The Paul McCartney Project

Cincinnati • Thursday, August 27, 1964

ConcertBy The Beatles • Part of the Summer 1964 US & Canada Tour
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Cincinnati Gardens

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From, June 4, 2015:

The long wait was over! Thousands of teenagers converged on Cincinnati Gardens 50 years ago to see the Beatles on Aug. 27, 1964.

They came in station wagons and sedans driven by the fathers or mothers. Some rode a city bus to see the four Liverpool lads they watched on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February that year.

They came in station wagons and sedans driven by the fathers or mothers. Some rode a city bus to see the four Liverpool lads they watched on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February that year.

Most were teenage girls experiencing a seminal coming of age moment: their first rock concert.

“It was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable nights of my life,” said Sallie Mullinger, a 13-year-old from Mount Lookout back then.

They brought hand-drawn signs. They stood and screamed. Some fainted in the heat estimated at 115 degrees.

Few actually heard the lyrics from Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison or Ringo Starr, who did a dozen songs in about 28 minutes.

“Once the Beatles came romping out, it was complete pandemonium. You could barely hear the music in the distance, as the screaming was so loud that it just pierced your ears,” said Nancy Pelzel, then a 15-year-old from White Oak.

“Everyone stood up so you couldn’t see at all. Then everyone stood on their chairs,” said Shirly Chaney of Union, a 16-year-old Boone County High School student in 1964. “We spent the entire concert standing on folding chairs with our ears covered. But it was all worth it to say we saw the Beatles.”

“I took my binoculars. Except you can’t see anything with them if you’re screaming,” said Karen Hughes of Over-the-Rhine, who attended as a 12-year-old with her cousin, 13, and brother, 15. “I had to stop screaming long enough to get a good look, then pass them to my cousin or brother, and then join everyone else at the Gardens screaming again.”

Tickets sold out quickly after the Beatles’ managers on April 10 accepted an offer from WSAI-AM DJs to play the Gardens for $25,000 during their first North American tour. Each of the five DJs – Dusty Rhodes, Paul Purtan, Mark Edwards, Steve Kirk and “Skinny” Bobby Harper – put up $5,000.

Rhodes, now Hamilton County auditor, wasn’t surprised tickets, ranging from $2.75 to a whopping $5.50, vanished instantly. More than $30,000 in ticket requests were returned.

“We put on ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ in early January, and it just exploded,” said Rhodes, who started the “Dusty Rhodes’ Beatles Boosters, North America’s First Beatles Fan Club” in mid-January. By the time the Beatles played “Ed Sullivan” on Feb. 9, he had mailed out more than 1,000 cards to WSAI-AM listeners.

Rhonda Patrick Toich’s mother took special precautions to protect her $4.75 Beatles ticket.

“Mom made me put my ticket in the freezer, so if the house burned down it would still be safe,” said Toich, who was a 14-year-old Colerain Junior High School student then. The ticket is long gone – but she still has the swatch of Ringo’s shirt she won through a contest in WSAI-AM’s 1964 “The Beatles in Cincinnati” souvenir booklet printed after the concert.

“I am now a 64-year-old grandma, but it seems like yesterday,” she said.

Many arrived early to catch a glimpse of the Beatles. Carol Lowe of Reading was with a group of five 13-year-old girls who ran to the back of the Gardens when their limo arrived.

“Paul waved!” said Lowe, who still has her Beatles scrapbook, vinyl record albums, Beatles bubblegum trading cards and tickets to their Gardens ($4.50) and 1966 Crosley Field shows ($5.50). “My sons are quite impressed that their mom saw the Beatles perform twice,” she said.

When Kathy Ellerman and her two friends saw their $4 seats in the far top of the arena, the 17-year-old Our Lady of Angels High School junior showed her reporter’s press card for the old “Cincy Hi-Life” teen magazine to a security guard. He pointed to the press section “directly behind the stage, and we hurried there and took seats in the first row,” said the Western Hills resident.

“We were so close, and it didn’t matter that we were blinded by all the flash bulbs going off in front of us and made deaf by the screaming – because we were screaming just as loud,” she said.

At 8 p.m., the show opened with the Bill Black Combo, followed by The Exciters. Then came the Righteous Brothers singing “Little Latin Lupe Lu.” Nobody cared. The duo was unknown, a year before hitting the charts with “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” Jackie DeShannon followed them on stage.

“Had we not been so Beatle-crazy, we might actually have enjoyed the opening acts,” said Rose Slezak Huber of Maineville, whose father drove eight kids from Middletown in a Dodge station wagon to the concert. […]

From Twitter – OTD 27AUG1964 @thebeatles #CincinnatiGardens
“Once the Beatles came romping out, it was complete pandemonium.”
From Twitter – OTD 27AUG1964 @thebeatles #CincinnatiGardens
“Once the Beatles came romping out, it was complete pandemonium.”

Last updated on April 13, 2019

Cincinnati Gardens

This was the 1st and only concert played at Cincinnati Gardens.


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