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A Tour Like No Other….

A Word About Journalist Larry Kane

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Larry Kane in 1964 didn’t want to tour with the Beatles.  When asked by his newspaper to cover them in Miami for a story he suggested that a DJ would be a better pick.  But he went ahead and submitted a request to Brian Epstein to be granted an interview when the Beatles would visit for their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964.  That visit would include 2 performances on the Sullivan show.  While the Beatles were here for that taping they would also perform five times live – once at the Coliseum in Washington D.C. on February 11th, then two performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City on February 12th, and then two more concerts at the Deauville Hotel in Miami, Florida on February 16th.

He was floored when he received an invitation from Brian to not only meet the group in Miami after their Ed Sullivan debut, but to officially join them later on in 1964 for their entire tour of America!  Seems Epstein perceived that Kane’s radio station was more of a recognized force due to his station’s letterhead at WFUN listing another handful of radio stations owned by the group.

Before taking this assignment, Kane didn’t know much about the Beatles – no one in America did – and he didn’t particularly care for pop music.  But he came to not only appreciate and enjoy the Beatles creations but grew very fond of the group becoming a trusted friend, something that few journalists were ever able to achieve.

Larry Kane and the Boys

Journalist Larry Kane would join the Beatles again by special invitation on their 1965 U.S. tour – He go on to cover many of the world’s most dramatic events during his long career.  He has authored three books based on his experiences with the Beatles.

The 1964 Tour….

August 19th, 1964 – The Cow Palace – San Francisco, California – 17,130 in attendance

This was the Beatles’ first stop on their historic U.S. 1964 Tour.  The first thing that would occur would be “press conference” attended by 100’s of journalists.  This conference would set the tone for all press conferences to follow – mundane, ignorant questions fired at the Beatles – i.e “How often do you get haircuts?” and “What did you have to eat today?” (Lennon replied: “Corn flakes with jelly beans and chips.”  In no time at all Lennon held the press in disdain.

This concert marked the advent of the Beatles being peppered with jelly beans due to an offhand remark by George Harrison about favoring “jelly babies”.  The candy was often thrown hard like missiles and several kids were actually injured.  After this concert Ringo pleaded for kids to stop the practice to no avail.

August 20th, 1964 – The Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada – 16,816 in attendance

The Las Vegas date could have been a disaster and probably would have been in today’s world.  Somehow two teenage twin sisters had made it all the way up and into the hotel room with John Lennon.  A frantic mother reported their absence to police and it would take the dealings of the American reporter Larry Kane who accompanied the Beatles by a Brian Epstein invitation on the entire tour, to smooth things over both with the mother and the law.

 

August 21st, 1964 – The Seattle Convention Center – Seattle, Washington – 14,382 in attendance

Before landing in Seattle the Beatles learned of a plan by some entrepreneurs who planned on obtaining the carpeting, the towels and the sheets from the rooms where the Beatles would reside, cutting it up into sections and selling it as souvenirs.  The Beatles thwarted the plan by urinating on the items before taking off for the airport.

Seattle was also the tour date that made all members of the Beatles’ entourage realize how dangerous the raucous fans could become, stopping at nothing to converge on the Beatles.

August 22nd, 1964 – Empire Stadium – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – 20,621 in attendance

Although the Beatles were awe struck by the natural beauty of the surrounding country side as seen from their plane before descending – the situation on the ground at their hotel designation was on the brink of rioting.  So much so that Epstein abruptly changed plans – motoring directly to Empire Stadium –  holing up until performance time and then taking the stage.  The Vancouver police lost control of the crowd with nearly 6,000 kids storming the stage.

The press of human bodies injured several youngsters who were lined up on the ground by attending emergency medical personnel.  The Beatles escaped cutting concert time down by not interjecting any dialogue between their 11 songs.  The it was off to the airport in a mad dash and onto Los Angeles.

August 23rd, 1964 – The Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, California – 17,256 in attendance

While in L.A. Capitol Records’ marketing team took over and set up a party to be attended by the Fab Four and the Hollywood elite which included many famous actors – several of whom brought along their children.  The Beatles, an in particular Ringo Starr, were disappointed somewhat by the throwing of the celebrity party, with Ringo voicing his concern that they were in America for the kids not the elite!

The concert itself was more calm than other locales, with the reporter Larry Kane noticing for the first time several slightly older – more on the adult side – fans in sitting in the audience and actually enjoying the music!

August 16th, 1965 – Red Rocks Amphitheater – Denver, Colorado – 7,000 in attendance

This would become the concert which would for all-time carry the label as being the one that ‘didn’t sell out’.  That story has been more than proven to just not being true.  I have spoken to so many who were in attendance that night – including my wife Janet, and they all confirm that Red Rocks was packed to the top!

The ticket taking procedure at the gates failed and many of the attendees pushed right by to get into their seats – with tickets in hand not torn (great collectibles today).  The Red Rocks crowd was boisterous but well behaved and remained in their seats throughout the 11 song set.  Larry Kane states that the only thing that approached a scare was when the limousine with dark windows was assaulted when the entourage checked into Denver’s famed Brown Palace Hotel.

The teens were sure the Beatles had just pulled up in front of the Hotel to the main entrance and mobbed the limo – which was full of entourage reports and Beatles support staff.  The roof was nearly completely collapsed but no injuries occurred.  The Fab Four had meanwhile entered on the opposite side of the hotel through a service entrance. (It is still there today.)  And they would depart the Brown the same way the next morning after the concert, the fans no wiser – accept Janet and her best friend and two or three others who were right there waiting because they had seen Brown Palace employees gathered at windows on that side of the Brown.

The concert itself, Kane recalls, was wonderful – with great acoustics and well behaved fans.

August 27th, 1964 – Cincinnati Gardens – Cincinnati, Ohio – 14,000 in attendance

August 29th & 30th, 1964 – Forest Hills Tennis Stadium – New York City, New York – 16,000 in attendance both days

August 30th, 1964 – Atlantic City Convention Hall – Atlantic City, New Jersey – 18,000 in attendance

Perhaps in the style of a casino venue, someone somewhere arranged to have about 20 attractive women delivered to the Lafayette Motor Inn where the Beatles were staying – and they weren’t young teen Beatles fanatics…

Although the press was somewhat taken aback, the arrangement was not reported in the newspapers – a practice which journalists ‘honored’ back in those days for celebrities or politicians….  As accompanying report Larry Kane stated “It was unthinkable to report this….”

The crowd at Atlantic City – much like Vancouver, surged toward the stage.  Law enforcement had underestimated the needed strength to deal with the situation …. another “lesson learned”.

Very Hard Days and Some Hard Nights

Another event took place in the Beatles’ suite at the Lafayette.  The Fab Four and entourage were ‘treated’ to a debut showing of a soon-to-be-released film – “A Hard Day’s Night”.  Everyone in the room was very enthusiastic at the completion of the viewing on a small portable screen.

The Beatles not so much, particularly George and John.  During the showing John was heard whispering to Paul that the film was “awful”, and George was so uncomfortable watching it that he could scarcely look up at the screen.

John summed it up stating something like ‘seeing it (at the Lafayette) was just about the worst’ and then went a step further saying that seeing it for the first time back in England was “the worst” and “We hated it!”

Kane theorized that the Beatles’ reaction was due to not being actors but genuine in what they said and did – and the big screen was just not them.  A side note – Ringo didn’t seem to mind much – saying it was “fun watching” because he viewed it as exactly what was happening to the boys on the U.S. tour.  Good old Ringo!

September 2nd, 1964 – Philadelphia Convention Hall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 13,000 in attendance

The Beatles were commandeered out of Atlantic City in a ‘fish truck’ and the joined a motor caravan down to Philadelphia.  Epstein was once again very nervous – and again cancelled plans to stay in the city overnight – instead moving on directly via air to Indianapolis.

In a very strange development, a U.S. psychic named Jeane Dixon, had issued a prediction that the Beatles’ flight from Philly would result in a tragic air crash.  Dixon has apparently accurately forecast the tragic assassination of President John Kennedy the December previous.

At the Philadelphia concert, a new practice on the part of the young female fans was introduced; removing and throwing their jewelry at the band!

Kane also remarked that – looking back – he realized that drugs did not play a part in the behavior of the young hysterical fans – it was “too early for that” in 1964.

The Beatles’ flight from Philly lifted off and landed in Indy a few hours later without incident.  Jeane Dixon went on to become the official psychic in the 1980’s for First Lady Nancy Reagon!

September 3rd, 1964 – Indianapolis State Fair Coliseum – Indianapolis, Indiana – (two performances) – 12,413 in attendance and 16,924 in attendance

Who would ever think that a good old fashioned American ‘state fair’ would serve as a venue for the Beatles?  But that is what Indianapolis had arranged – for two concerts on the same day.

In Indy – the Beatles would get to take a few laps on the famous 500 track adding to their Americana experience – probably one of their best experiences on that ’64 tour.

September 4th, 1964 – Milwaukee Arena – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 11,500 in attendance

The Milwaukee concert was one of the most smoothly delivered appearances with few incidents and with well behaved teens.  But the crowds that gathered outside the Beatles’ hotel were excessively loud – screaming throughout the night – the worst encountered during the tour according to Kane.

September 5th, 1964 – The International Amphitheater – Chicago, Illinois – 13,000 in attendance

In Chicago the Beatles flight out of nearby Milwaukee was altered from O’Hare to the smaller Midway airfield.  The crowd at the Amphitheater was judged to be the loudest the Beatles had yet encountered.

September 6th, 1964 – Olympia Stadium – Detroit, Michigan – (2 performances) – 30,000 in attendance total

The police escort in Detroit turned into a nightmare when just part way to the Beatles’ hotel destination, the escort suddenly disappeared.  The Beatles entourage was being pursued by teens in vehicles all the way into the garage of their hotel – Assigned journalists and Beatles employees had to take over the security duties holding off a frenzied crowd until the boys were inside and safe.

September 7th, 1964 – Maple Leaf Gardens – Toronto, Canada – (2 performances) – 35,000 in attendance total

In Toronto the Beatles were greeted at the airport by a crowd estimated at 7,000 plus.

September 8th, 1964 – The Forum – Montreal, Canada – (2 performances) – 9,500 and 11,500 in attendance

The Beatles actually received violent threats from Canadians in Montreal who were angry with the British – wanting independence from Canada and the U.K.

September  11th, 1964 – The Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Florida – 32,000 in attendance

This one had danger written all over it.  The Beatles had earlier made it know they were not any too happy with the concept of a segregated audience and in fact stated emphatically that they would not permit it.  In the end, the concert came off without a racial hitch.  No announcements were made forbidding integration and an integrated audience enjoyed the concert 32,000 strong – blacks and white sitting side-by-side without incident.

September 12th, 1964 – Boston Garden – Boston, Massachusetts – 13,909 in attendance

Three young fans in Boston managed to disguise themselves and actually enter the Beatles’ suite posing as journalists.  Their disguise was blown when one of them – a boy – lunged at Ringo in an attempt to grab him.

September 13th, 1964 – The Civic Center – Baltimore, Maryland – (2 performances) 28,000 in attendance total

Baltimore staged two concerts- and for all purposes – went smoothly.  Kids were somewhat beginning to enjoy the concerts for the music.

September 14th, 1964 – The Civic Arena – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 12,603 in attendance

Pittsburgh, much like Baltimore – was a much more relaxed atmosphere – providing the Beatles with a reprieve.

September 15th, 1964 – Public Auditorium – Cleveland, Ohio – 11,000 in attendance

When fans rushed the stage in Cleveland, a police officer abruptly pushed the Beatles off the stage – ending the performance.  Later John would say about the office, “I felt like kicking him” as John didn’t see anything out of the ordinary taking place in the wild audience.

September 16th, 1964 – City Park Stadium – New Orleans, Louisiana – 12,000 in attendance

Here the Beatles were overjoyed when they got to meet up with Fats Domino.  At the concert several horse mounted officers would attempt to hold back the surging teens.

September 17th, 1964 – Municipal Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri – 20,214 in attendance

This was a non-scheduled date on the Beatles’ 1964 tour, brought about by the persistence of Kansas City Athletics’ owner and ‘carnival barker-like’ Charley Finley.

Visit my Post “Finicky Finley and the Fab Four”

September 18th, 1964 – Dallas Memorial Stadium – Dallas, Texas – 10,500 in attendance

The Beatles were more than a bit frightened to enter the city where JFK has been assassinated the year previous – John most worried about “a lot of guns” – Their fears were put to rest – with a successful and controlled concert.

September 20th, 1964 – The Paramount Theater – New York City, New York – 3,682 in attendance

The last stop on the ’64 tour  – this would be the smallest venue – just shy of 4,000 seats.  Here the Beatles would team up with celebrities to raise money for charity – This included Steve Lawrence and Eddie Gorme – The Beatles loved this final venue – much more like they were accustomed to back in their home country.

 

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