Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening) – Pete Best’s final show with The Beatles

This was The Beatles’ 91st evening show at the Cavern Club. It was also the 38th occasion on which they performed both lunchtime and evening shows at the venue.

More significantly, it was Pete Best‘s final show with The Beatles, two years and three days after he first performed with them.

On the night of Wednesday 15 August, we played at the Cavern and, in the normal way, talked later about the arrangements for the following night, when we were due to appear at the Riverpark Ballroom in Chester. The regular drill was that Neil Aspinall and I would collect the other Beatles in his van and drive to the venue.

As Lennon was leaving, I called: ‘Pick you up tomorrow, John.’

‘No,’ he said, ‘I’ve got other arrangements.’ At the time this didn’t strike me as being odd, even though it didn’t conform to the usual pattern. John was going through a trying domestic period; in eight days’ time he was due to marry Cynthia, who was already pregnant.

Pete Best
Beatle! The Pete Best Story, by Pete Best and Patrick Doncaster

The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein asked Best to come to the NEMS office the following day, although the drummer failed to see anything unusual in the request.

Epstein said he’d like to see me in his office the next morning. This was quite normal because, with the family phone, I fixed the bookings and he’d ask me about venues and prices. I went down the next morning without a care in the world and he said, ‘The lads don’t want you in the group any more.’
Pete Best
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

In the meantime, Brian Epstein asked Ritchie Galvin, the drummer with Earl Preston and the TTs, about joining The Beatles. Galvin declined the offer.

Brian Epstein asked Ritch about joining The Beatles and he went to see Ritch’s dad as he was still under age. Bob Wooler was with him to. Ritch said that he didn’t agree with Pete being replaced and he didn’t like John Lennon’s sarcasm as he thought that they would fall out. Also, to my credit, he didn’t want to be leaving me as they would be working away from Liverpool quite a lot. He never regretted it and he said, ‘No, I wouldn’t have you and I wouldn’t have my kids and I wouldn’t have this life.’ I was quite surprised when they chose Ringo. He was little and skinny and weedy and had a joke of a moustache. I always thought he needed a good scrub, but it worked out OK.
Ann Upton, Ritchie Galvin’s girlfriend
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

Overall this was The Beatles’ 216th appearance at the Cavern Club, including their lunchtime shows. Although the precise number of their performances at the venue is not known, they played at least 155 lunchtime and 125 evening shows between 9 February 1961 and 3 August 1963.

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