Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)

8.00pm, Sunday 8 July 1962 (51 years ago)

On this day The Beatles’ 80th evening show at the Cavern Club took place.

Overall this was their 192nd appearance at the underground Mathew Street venue, including their lunchtime shows.

Tommy Evans and I must have lied to our parents as to where we were going as we were only 14. We couldn’t go to a lunchtime session because of school but we went on a Sunday night and we were supposed to be home by 9.30pm. When we got into the Cavern, we were hit by that fabulous, intoxicating smell of cheap perfume, disinfectant and rotting fruit, which was very heady for 14-year-olds. It wasn’t packed when we went in and we saw the first groups who had alliterative names like Shane Fenton and the Fentones, but not them of course. We had seen Fender Strats in big theatres but to see them in a tiny club was amazing.

We were blown away with the warm-up acts. It got to 9.15pm and we had to think about heading home when these guys dressed in black walked onto the stage, and we were seeing The Beatles for the first time. We had to stay for the first number. By then the club had filled up massively and we were being pushed forward as more and more people came in. They were laughing with thee audience and the girls were taking out their rollers and had gone from wearing scarves to looking really glam. The Beatles kicked into Some Other Guy and that was like the end of life for me, and a whole new life began from that very moment. Neither of us got home until after 11pm and both of us got a bollocking for being out late, but I was gone then and I would try and get to any lunchtime session when The Beatles were on.

Willy Russell, playwright
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

The precise number of The Beatles’ Cavern performances is not known, although they played at least 155 lunchtime and 125 evening shows between 9 February 1961 and 3 August 1963.

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