann Althouse said...

The movie could be good. It follows the trajectory of the concerts, beginning with small clubs. The problems of performing in different size venues, with differing degrees of fan interest, and (presumably) the narrative arc is that they got bigger and better but really it was getting terrible.

Brando said...

"It was back before they figured out how to set up audio equipment to overcome the noise. It was just assumed everyone would scream and keep screaming for the entire concert. It was more of an ecstatic experience, with people overwhelmed to be in the presence of the idols."

I guess in that sense for the fans the concert wasn't even about the Beatles, it was about being part of a screaming mass. Then they could go and tell people for the rest of their lives they were part of a screaming mob, and the Beatles may have been there too.

Good for the Beatles putting an end to that if that was their reason--file it under "this is why we can't have nice things."

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Here's a delightful clip from just the other day: Vin Scully, who has been calling Dodger games for more than 65 years describing the Beatles penultimate concert at Dodger Stadium.

virgil xenophon said...

I was stationed in the UK when they did that live (on BBCTV) rooftop performance in B&W. Was not impressed...perhaps one had to be there..

Fernandinande said...

Out of necessity, they’re inventing the stadium concert tour.

A different take here: "The birth of arena rock".
"So when the Stones announced their first jaunt round the States since 1966, they decided to do it properly."

David said...

Ann Althouse said...
The movie could be good.

Ron Howard directing increases the odds. He's good.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Maybe the Beatles stopped performing live when they realized all four had to play their instruments and there was no one left over to prance around on stage, back and forth in front of the audience.

And now I'm sort of curious to know who invented the two-rock-musicians-on-stage-posing-back-to-back-for-the-camera.

Somebody thought of that.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Brando said: If all you're going to hear is other fans screaming, sort of defeats the purpose of going to see a band live.

Exactly. 50 years ago, I was 16 and lived in the Bay Area. My parents worked at one of the major newspapers and told me that I could go to the concert, that they would have the ability to get me tickets and a good "seat". I said. Thanks but no thanks. I didn't want to be around all those screaming ninnies and if I wanted to actually be able to hear the Beatles (I didn't really because I didn't care for their music at that time....still don't) I would buy a record.

I thanked them very much for the offer and was appreciative that they went to the trouble and thought about me. They are/were great parents. A bit later, they got me and a then boyfriend front center seats in SF for a performance of Hair...the musical. That was very very cool!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

damikesc said...

Wasn't that the reason they gave for stopping touring? Because it was pointless as all you heard was screaming from the crowd.

I'm sure that didn't help. It was the Revolver album ended touring; the music was too complicated for them to reproduce live.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the Revolver album ended touring; the music was too complicated

The Beatles did get a bit better as time went on IMO, but they still were not my genre of music or very appealing to me. There are a few songs that they did that resonate with me, and those are not the most popular ones.

The rest....stuff they did because they could and the idolized fans would uncritically lap it up. Yellow Submarine comes to mind here. Yuck. It was like....let's make the most stupid repetitive song about nothing and see what happens....LOL at our fans.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Maybe the Beatles stopped touring because they were so famous that they could stay put and the groupies would come to them.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
Maybe the Beatles stopped performing live when they realized all four had to play their instruments and there was no one left over to prance around on stage, back and forth in front of the audience.
**************

When did the Beatles ***ever*** prance around the stage?

When did they ever ***not*** want to play their instruments?





Sam L. said...

It inspired "The Rutles" movie.

Sam L. said...

I went to the first Beatles movie, had the misfortune to have three crazed girls screaming right behind me.

Sigivald said...

"Paul McCartney had a band before Wings?"

Brando said...

"Exactly. 50 years ago, I was 16 and lived in the Bay Area. My parents worked at one of the major newspapers and told me that I could go to the concert, that they would have the ability to get me tickets and a good "seat". I said. Thanks but no thanks. I didn't want to be around all those screaming ninnies and if I wanted to actually be able to hear the Beatles (I didn't really because I didn't care for their music at that time....still don't) I would buy a record."

Watching the footage of the screaming fans I can't help but think "I know you're excited to see a band you idolize, but is there no part of you considerate enough of others that can control yourself long enough to let them hear the band?"

Doug said...

David said Ron Howard directing increases the odds. He's good.

Ron Howard is a dreadful director, and his films are sodden, hulking messes - with the possible exceptions of "Cinderella Man" and "A Beautiful Mind".

SukieTawdry said...

I had friends who attended the '65 concert at Shea Stadium. They were in nosebleed seats and said they heard not a single note of music. But, hey, they were there.

Doug said...

Eric the Fruitbat said: I'm glad to hear it's Ron Howard doing this and not Ken Burns.

Ron Howard's a hack - too bad it wasn't helmed by Errol Morris. Or the late, great Maysles Brothers.

SukieTawdry said...

Really, Doug? Night Shift, Missing, Apollo 13, Cocoon, Splash were sodden, hulking messes??

Mark said...

All that crowd noise would make you want to build a wall between you and them, I would think.

eddie willers said...

On August 18, 1965 (I did not have to Google that. It is a date I will never forget) the Beatles played the 'new' Atlanta Stadium. The tickets were $5.50 lower level, $4.50 for the upper.

YouTube has a recording from that night. What makes it superior to most is that, on that night, they hired local stereo store, Baker Audio, to do sound. What made the difference is that Baker did something unique: They turned two speakers back to the stage (inventing monitors) and the Beatles could actually hear themselves! They were shocked, surprised, and, as a result, in tune! Some great harmonizing. From the article accompaning the video:

By 1965 The Beatles had become used to being unable to hear themselves play. FB 'Duke' Mewborn, the boss of Atlanta hi-fi store Baker Audio, decided to give the group something that had never been done before: monitor speakers on the stage, pointing towards the group, to allow them to hear their voices and instruments.

It wasn't just on stage that the sound was different. The state-of-the-art setup on the field included four Altec 1570 amplifiers, each giving 175 watts of sound, which in turn powered two stacks of Altec A7 speakers. Although unremarkable today, in 1965 it was an unheard of amount of power for a pop concert.

The difference was noted from the stage, with Paul McCartney exclaiming after She's A Woman: "It's loud, isn't it? Great!"

Being able to hear themselves enabled The Beatles to play tighter than usual, and they were delighted with the results. Afterwards Brian Epstein suggested that Mewborn deal with the sound for their other shows, but the offer was turned down.


Beatles: Atlanta Stadium

Doug said...

Sukie Tawdry - really. The films you named were overhyped when they were released and they haven't aged well. Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood have the most undeserved directorial reputations in the industry. Neither one knows how to tell a compelling story.

Anthony said...

Candlestick Park is no more. It's been demolished to put up condos. It was a lousy ballpark -cold and windy. People would bring coats and blankets in August.