The Beatles at Shea Stadium 1965

On August 15, 1965 The Beatles played to the largest audience to that point of any rock band. 55,600 fans were in Shea Stadium ready to be entertained by the Beatles.

Looking at the equipment they had…it had to be hard to hear anything. They used 100 Watt Vox amps. They are great amps but they used the house PA in a baseball stadium. I’ve played much smaller outside events with more powerful equipment and most importantly a better PA…but it didn’t matter at the time though as Ringo said:

“We always used to use the house PA,” added Starr. “That was good enough for us, even at Shea Stadium. I never felt people came to hear our show — I felt they came to see us. From the count-in on the first number, the volume of screams drowned everything else out.”

The fans turned Beatle concerts…and especially this one into an event more than a concert. The Beatles were very aware of the magnitude of this concert. ABC filmed the concert and it became a documentary. The looks on the Beatles faces were “Can you believe this?” and they seem to really enjoy this concert. The screams come through when you watch the documentary. They drown out everything. Luckily they plugged the recording equipment into the soundboard so at least you can hear them.

During the closing song, “I’m Down” John was playing the organ and you can tell he was having a great time. He was playing this his arms and cracking up George as well. John once told Sid Berstein who promoted the concert “You know, Sid, that concert in 1965 at Shea Stadium … I saw the top of the mountain on that unforgettable night.'”

The Shea Stadium total was an attendance record that lasted until Led Zeppelin played to 56,800 in Tampa in 1973. That record was soon broken by The Who. The difference being by then the rock crowd had grown up and so had the equipment.

The 12 song Beatles setlist that lasted a whole 30 minutes.

  1. Twist and Shout
  2. She’s a Woman
  3. I Feel Fine
  4. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  5. Ticket to Ride
  6. Everybody’s Tryin’ to Be My Baby
  7. Can’t Buy Me Love
  8. Baby’s in Black
  9. Act Naturally
  10. A Hard Day’s Night
  11. Help!
  12. I’m Down

Like so many of The Beatles achievements…They were pioneers.

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