10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Beatles’ 1966 Show at East Boston's Suffolk Downs

August 21, 2016

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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