Live: Palace Theatre Club, Stockport

The Beatles performed two concerts on this day, both in venues they hadn’t played before.

The first was at the Palace Theatre Club in Turncroft Lane, Stockport, Cheshire, their only performance in the town. Afterwards they drove 10 miles to their next booking, at the Southern Sporting Club in Manchester.

The Beatles played for around 30 minutes, to 300 mostly screaming fans. The booking had been made prior to the success of the Please Please Me single, but was honoured by Brian Epstein despite the group being able to command much higher fees by June 1963.

They were superb and the highlight for me was John Lennon singing Twist And Shout. He really belted it out and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

The place was electric and they were so raw – I’d never seen anything like it before. We were used to seeing crooners so it was like a breath of fresh air when The Beatles arrived. It was very exciting because they weren’t polished at all, and it was that sheer energy that made the night so special and memorable.

The place was in chaos with hordes of teenagers, mainly girls, screaming – which was unusual for the Theatre Club as it was a members club and the audience was generally older.

Other staff had difficulty getting in due to the huge crowds milling about outside. The screaming could be heard in the club and every word The Beatles sung could be heard outside for the unfortunate people without tickets.

At their request I took drinks down to their dressing room – a dozen bottles of Coke for which I was thanked. I just wish I had asked for their autographs, but at the time I was used to seeing celebrities and didn’t fully appreciate the impact these four were going to make later – it’s a pity, they’d have been worth a bob or two nowadays.

Tony Philbin
Former barman, Palace Theatre Club

The Palace Theatre Club stood on the corner of Turncroft Lane and Hall Street. It underwent a number of name changes before finally closing in 1995.

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