Last weekend at Blue Frog Studios, Michael Sicoly and Mick Dalla-Vee brought the Beatles back to life, with the show “Lennon and McCartney, in their own Words and Music”, a Rockumentary that celebrated the incredible library of hit songs from John and Paul.
It was an amazing night of music, combined with a multi-media show that had the audience screaming for more! And there was more. More than the audience had bargained for! For the encore, “Hey Jude”, Michael called up the MC, me! to join in with the la la la la’s. That was a kick, but I’m sure it set the music industry back at least 50 years!
The music that night, from two of the most revered songwriters of all time, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, took me back to my teen years, and one of the most memorable days of my life.
The Beatles were right in my wheelhouse when it came to music, I was 15 years old in 1964 and we would have record parties in the basement rec rooms of friends’ houses. At one of the parties, someone brought a Beatles album. It was the “Meet The Beatles” album, the one with the black and white photos of half the Beatles faces on the cover. One of the girls at the party knew some of the names, and if you can imagine, we struggled to get all the names right, that’s how new they were to us. But even then, we knew we were listening to something very special.
On Saturday, August 22, 1964, the Beatles took to the stage at Empire Stadium in Vancouver. It’s been well documented and recalled over the years, but for the 20,621 of us who were there that night, Beatlemania is something we’ll never forget.
The day began with young people surrounding the Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver, because word had spread that the Beatles were going to be staying there. Hundreds of kids stood across the street from the hotel, all looking up at the windows, hoping for a glimpse of the Fab Four. Little did we know, they never did make it to the hotel, it was a quick in and out with a press conference before the show, a shortened show due to the mob scene, and then into the limo and off to the airport.
Somehow a school friend of mine, Charlie Brown, and I got tickets to the concert. I can’t remember how, maybe Charlie remembers? Well, the concert was amazing. I’m sure the show producers had planned to build the energy level of the show with every group that took the stage. Bill Black’s Combo, The Exciters, Jackie DeShannon and the Righteous Brothers. The energy kept building till you thought the place was going to explode. And then it did!
Behind the stage, at the north end of the stadium, through the big wooden doors came a limousine, and that’s when there was a rush of people from the grandstands onto the field, and toward the stage. When the Beatles hit the stage the crowd erupted. The show was stopped a number of times, and the MC, local radio personality Red Robinson told the crowd to behave or the show would be cancelled. There was a fear that the crowd would break through the barriers. As it was, some kids were getting crushed from the surging audience and had to be pulled over the barricades.
(As a side note, popular Vancouver disc jockey, Fred Latremouille, who was a huge Beatles fan, was supposed to be the MC that night, but came down with a case of mononucleosis, so Red was asked to fill in for him.)
The screaming from the audience made it almost impossible to hear the music. Then, 27 minutes into the show, the Beatles dropped their instruments, took a bow, ran to the limos, and off to the airport. Beatlemania had come and gone.
And the Beatles never came back. At the time, we realized that they were a special band, but never thought that they would stop touring. I don’t think any of us thought that it was the one and only time the Beatles would play in Vancouver.
The 1966 U.S. tour would be the last series of concerts by the Beatles. After that, it was a studio-only band. And now looking back on that marvelous night in 1964, I feel so privileged to have seen one of the greatest bands of all time.
So, thank you Michael and Mick for keeping the music and the memories alive at Blue Frog.
Oh, yes and I still have my ticket stub from that Beatles concert in 1964. Care to guess how much I paid? Well if you said $4.25 you’d be right.
Until next week...
In other sad news this week, South Surrey resident Robbie Bachman passed away at the age of 69. No word on the cause.
Juanita and Kelly were members of a band called “White Rock” in the early 80s that included Robbie, Blair Thorton (also BTO), and Rob Deans (Trooper).
RIP Robbie 💙
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1328 Johnston Road
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2
White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2