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From The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 22, 2015:
It was an undeniably historic event when The Beatles performed their only San Diego concert, 50 years ago this week. It was also a fluke.
The show, which took place on Aug. 28, 1965, at Balboa Stadium, was not even on the band’s original itinerary. A last-minute addition to their North American summer tour, the date here was belatedly shoehorned in before the legendary Fab Four’s Aug. 29 and 30 shows at the Hollywood Bowl.
That didn’t make the Balboa Stadium concert any less memorable for the loudly ecstatic fans here, who got to witness what is still the most important and influential band in rock ’n’ roll history. But only 17,013 of the 27,014 available tickets were bought. Consequently, The Beatles earned $50,135.17, just $135.17 more than the $50,000 they’d been guaranteed, in advance, for their performance here.
“The stadium wasn’t full, but — for San Diego — that was a huge crowd back then,” recalled veteran drummer Randy Hoffman, 64, who is now Palomar College’s publicity coordinator for the performing arts.
“It was sort of a shock that they played here at all. And it was enormously significant for people our age, who were experiencing this new explosion of music. It will always remain one of the pinnacle events of rock history in San Diego. The Beatles were superstars when they came here. The first time the Rolling Stones came here (in late 1964), they drew 200 people.”
[…] For those who did go, it was an opportunity to experience firsthand a band that — like no other before or since — transformed popular music and culture. It was, however, a fleeting performance.
The Beatles ripped through 12 songs in just 31 minutes, opening with their version of the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout” and concluding with the band’s driving rocker, “I’m Down.” Brief though their performance may have been, it was historic for several reasons.
This held true regardless of the lukewarm review in the San Diego Union, which began: “The sound worse than death roared in Balboa Stadium last night but it really wasn’t as bad as all that…Two years ago it was the new sound, the thump music with a beat from down under. Last night, the sound was as good — or as bad (depending on your viewpoint) — as ever.” […]
Not only was this the first rock concert to be held at Balboa Stadium, it was part of the first stadium tour by any rock band. While attendance was considerably larger at other stadium dates on the Beatles’ 1965 concert trek, only the tour-opening show on Aug. 15 at New York’s Shea Stadium (attended by more than 50,000 fans) sold out. As was the case at virtually all of their performances, the constant roar of the crowd was often louder than the band.
“The screaming was incredibly loud,” recalled San Diego’s Linda Tonnesen.
“I was able to move from the upper level to the lower level at Balboa Stadium, and it just got louder. The noise, the music, and the experience of being at a Beatles concert was nothing any of us had experienced before. I was also so vain that I refused to wear my glasses, so I couldn’t see them too well either!” […]
“When The Beatles came on at Balboa Stadium, this big roar started — and it wouldn’t stop,” said Salmon, who was then a senior at Chula Vista High School and now heads Come Together, a 23-year-old Beatles fans club.
“I can still hear that roar from the concert. It’s something I’ll never forget. Girls were crying and screaming; I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again. I don’t remember the music, because I didn’t hear it, but it was magic!
“The Beatles came to America soon after President Kennedy had been assassinated. There was all this turmoil in the world, and they came at exactly the right time to bring us up. Our generation wanted something of our own, and The Beatles stayed with us. … They were part of our family; they’ve always been part of my family. They were ours, and who would think — 50 years later — we’d still be talking about them?” […]
Last updated on April 17, 2019
This was the 1st and only concert played at Balboa Stadium.