Promoter Celebrates Anniversary of Beatles Shea Stadium Concert
By: NY1 News
NY1: Promoter Celebrates Anniversary of Beatles Shea Stadium Concert
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It wasn't The Beatles famous first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, but a year and a-half later on August 15th, 1965, the television host was on hand to introduce the Fab Four to a stadium full of fans.
It wasn't the first Beatles concert in the United States, and it wasn't the first Beatles concert in New York City. So what made this a landmark event?
Let's ask the man who brought The Beatles to New York; concert promoter Sid Bernstein.
"It changed the whole concept of show business," he says. "It moved from nightclubs and concert halls to stadiums, and it
became the first stadium concert."
While today, rock concerts in major outdoor arenas is common, it had never happened on this scale before Shea Stadium, where The Beatles played before 55,000 fans. And the crowd provided a new problem.
"Not even the best sound engineers could overcome the noise and the screams of the kids who came," says Bernstein.
Prior to the Shea Stadium concert, the biggest crowd The Beatles played to was 20,000 in Vancouver and Kansas City. Since Shea, we've seen concerts get even bigger.
And tickets to the concert at Shea were pretty cheap; ranging from $$4.75 to $$5.75.
"It took me a while to really get educated and realize that these tickets had a higher premium than the price I put on those tickets," says Bernstein.
NY1 spoke to Bernstein in one of The Beatles New York "homes": The Plaza Hotel. Back then the band would've paid between $$50 and $$75 for their rooms.
NY1 asked Bernstein if they were in a gigantic suite of rooms, and he responded, "The surprising part about it was that they were just in regular, very nice accomodations. Nothing elaborate. Nothing lavish. They didn't take the Presidential Suite, they just arrived as a normal person would."
So do the remaining Beatles still remember the people and places from their past?
"Three or four months ago, Ringo Starr had a big press conference here to announce the launch of one of his new businesses," says Tom Civitano of The Plaza Hotel. "So I still think they have some type of sentimental attachment to the hotel, knowing that it was their first stop in America."
Bernstein adds, "They left the most indelible impression in the history of show business."
And surely Sid Bernstein, a New York native, helped them do it. Happy Anniversary Sid, and thanks.
- Paul Messina