The Beatles’ only concert in San Diego was 55 years ago this week: here’s what happened, on and off stage


What happened when The Beatles performed at Balboa Stadium on August 28, 1965?

What happened before, during and after the world’s most famous and influential rock band took the stage for the only time in San Diego?

And exactly how many buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken did their contract say to provide behind the scenes?

Your mother (or grandmother) should know.

If not, here are the answers to those questions and more about the Beatles’ only concert in San Diego. (If you attended and would like to share your fabulous memories of the show for possible publication, send an email to [email protected] Please include your age at the time of the concert and the region you currently live in.)

Last minute addition: The group’s concert in San Diego was added to the Fab Four’s tour so late that it did not appear on the group’s original 16-show and nine-city itinerary. The performance here was rushed right after The Beatles took a few days vacation in Los Angeles and just before their August 29-30 shows at the Hollywood Bowl.

If all had gone according to plan a year earlier, The Beatles would have opened their 1964 tour at Balboa Stadium. Instead, the band’s concert in 1965 was the band’s first and last time to perform in San Diego.

The place: The Balboa Stadium, located next to San Diego High School and San Diego City College, was built in 1914 for the Panama-California Exhibition. It was the home of the San Diego Chargers from 1961 to 1967. Much of the stadium was demolished in 1979.

The Beatles were the first rock group to appear there in 1965. Many more followed, including The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Elton John, Yes and Fleetwood Mac.

Presence: 17,013 fans were at the Beatles concert here.

Unsold tickets: 10,001.

Ticket prices: $ 3.50, $ 4.50 and $ 5.50 each.

Payment: The Beatles were guaranteed a minimum of $ 50,000, plus a percentage of ticket sales. Because attendance was so low, the group’s total payout was $ 50,135.17.

The promoters : The concert was produced by Richard Knoth and Dick Meads, in collaboration with Lou Robbins. “It was our first and last production,” Knoth told the San Diego Union in 1984.

“Our share (of the profit) was $ 750 each. We have put in place the $ 50,000 guarantee against the income of the door, whichever is greater. At the last minute it was suddenly clear that the check had to be presented to them in advance or else they would not continue. It was not in our planning.

Opening acts: Cannibal and The Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, Sounds Incorporated and King Curtis, with the Discotheque Dancers.

Press conference before the concert: About 100 members of the media were in attendance, including local TV talk show host Regis Philbin and radio / TV personality Wink Martindale.

Best line in press conference: “We are agnostics,” said Paul McCartney, in response to a question, “so there is no point in being irreverent.” (See the full San Diego Union article on the press conference below).

The Beatles Balboa Stadium setlist: “Twist and Shout”, “It’s a Woman”, “I Feel Good”, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, “Can’t Buy Me Love “,” Baby’s in black “,” I wanna be your man “,” A hard day at night “,” Help! ” and “I am down.”

Speed ​​close to distortion: From start to finish, The Beatles’ concert in San Diego lasted 31 minutes.

Critical response: “Worse-than-death sound roared at Balboa Stadium last night, but it really wasn’t that bad,” read a review in the San Diego Union.

“Two years ago, it was the new sound, muffled music with a rhythm from below. Last night the sound was as good – or as bad (depending on your perspective) – as ever.

A file : A chapter is devoted to the Beatles concert at Balboa Stadium in the 2014 book “Some Fun Tonight! The behind-the-scenes story of how the Beatles rocked America: the historic tours of 1964-1966. It was written by San Diego State and University of San Diego alumnus Chuck Gunderson.

Behind the scenes : The Beatles, in accordance with their contract, received a rented piano; two cases of soda; two jars of Kentucky Fried Chicken; three portable televisions; four cots and sets of clean sheets; five 1-gallon water bottles; 10 dozen paper cups and 24 assorted sandwiches. The total cost of their food behind the scenes: $ 33.96.

“At the end of the gig, they were gone instantly,” Richard Knoth, the show’s co-promoter, told San Diego Union in 1984. “I don’t think they stopped to eat the chicken.”

Delayed departure: The Beatles had a motorhome to drive them from Balboa Stadium after their gig was over. But not everything went as planned. The vehicle broke down as the group was about to board. Two San Diego police officers went under the motorhome and fixed it.

Sound rental: $ 725.20

Stage construction: $ 249

Tips for the stage crew, police and firefighters: $ 130

Nurses at the stadium: 40 $

Ambulance service at the stadium: 25 $

House light man: $ 20

The full press conference

The Beatles made headlines around the world in 1965. But not in San Diego, where coverage of their Balboa Stadium press conference appeared on (ahem!) Page A-27.

‘AUDIENCE’ FOR THE PRESS: Beatles joke over quick clip

By Beverly Beyette / The San Diego Union, August 29, 1965

First Ringo, the nervous man in the black velvet waistcoat, and the sympathetic Paul in the gold and gray striped coat.

“We’re just going to take the best seat,” Paul joked. Then he and Ringo laughed. Just because they like to laugh.

Ringo nervously tugged on his cigarette, narrowed his eyes with the blue eyes that showed just below the Beatles’ square, and put his skinny sunglasses on the table.

George, wearing a black poplin jacket over a white crocheted shirt, and pulling a cigarette, took a seat to Paul’s right.


John, clad in a pale blue cotton jacket over a black T-shirt, took a seat to Ringo’s right and wrapped his feet in their pointed toe boots around the bars of his chair.

He tilted his head back a little to see under the light brown hair that almost looked like a comedic wig.

The Beatles were meeting the press. The Beatles don’t exactly have press conferences – they hold audiences. It would be easier to be invited for tea at Buckingham Palace.


A Beatles audience does something like this:

Q. John – What were you really trying to say in your book? Why don’t people understand it?

A. I understand that. If I wrote with normal spelling, there would be no point in writing. I do not say anything. There is no message.

(The shrill screams from inside Balboa Stadium can be heard a few hundred yards away.)

The BeatIes shrugged their shoulders. “We expect it!” they say, indifferent.

Q. Do you think you are playing a joke on American children?

Jean answers. John talks the most.

A. “We consider this more of a joke than anything else. But we wouldn’t make music if we didn’t like it. You will find us playing in our hotel rooms.

Q. Where did you find your sound?

Georges answers. “We can’t find any sounds. We make them.

Q. How long do you expect to last?

George, ironically, “About 30 years old.”

Q. Do you think you deserve to be named a Member of the Order of the British Empire?

“A lot more than a lot of people who get it,” John says.

Q. About the Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five and the rest … do you see them as a threat to your popularity?

Paul: “But we have our little skateboards for our hotel rooms.

Q. You have admitted to being an agnostic. Are you as irreverent as has been said?

Paul: “We are agnostics, so there is no point in being irreverent. “

Q. Why are you wearing your hair so long?

John: “You like yours short, we like ours long.”

“Da-da-da-da-da-da!” sings Paul. He and Ringo stamp their feet and do a little song about that one.

The press conference is over. The cries get louder. The irreverent are gone.

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