In the summer of 1964, four musicians from Liverpool played for 20,261 screaming fans in Vancouver, BC changing the city and the world forever. The Beatles took the stage for their one and only show in Vancouver and first ever performance in Canada on August 22, 1964. Here’s some interesting fact from that special day:
1. The Beatles performed at Empire Stadium which was built to host the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. History was made at the event when Roger Bannister won gold over John Landy. Both ran a mile in under 4 minutes dubbing the moment the “Miracle Mile”. A statue at Stanley Park commemorates this monumental feat in human history. The current mile world record is 3:43.13 minutes by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj.
2. In 1957, a singer named Elvis Presley performed at Empire Stadium in Vancouver for the one and only time and also the last time he ever held a concert outside of the U.S. Elvis distinctly remembers Vancouver fans for rushing the stage and having to end the show early to run for safety.
3. For the concert in Vancouver, the Beatles flew from Los Angeles but had to fly back because the pilot didn’t have the right stamp on his paperwork. When they returned, they had their driver take them to King’s Hamburgers, a popular local chain in East Vancouver. They then spent the rest of the time driving around Vancouver, seeing the sites and eating $.19 hamburgers until their press conference.
4. Eighty-nine local reporters crowded into a small room to interview John, Paul, George and Ringo about their lives as rock stars. You can read the transcript here or listen to their interview below:
5. Tickets to the concert cost $3.25, $4.25 or $5.25.
6. The Righteous Brothers were one of the opening acts along with Jackie DeShannon. She sang the mega-hit “What The World Needs Now” which reached #1 in Canada but only #7 in the U.S.
Photo credit: angelvancouver
7. The Beatles didn’t get on stage until 9:23pm due to delays caused by the crowd. Three attempts were made to smash the ten-foot high stadium gates and it finally buckled under the strain seconds after The Beatles began their performance. 12 security guards tried to hold off hundreds of fans until police arrived and helped hold it shut.
8. The crowd inside the stadium turned hysterical once The Beatles took the stage. Thousands of teenagers left their seats and rushed the stage, crushing hundreds of young girls against the restraining fence. Dozens of girls suffered broken ribs and hundreds were treated for hysteria and shock.
9. 18 minutes into the show, their manager Brian Epstein instructed Vancouver broadcast legend Red Robinson to interrupt the show to plead for calm. When he did so, John Lennon told Red to “Get the F**k off the stage!” Red then directed him to Brian and then John, realizing the circumstances, said, “I see. Carry on mate.” They played another song and then Brian himself interrupted the show to appeal to the crowd.
10. The Beatles performed 10 songs in only 27 minutes. Twist And Shout, You Can’t Do That, All My Loving, She Loves You, Things We Said Today, Roll Over Beethoven, Can’t Buy Me Love, If I Fell, Boys, A Hard Day’s Night and Long Tall Sally.
11. It was said Vancouver had some of the most unruly crowds to ever attend a Beatles concerts during their 1964 world tour. They were suppose to stay overnight at Hotel Georgia but due to the commotion, they opted to fly out to their next concert that night.
12. Many reporters thought the Beatles’ set was too short even though the entire concert went on for hours. Vancouver Sun reporter William Littler said “Seldom in Vancouver’s entertainment history have so many (20,261) paid so much ($5.25 top price) for so little (27 minutes) as did the audience which screamed at The Beatles in Empire Stadium Saturday night.” As before, the newspapers sent classical music critics to review a rock and roll show.
13. This is one of the only pieces of film from that event
14. Listen to the live recording of the Beatles live in concert at Empire Stadium in Vancouver on August 22, 1964