sábado, 8 de noviembre de 2014

It was 50 years ago ... Beatlemania hits Cardiff

It was 50 years ago today... Beatlemania hits Cardiff
7 November 2014

Footage of Beatles fans at Cardiff's Capitol Theatre on 7 November 1964

It was 50 years ago today that Beatlemania exploded on to the streets of Cardiff.

On Saturday, 7 November 1964 The Beatles arrived in the Welsh capital to play the Capitol Theatre at the very zenith of their powers.

A total of 5,000 fans saw the Fab Four in two performances held that day, but many thousands more missed out on tickets.

The concert was the second of three visits to Cardiff and came just months after the band had conquered America.

Beatles ticket cardiff 7 nov 1964

Beatles paid £850

The gig - for which the band were paid £850 - predictably sold out immediately and was the biggest demand for tickets The Capitol Theatre had ever experienced.

In those pre-internet days, fans wanting tickets sent off their money to the venue in the hope they would be lucky.

The Beatles
The songs of Paul McCartney and John Lennon had conquered America in 1964

Thousands were not and had their cash sent back to them.

Entry into the gig cost between 8/6d (approx £5.40 today) and 15 shillings (£9.60), but today a ticket stub from the show sells for £100-plus on Beatles memorabilia websites.

One lucky fan who managed to get a golden ticket was the then 14-year-old Hefin Elis, of Port Talbot, who went with his friend Geraint Griffiths.

'You couldn't hear'

Recalling the concert, Mr Elis, 64, a former TV and record producer, said: "It was very exciting. We heard they were going on tour and we managed to get tickets.

"You couldn't hear much because the screaming was so loud.

"It was a fantastic experience.

"We were in the stalls, half way back. We had a good view and everyone was on their feet jumping up and down and screaming.

"I remember them playing Twist and Shout. We were big fans and we were both musicians and tried to emulate them.

"It's a real honour to think I was there. Every time I go past the Capitol even now - 50 years later - I think about that night."

A Hard Day's Night
The film A Hard Day's Night was released in July 1964

'Wild excitement'

Another fan remembers the "wild excitement" of being in the crowd.

Helen Stradling, 70, a retired teacher from Penarth, said: "I can't remember one song they played, I just remember the wild excitement of it all.

"My mother and father, sister, my boyfriend and me were at the front of the upper dress circle and I just remember them bouncing onto the stage.

"It was just so exciting to see them in the flesh, just something so special. I think we still have the ticket somewhere."

Jelly babies

The Beatles were pelted with a shower of jelly babies for the duration of their two sets in Cardiff that night.

It was because George Harrison had made an off-the-cuff remark in an interview that they were his favourite sweets.

Before that November night, Welsh Beatles fans had waited more than a year to see their heroes following the band's brief residency in Llandudno in 1963.

John, Paul, George and Ringo were on a four-week tour of Britain after seeing the release of their critically acclaimed debut film, A Hard Day's Night, in July.

The gig was the 24th of the tour and joining them on the bill that night in Queen Street were The Rustiks, Michael Haslam, Sounds Incorporated, Mary Wells, The Remo Four and Tommy Quickly with compere duties being handled by Bob Bain.

Set list
The Beatles set list from the gig in Cardiff

Black Maria

Because of their stellar fame, getting past the hysterical fans and to the stage of the Capitol Theatre was no mean feat.

They first travelled to St Mellons in manager Brian Epstein's chauffeur-driven limousine before getting into a Black Maria police van to get through the crowds to the venue.

The Beatles performed the same 10 songs at both "houses" at 6.30pm and 8.30pm, but they were barely audible above the hysterical fans' screams.

As soon as the gig was over The Beatles were driven back to Liverpool for a homecoming the following day that attracted a crowd of 150,000.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Beatles gigs
The concerts played in Wales by the Fab Four

The Beatles In Cardiff, 1964... Were You There?
7 November 2014

Fans of the Fab Four swarm outside the Capitol Theatre in Cardiff in November, 1964

Fans wait in earnest for the gates to open to see The Beatles perform in the Welsh capital

The crowd continues to swell as fans wait to gain entrance to the Capitol Theatre

Fans jump with excitement as the camera catches them before the concert gets under way

Female fans of the Beatles shout and scream as they wait for the band to arrive

The crowd are unable to hide their excitement as they make their way into the gig in Cardiff

Groups of girls wait outside the theatre gates hoping to catch a glimpse of John, Paul, George and Ringo

The excitement continues outside the Capitol Theatre

The fans wait patiently for the biggest band in history to arrive for the concert in Cardiff

Unable to contain themselves any longer, fans try to push their way through the barriers

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