Live: Riverpark Ballroom, Chester

The Beatles played at the Riverpark Ballroom in Chester on four Thursdays in the summer of 1962. This was the second show.

It was also John Lennon‘s wedding night. He had married Cynthia Powell earlier in the day at the Mount Pleasant register office in Liverpool, but remarkably fulfilled this booking rather than spend the evening with his new bride.

The support act on this occasion were The Remo Four. John Lennon was reportedly furious that they performed some songs that The Beatles also had in their set, and walked on to the stage demanding to know if they were planning to play any more.

The ballroom was long and thin and the dressing room was to the right of the stage. Halfway through our set, mid song, John Lennon jumped up on the stage and yelled at us:

‘How many of our f***ing numbers are you going to play?’

I was very very annoyed and jumped up from my drumming seat, I was the nearest to him. Luckily Dave Williams calmed me down. We were not some up and coming group we were very experienced and you just don’t do that to fellow artists.

Well in those days if you lived in a rough area you could always look after yourself and I just reacted instinctively.

After Dave calmed me down we just carried on playing. After all, at the time they were just another group, yes they were popular but so was Rory Storm, Faron, Blue Genes, Kingsize and Gerry. And everyone covered the popular numbers, our own and each others.

We found out when we came off stage that John had got married that day, Brian Epstein was best man and wanted to keep the wedding hush hush as he felt it would mar the Beatles image with the fans when they found out. Paul and George were also at the wedding as witnesses. John’s Aunt Mimi had boycotted the wedding because she strongly disapproved. Brian treated the wedding party to a wedding breakfast at Reece’s Cafeteria in Liverpool. It was also revealed later that Cynthia was pregnant.

So bearing all this in mind we forgave him, it must have been a very demanding day for him.

The Beatles’ other performances at the Riverpark Ballroom were on 16, 30 August, and 13 September 1962.

The building, at 2 Union Street, Chester, was originally the King’s Arms Tavern. In the early 20th century it was enlarged and became the Grosvenor Skating Rink, then the Broadway Dancing Academy Ballroom, known as the Ack. In the 1950s it was renamed the Riverpark Ballroom, but closed in 1963 and was later demolished. It is now the site of a bank’s office.

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