Chicago • Friday, August 12, 1966 • 3pm show

ConcertBy The Beatles • Part of the Summer 1966 US tour
See all concerts in USA on the map
International Amphitheatre
$136,000 for the two concerts

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Radio interview for WCFL

Aug 12, 1966 • From WCFL

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Flying from London via Boston, The Beatles landed on August 11, 1966, at 4:55 pm in Chicago. They were brought to the Astor Tower Hotel, where the group was staying that night and where a press conference was hastily arranged

On this day, August 12, The Beatles participated in a second press conference, and played the two first concerts of their 1966 US tour, in Chicago. The first one took place at 3 pm, and the second one at 7:30 pm. Each concert was seen by 13,000 people.

The support acts for the entire tour were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle, and The Ronettes.

In Chicago we were sitting behind and to the right of the stage, and the roar was deafening. For at least fifteen minutes after the show, our ears were ringing and our eyes were still seeing exploding flashbulbs. It’s a wonder The Beatles can see or hear at all after going through that so often.

Between the two Chicago performances, there was a “taping session” in the boys’ room (Throughout the tour they were referred to collectively as “the boys”). This was my first person-to-person contact, except for the timid elevator episode; so, I’m sure that I’ll be forgiven if I didn’t get the most accurate notes in the world. There were no formal introductions — most of the press party had been on last year’s tour, so they just picked up where they had left off, and everyone sort of wandered around from Beatle to Beatle, tape recorders whirring away. Ringo was sitting cross-legged on a couch in front of a coffee table piled high with gifts from fans (Gifts were everywhere.). George was stretched out on another couch; John was seated behind a desk; and Paul was on a chair near the desk. They were surrounded by tape recorders, and the whole thing was most informal. The rule followed for taping sessions was, grab the closest Beatle and talk into the microphone, except that several people usually converged on one Beatle at a time. It made for some very interesting tapes!

Both Chicago concerts were a bit of a success (rather!).

Judith Sims – From TeenSet Magazine – Quoted in “Ticket To ride – The Extraordinary Diary of The Beatles’ Last Tour” by Barry Tashian

From The Beatles performon stage at Chicago International Amphitheatre,… News Photo – Getty Images – (MANDATORY CREDIT Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images) The Beatles performon stage at Chicago International Amphitheatre, August 12, 1966. (Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)
From Beatles International Amphitheatre, Chicago, August 12, 1966 | Lot #89220 | Heritage Auctions (


FROM facts supplied by NME correspondents in America, we have compiled a Beatles diary. Below is our impression of how the Beatles themselves might write down their day-to-day events…

[…] FRIDAY, August 12: Our first two shows on the fourth tour, at the 13,000-capacity Chicago Amphitheatre, were both sell-outs. We enjoyed them. Great audience response… wilder, louder, more joyful if anything. Like PAUL forecast: the usual rave-up! And more American dollars for Britain from the gross of about $140,000. Helping to Mend Britain’s Emergency ! […]

From New Musical Express – August 19, 1966
From New Musical Express – August 19, 1966

Beatles’ Chicago concert is a screaming success

“We luv you more than ever.” said a huge sign on the balcony of the International Amphitheatre in Chicago last night.

The Beatles were making their first appearance of an American tour promising to be controversial. More than 6,000 noisy young fans screamed approval of the Merseyside group throughout their two Chicago performances. Sellout crowds estimated at 13,000 were there. An ambulance crew issued cotton wool to police for ear plugs—to shut out the piercing noise of the high-pitched yells. A spokesman said that both sell-out performances would gross £48,570.

In Birmingham, Alabama, Tommy Charles, the disc Jockey who started, the Beatles ban, said his station has accepted John Lennon’s apology for his controversial statement about Jesus Christ “We have called off our planned destruction of the Beatle records and other things we have collected,” Next stop for the Beatles is the car city of Detroit, where the situation is normal — pure Bedlam.

From Evening Post – August 13, 1966
From Evening Post – August 13, 1966

Forgiving Fans Cheer For Beatles

CHICAGO (UPI) – Those shaggy Beatles from Britain made their 1966 American debut Friday before an all-but-packed house filled with worshipful teen-age fans anxious to forgive John Lennon’s venture into theology.

There appeared to be no hard feelings over Lennon’s statement that the Beatles are “more popular than Jesus.” Beatle Lennon said Thursday night upon his arrival in Chicago that he was sorry he ever said it and that he had merely meant to deplore the decline in the popularity of religion.

Wendy Platt, 16, of Plainwell, Mich., said, “I think it’s the truth. The Beatles are more popular than Jesus. There are a lot of girls who would rather go to a Beatle conference than see some famous minister.”

Many of the Beatle fans, who swarmed into the amphitheatre to fill all but a few seats high in the balcony, bought pennants proclaiming, “I love the Beatles.”

Two girls wore sandwich boards. One was inscribed, “I love Paul,” the other, “I love Ringo.” On the back of each board was “I’m buggy for the Beatles.”

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, Ala., radio station WAQY announced it has called off its Beatles ban.

From The Morning Call – August 13, 1966
From The Morning Call – August 13, 1966

Rough Assignment

CHICAGO — One of the policemen protecting the Beatles from fans during their opening performance at lnternational Amphitheater in Chicago plugs his ears against the screams of the audience. The opening performance yesterday drew 13,000 fans. — AP Wirephoto.


CHICAGO (AP) — Beatle fans shrieked their undiminished devotion through two ear-splitting concerts yesterday, drowning out any idea of censure for the English quartet.

“We luv you more than ever,” read one sign hanging from the balcony of the International Amphitheater where more than 26,000 fans watched the Beatles during the two sellout performances.

It was the quartet’s first stop on an American tour and its first appearance since the publication of John Lennon’s remarks that the Beatles “are more popular than Jesus” and that “Christianity will go.”

“Say what you think, John,” read another sign, in obvious disapproval of the boycotts and bonfires stirred up by publication of the remarks in a teen magazine.

In Birmingham, the instigator of the Beatles ban, Tommy Charles, Station WAQY’s co-manager, called off the campaign because of Lennon’s apology Thursday night. Lennon told a news conference: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry I said it, really. I never meant it as a lousy, antireligious thing.”

The two Chicago performances grossed $136,000, said a spokesman for the sponsoring agency.

About 180 policemen were equipped with cotton for their ears and switches “to spank naughty kids.” The cotton was used but the switches weren’t.

From The Indianapolis News – August 13, 1966
From The Indianapolis News – August 13, 1966

Last updated on September 20, 2023

International Amphitheatre

This was the 2nd concert played at International Amphitheatre.

A total of 3 concerts have been played there • 1964Sep 5th1966Aug 12th (3pm show)Aug 12th (7:30pm show)

Going further

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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