The Beatles played one of the most unusual live shows
in their history on August 18, 1966
when they performed on a custom stage
in the middle of Boston’s famed racetrack originally built for horses.
Below is some Raw Footage of
- The Beatles' Arrival at Logan Airport
- On stage performance at Suffolk Downs Racetrack
in East Boston, Massachusetts on August 18th of 1966.
"I personally, did not have a ticket to the concert,
but got to listen to The Beatles' very short live performance
in its entirety from the back service road of the racetrack.
Only being 15 years old at the time,
it was my older brother’s great idea who drove and had his own car
for us to take a ride from my aunt’s home in Revere minutes away
where we were on our annual summer vacation at Boston's North Shore down to the racetrack.
It was dark back there,
and only a few cars carrying Beatles fans had the same idea.
Maybe, there was only a dozen of us.
Fortunately, the wind was blowing in our direction
which helped carry the music to us.
I even climbed a telephone pole
attempting to get a glimpse of my rock and roll heros."
--- Bobby Corcione
The Beatles had established themselves as cultural icons by that day,
and had just begun to prove themselves as great artists
with the release of their 'Revolver' album just two weeks prior.
Here are 10 interesting things to know
about this must-know performance for any Beatles fan...
1) The band wore matching green suits
The abundance of black-and-white photos of the Beatles in the ’60s
doesn’t tell the whole story of the band’s distinctive look.
You’d assume they always treated concerts like a black-tie affair
from the photographic evidence,
but they actually liked to have fun with their matching suits.
The band wore “matching iridescent green suits with black velvet collars
to the performance adding a bit of visual flair
to the sounds of classic songs and screaming fans
The visuals didn’t really matter a lot at the show, because…
2) The stage was set 100 yards away from the fans
Presumably unwilling to mess up the dirt
on the actual racetrack at Suffolk Downs,
organizers had the Beatles’ stage set up
in the center of the racing area
which made it almost the length of a football field
between the band and the fans.
The idea might have also been to prevent or discourage
fans from charging the stage and trying to physically touch the band
That also ultimately didn’t matter, because…
3) One female fan managed
to get through security to the stage
The one lucky fan
who was able to literally grab a hold of George Harrison
while the Beatles performed
was just one person out of many who rushed the stage
from the bleachers 100 yards away.
She was the one fan security couldn’t intercept.
4) The most expensive ticket cost $5.75
Easily the best five bucks everyone in the crowd ever spent.
Granted, five dollars was a lot more money back in 1966 than it is now.
when looking at concerts in past decades
it’s still one of the easiest details to laugh at
and one of the easiest things for people to regret
if back in the day they said, “Nope – too expensive”.
5) The band got escorted to the stage via limousine
The fans got amped and danced about during the opening acts
but the deafening roars of the crowd
didn’t happen until the Beatles took the stage.
In typical superstar fashion
they didn’t just walk up to the stage.
They drove up in a limousine
as if nobody was going to know who was in there.
6) About 25,000 fans attended the show
The attendance number was almost twice the amount of fans
who attended the band’s 1964 concert at the Boston Garden.
It stands as one of the most-attended Beatles shows in their history.
The non-traditional nature of the venue
certainly helped the attendance figures
like Shea Stadium did in 1965.
7) Paul’s bass amp almost broke during the show
Paul McCartney had been performing with a bass
without a pick guard for some time prior to the show
and then during the opening acts his bass amp almost broke.
There was a Vox rep on the whole tour
and he managed to fix the amp in time
for when the Beatles came on.
8) The set barely lasted half an hour
The 11-song set fell within the range of half an hour.
The Beatles worked in the original hits
like Day Tripper, Paperback Writer and Yesterday,
but their set is also worth noting because…
9) They opened and closed the show
with two cover songs – and played zero Revolver tracks
This wasn’t the first (nor last) time
The Beatles performed their covers
of Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music”
or Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally”.
In the case of this show, the two covers book-ended the set list.
Perhaps most notably,
the Beatles didn’t play a single track from Revolver
which had been released earlier that month.
Much of the set came from the band’s previous two releases
'Yesterday and Today' and 'Rubber Soul'.
10) Opening acts included Motown legends The Ronettes
were a notable supporting act for the Beatles in the mid-’60s
because they were established stars
and ended up being the only girl group to ever tour with the band.