The origins of concert rock or arena rock can be traced back to the band that gave birth to many more music related things: The Beatles. Their concert at Shea Stadium made Beatlemania tangible and showed the rest of the world the sheer force of the fab four.
Help! – The Beatles (Live at Shea Stadium)
On August 15th – 1965, 55,600 fans went to watch The Beatles play at Shea Stadium (The William A Shea Municipal Stadium, home to none other than the New York Mets baseball team). It would be the start of their second US concert tour, which would set a world record for attendance figures as well as gross revenue and produce one of the most famous concerts in the history of popular music.
The concert was also recorded (as well as the arrival in New York and a tour around Manhattan), there were 12 camera operators recording, and there is some great footage around, though Apple has yet to release a movie with all the footage. (Psst! Apple, get on with it!).
The stadium was packed, and there were 2000 security guards. A number never seen before and they had their hands full with the enormous amount of teenage girls trying to jump security and reach the stage.
I Feel Fine – The Beatles (Live at Shea Stadium)
The Beatles were introduced by Ed Sullivan. From that moment on the concert is famous because you really cant hear the music over the screaming girls. If you watch the 30 min footage available on the internet, there is a point where you notice the band itself cant believe all the madness; there is a moment when they say “shit, can you believe this is happening?”. But if you listen to the music you realize they were actually playing well and having a good time.
I’m Down – The Beatles (live at Shea Stadium)
The set list was made of 12 songs: Twist and Shout, She´s a Woman, I Feel Fine, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Ticket To Ride, Everybody´s Trying To Be My Baby, Can´t Buy Me Love, Baby´s in Black, Act Naturally, A Hard Day´s Night, Help! and I´m Down.
The Beatles returned to Shea Stadium during their final tour the following year and played there on August 23rd, 1966. By this time psychedelia had kicked in and for many it was not cool to go to a gig, so it was a different concert.
I will never forget the first time I saw the footage. They looked so young and proper and Paul and John´s red cheeks and the smile and all of their faces is something that stuck with me. It was the peak of Beatlemania and any time I watch it all I know is I would have liked to be there! I don´t care if there was screaming and it was not their most musically astonishing achievement. The lucky people who were there got to witness the energy of the greatest band in all of history.
*Featured imagine taken from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Bt2d8JKtwiE/hqdefault.jpg