That adage “I may be old but I got to see all the cool bands” is a t-shirt that I should buy as I can stand up to its claim. My first concert ever was as one of the fanatical 55,000 fans who saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium in August of 1965. Yes, long before my affection for Clapton and Glenn Frye tore at my heart, I was a starstruck, teenage Beatlemaniac. They had me at “She Loves You, yeah, yeah, yeah”.
Typical of me, I always went for the underrated but forward thinking kind. My Beatle was George. Although the quiet type, when he went out on his own, he made beautiful music that haunts me with his memory.
But getting back to the concert, yes as reported, it was the first stadium concert ever. Their passionate followers, mostly girls (if there were boys there, they were very under-represented), who during their entire set screamed the names of their heart throb Beatle favorite (mostly Paul) or just screamed and cried. The band was staged at second base out of reach from the crazies who attempted to run across the field to caress them. They could have played anything or nothing and that would have been fine. Sounds crazy to go to a concert where you couldn’t see or hear the band, but we were there sharing space and time with the greatest band in the world and that was enough.
The playlist consisted of just 12 songs which, allowing for some banter in-between, meant that the Beatles stage time was a little more than 1 hour long. They had a few opening acts none of whom I remember. The entire concert lasted about 2 hours. Given that the cost of a field level seat tickets was $5.65, I’d say we got our money’s worth. And frankly, my attention span didn’t hold me in a seat for more than 2 hours then and most certainly doesn’t now (I probably would have walked out on the Bruce – sorry fans).
Although you can barely make them out in the photo above, my cousin, who was with me at both gigs, took the picture of their 1965 concert on the far left along with the first concert Paul McCartney performed in the newly renovated and renamed Citi Field in 2009. It was nostalgic to have at least one of them back in the stadium where, thanks to the advancements in entertainment technology, I could hear and see him. Sir Paul was great and it was so worth today’s price of a ticket. I wish I had seen George before he died but I missed out on that one. Still, seeing Paul come back to the place where it all started for me, well you can’t get better.