Cincinnati • Sunday, August 21, 1966

ConcertBy The Beatles • Part of the Summer 1966 US tour
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Crosley Field

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We were having to worry about the rain getting in the amps and this took us right back to the Cavern days – it was worse than those early days. And I don’t even think the house was full.

Paul McCartney

From, May 9, 2017:

They took to the stage on Aug. 21, 1966, after the performance was cancelled the previous night, then flew to St. Louis for a concert that evening – the only time the Beatles played two cities on the same day.

No one knew at the time that just eight days later they would play their last show – at Candlestick Park in San Francisco – and then stop touring all together. […] For the lucky ones who were at the concert, that indelible experience is captured in memory. […]

Girls were screaming everywhere, a shrill roar every time someone glimpsed a mop-top from the player’s tunnel at the Reds’ ballpark. Handmade signs draped from the upper deck proclaimed “Beatles – We Luv Ya” and “Hi Ringo.”

The opening acts went on. The Remains, Bobby Hebb crooning “Sunny,” then the Cyrkle singing “Red Rubber Ball” and the Ronettes (minus Ronnie Bennett). Good solid groups, all of them, but not the Beatles.

It had been two years since Beatlemania had exploded, a tonic for the nation’s ills after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The WSAI-AM “Good Guys” DJs had brought the Fab Four to Cincinnati Gardens on their first U.S. tour in August 1964.

The concert was a smashing success, and the lads were booked at Crosley Field for the 1966 U.S. tour. It didn’t go smoothly.

The concert had been scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, 1966. Tickets sold for $4.75, up to $5.50.

Just before show time, the rain started coming down hard. For two hours, fans in the exposed stands of Crosley Field were drenched as they waited and waited for the Beatles to come out. The promoters hadn’t put up a canopy, in violation of the contract, so the stage was sopping wet.

“Cincinnati was an open-air venue, and they had a bandstand in the centre of the ballpark, with a canvas top on it,” George Harrison recalled. “It was really bad weather, pouring with rain, and when Mal [Evans, the Beatles’ road manager] got there to set up the equipment he said, ‘Where’s the electricity power feed?’ And the fella said, ‘What do you mean, electricity? I thought they played guitars.’ He didn’t even know we played electric guitars.

“It was so wet that we couldn’t play. They’d brought in the electricity, but the stage was soaking and we would have been electrocuted, so we cancelled – the only gig we ever missed.”

About 10:25 p.m., a spokesman announced that due the threat that the Beatles could be electrocuted the concert was cancelled. Disappointed teens threw away their tickets.

Backstage, John Lennon stepped up and agreed that they would come back to play the next day. The band spent the night at Vernon Manor in Mount Auburn.

The Enquirer headline: “Beatles All Wet But They’ll Be Back Noon Today.”

After church on Sunday morning, the teen-age crowd filed back to their seats. Ticket stubs were slashed with a black marker for re-admittance.

About 1:30 p.m., the Beatles finally emerged from the player’s tunnel near third base, their guitars slung over their shoulders, and trotted out to the stage. The crowd took to their feet. The stage, now under a canopy, was at second base, some 100 feet from the audience, and a row of policemen (with cotton in their ears) stood as a barricade for overzealous fans.

The Beatles wore matching gray suits with red pinstripes and blue paisley shirts. George sported small round sunglasses, and he and Paul waved, exciting the girls.

The screaming was non-stop.

Then, a guitar jangled and John started singing. Justletmehearsomeofthat rock and roll music!

The crowd roared. The band had no monitors so they couldn’t hear themselves play.

Two huge speakers blasted out the music and you could actually hear their singing unless you were too close to a hysterical teenager or were one of them.

“I reckon we could send out four waxwork dummies of ourselves and that would satisfy the crowds,” John Lennon once said. “Beatles concerts are nothing to do with the music any more. They’re just bloody tribal rites.”

That summer, the luster of Beatlemania had started to fade. […]
The reaction in the Bible Belt to the “more popular than Jesus” quote, taken out of context, was swift and vicious. […] Shows were no longer selling out. The stands at Crosley were half full. About 15,000 fans filled two decks of a ballpark that seated 30,000. […]

“We had to get up early and get on and play the concert at midday, then take all the gear apart and go to the airport, fly to St. Louis, set up and play the gig originally planned for that day,” George recalled. “In those days all we had were three amps, three guitars, and a set of drums. Imagine trying to do it now!”

The St. Louis show that night also had a torrential downpour, but the Beatles were protected under a canopy and played the show.

We were having to worry about the rain getting in the amps and this took us right back to the Cavern days – it was worse than those early days,” Paul McCartney remembered. “And I don’t even think the house was full.

The experience convinced Paul to stop touring.

I finally agreed. I’d been trying to say, ‘Ah, touring’s good and it keeps us sharp. We need touring, and musicians need to play. Keep music live.’ I had held on that attitude when there were doubts, but finally I agreed with them. George and John were the ones most against touring; they got particularly fed up. So we agreed to say nothing, but never to tour again.” [….]

From – Beatles fans scream and shout for the Fab Four at the concert at Crosley Field on Aug. 21, 1966. Fred Straub
Photo: Dayton Daily News archive

Last updated on April 20, 2019

Crosley Field

This was the 1st and only concert played at Crosley Field.


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