[This is a week late. I was sick, but I have to admit I’m getting better, a little better…]
I attended a concert at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. on August 15, 1966 (altho it was still called DC Stadium at that time). I remember being intensely concerned what my ex-girlfriend was doing (she was there, too) and I also recall being acutely aware of her best friend, who was there with her. I had shifted my affections from my ex to her friend and kept my binoculars trained on her more than the warm-up acts. None of this worked out as planned — the thing with the friend never materialized and I ended up marrying the ex a few years later.
Did I mention that The Beatles were headlining?
The Beatles, playing D.C. on their last tour of the US, with opening acts Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”), The Cyrkle (“Red Rubber Ball”), The Remains (I got nuthin’) and The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”, fitting, given my infatuation with my ex’s bff).
I read today that The Beatles set in ’66 was only 11 songs. I couldn’t really say, since between watching my (hope-to-be) new girlfriend, the primitive state-of-the-art sound system at the Stadium, and me and everyone else, screaming incoherently, I heard maybe only a third of what was going on. It didn’t matter, of course; it was magical in the way such things are to a fifteen year old.
Interesting stuff happened before the show started. While waiting outside the Stadium, a group of Carnaby Street-clad fellows walked by. My friend and I noted their (to us) outlandish clothes with interest. We later learned that Stadium officials had mistook them for The Cyrkle and let them inside and backstage.
Even more outlandishly dressed were the Klu Klux Klan marchers, who were there to protest John Lennon’s infamous lament that the band was more popular than Jesus. As they say nowadays, h8trs gotta h8.
Seeing the Beatles live was one of the epochal events of my life. Since then I’ve seen many performers live in concert — Elton John, Billy Joel, Elton John and Billy Joel, Neil Diamond (my second ex made me go to that one), Michael Jackson, Prince, Sly and the Family Stone, Bread, The Fifth Dimension, Grand Funk Railroad and Steven Stills (actually, I didn’t see him in concert, I saw him in my jail) to name some. None of them compared to the Beatles; not even seeing McCartney in concert in 2011. It may seem odd that a 30 minute set of second-tier hits beats out concerts that lasted hours. But it was The Beatles, the greatest rock band ever.
Don’t agree? Well, all I can say in response to your sad negation is to point out is that the band’s last two hits — “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” — were released in 1995, twenty-five years after the band broke up. Not enough? Both songs reached Billboard’s Top 100 in 1996, #6 and #11 respectively. Need more? How about the fact that the writer and lead singer of both songs HAD BEEN DEAD FOR 16 YEARS!
I think I’ve made my point.
There’s a t-shirt that says “I may be old, but I saw all the great bands”. For me, it should say “I may be old, but I saw The Greatest Band of All Time “.