Live: State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis

The Beatles performed two shows on this day, which were watched by a total of 29,337 people. The other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

The nights before and after they stayed at the Speedway Motel on West 16th Street. Prior to the first concert Ringo Starr went missing. He arrived just minutes before they were due to go on stage, explaining that he he had lost track of time while driving a police car around a nearby race track.

The first show began at 6.21pm, and was watched by 12,413 fans. Afterwards they held a press conference, before returning to the stage for the second show. This time 16,924 were at the venue. The Beatles later said the fans’ reception was “quite quiet” in comparison to the other dates on the tour.

Indianapolis was good. As we were leaving, on the way to the airport, they took us round the Indy circuit, the 500 oval, in a Cadillac. It was fantastic. I couldn’t believe how long the straightway was; and to be on the banking and see all the grandstands was great.
George Harrison
Anthology

For the two concerts The Beatles earned $85,231.93, after $1,719.02 was deducted as state income tax.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

18 responses on “Live: State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis

  1. Susan Markley

    I was there. The performance that I attended was not inside the Coliseum, but was outdoors at the grandstand on the racetrack (mostly used for horse races), that you can see in the map image. Perhaps they thought it was quiet, but I heard almost nothing but the kids in the audience screaming.

    1. Joe Post author

      Hi Susan. Many thanks for sharing your memories with us. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of those who saw the group play. Maybe there was plenty of screaming, just slightly less than usual!

      I’ve moved the map point to inside the racetrack area, but if you can help me pinpoint more closely where the stage was that’d be very helpful.

      Joe

      1. Jerry B. Williams

        Joe:

        Right now, I don’t remember what I may have clicked on that brought me to this particular page, but I was at the outside Beatles concert in 1964. I was 15 at the time and a neighbor lady worked for the Indianapolis Star and got 5 tickets for all of us “guys” in the neighborhood. We were all Beatles fans at the time.

        I can clearly remember that we were seated in (according to your map) the large rectangular building immediately adjacent to the track at the bottom and just “right-of-center”. The stage was setup basically centered to the large rectangular building on the track. We were seated just “right-of-center” in the building and up in the 2nd tier of seating from the front.

        As someone else has posted, I think this concert was the beginning of my own personal hearing loss. NOT from The BeaTles…..but, from THE GIRLS!! Their screaming was SO LOUD and at a frequency that just pierced your brain!!

        As it turns out, I must have shot at least 2 or 3 rolls of film during the concert, but to this day, I have NOT been able to locate them!! Shooting that concert began a “hobby” of mine of photographing concerts for 30 years!! I have some of the most amazing concert photos of The MOODY BLUES, YES, Blue Oyster Cult, Led Zeppelin, AEROSMITH, Uriah Heep, James Gang, Bob Dylan, Jay Geils Band, Bachman Turner Overdrive and on and on and on!!

        As you can see by my e-mail address, I am involved in the music business, as I was (but, differently) back then. I used to get “All Area Access” pass from the concert promoters during the 70′s and was able to take amazing photos from RIGHT ON STAGE!! If I only had the extra money, I would publish a big photo-book of my concert photos!!

        Anyway…..I hope this helps you!!

        Regards,

        JBWilliams

  2. Larry Rogers

    I was a 9 yr old boy going to see the Beatles this summer at the Indiana State Fair. However, I have very good recall of this, my first concert. I remember walking around the fairgrounds and seeing girls with Beatles buttons with words on them ‘I Love John’ ‘I Love Paul’ and such. There weren’t many girls wearing ‘I Love George’ or Ringo buttons though. My father was a pediatrician and was the doctor of the ticket manager of the State Fair and he got 4 tickets and sent his 11 yr old daughter and son to this along with our older cousin and her friend. (Very cool, dad)

    The Beatles came out and played the east end of the Coliseum, which for people that saw concerts there in years following was maybe the only time anyone played this end. The west end became the common location. I remember I think John beginning to sing ‘If I Fell’ and the screaming became so loud I had to put my fingers in my ears. I mean, there is loud and there is Beatles loud. I think the beginning of my hearing loss began on this day :) Since this time I have seen many major concerts but none even began to come close to the fervor of this hot summer day inside the Coliseum.

    There were men in white coats running around with stretchers picking up girls who had fainted and carrying them off hurridly. Lots of girls, thousands, maybe I was the only boy in the place. And many were out of control. I just stared at them wondering what was the big deal.

    It is interesting that the Beatles would later comment on this concert that it was “quite quiet” only I don’t know if they had started drugs by this time or had earplugs in because it was anything but quiet. It was unbearably loud and it never stopped, relentless.

    I mostly remember just looking around at the girls who were screaming. I was in a bit of shock that someone could lose control like this over a bunch of guys up there singing. But, the impression was everlasting: THESE GUYS WERE C-O-O-L.

    After this I remember guys began wearing Beatles boots. I thought they were pretty cool but parents frowned upon them because they looked like something ‘hoods’ would wear.

    After the concert ended, we exited the southeast corner of the Coliseum. As we walked away there was a sudden shrilly, high pitched scream that went up and I turned to see what had happened, only to find a surge coming towards me that to this day kind of gives me chills. It was the feeling being trampled underfoot and it was not pleasant. I looked up and there was a surge of girls then the Beatles were running right past us, within 3 feet, and got into a black car that was parked nearby. I have a memory of one of the Beatles brushing against me slightly as the cops cleared their way for them. It was thrilling in a sense, but it was over in maybe 10 seconds. But how thrilling can it be for a 9 year old, anyway? Wish I’d been a few years older.

    This is one of the memories you have in your lifetime that cannot be erased and I would say that nobody will ever cause a commotion and stir that the Beatles did. And the decibels of the screams given Elvis, especially Michael Jackson, don’t approach the levels given the Beatles.

    One of a kind. Originals. The best.

    1. Joe Post author

      Larry – thanks so much for that account! I love to hear from people who were lucky enough to see The Beatles live. I was born six years after they split up, so can only imagine the excitement.

  3. bill talbott

    I went to both concerts and the above facts are not exactly correct. I was 14 at the time and was seated stage left in the green box seats. The stage was at the WEST end of the coliseum for the aftenoon concert and the evening concert was at the grandstand at the dirt track (north) across the street. I worked for the fairboard and fairgrounds through high school and college in the coliseum and know the building very well. The sound system in the coliseum was large and always excellent (same sound company as the Speedway-Webb) and that is why the Beatles probably could somewhat hear their music. But trust be both concerts were very loud with the screeming but you could always hear the music-see and hear the live video and sounds tracks from the coliseum concerts. The Beatles exited the west end and south end back)-probably through the dressing room of the coliseum via the tunnel under the stands per the manager at the time. -trust me folks I know this building well. Both concerts seem long but actually lasted 45 min. Very Very hot (no AC in those days) in the coliseum, the grandstand was at night and was more bearable. I have two of the wooden seats in my basement that we replaced years ago.

      1. Joe Post author

        Hi Tim. The best thing would be to take it to an auction house for a valuation. As a rule, I’d imagine the value depends on how many were made, how many still exist and what condition it’s in.

        This page – http://www.rarebeatles.com/photopg7/kya.htm – says a poster from The Beatles’ final show at Candlestick Park is worth $3,000. However, I don’t know how up-to-date that is, and obviously interest in the final concert is probably greater than most others. However, I’ve got a newspaper advert for a 2008 auction detailing a poster from a Welsh concert in 1963, and the estimate was £5-6,000 (approx $10,000, though I don’t know what it eventually fetched). That one was probably worth more because it was a smaller event and fewer posters were made. But I’m not an expert – best speak to someone who is!

        If you’re able to scan or take a good photo of the poster, I’d love to feature it here. Please contact me via the link at the foot of this page.

  4. Ruth

    I was at the concert in the early evening. I remember lots of sailors were there in white uniforms. We were sitting up high in the stands, indoors, and had a good view of the stage and whole crowd. I don’t know directions, but the stage was to our left. It was the first time I had been back to the Coliseum since the horrible explosion the year before. What impressed me the most about the Beatles was how polite they were and professional in their performance. They bowed all together after each song. Their hair seemed so long and you could see why they were called mop-tops. It seems funny now to think how much fuss was created by their appearance. There was a lot of screaming, but not right near us, as we were mostly adults in that area, and we could hear the music well enough. It was a wonderful show, and I’m so glad to have seen the Beatles live.

  5. Eric Johnson

    I was inside the Coliseum that day in Indy. My buddy and I had front row seats. The Beatles were all dressed in gray nauru jackets and pants. I don’t possibly know why the fab four thought the crowd was “quite quiet”.
    The thousands of screaming girls were so loud and it never let up…we could barely hear the songs they were playing, yet we were only 30 feet away from the stage! It was a moment in time I will never forget!

  6. James Branson

    At the first performance inside, they started letting the crowd into the lobby. But were not letting anyone go to their seats. Alot of pushing and shoving. Saw a guys arm break a window glass. Remember at least one kid knocked down. Fortunately they quickly yelled to let them go to the seats. It was pretty scary. I was 16. Could have been a tragedy. I was ready to leave!
    Glad my older brother talked me into staying! It was a great thrill to see The Beatles live!

  7. Brad Baker

    My father was the MC for the second show in the grandstands, WIBC morning DJ Bouncin Bill Baker. We live on the north west side of town behind Broadmoor golf course. We had a police escort to the concert from our home and when we arrived in my fathers Greenbrier van painted up with WIBC logos and Bouncin Bill Baker signs all over a crowd swarmed the van thinking that The Beatles were inside, my brothers and I loved it but my mother was a little worried. I was only six but I remembered it well and sitting in the second row from the stage, girls kept pushing everyone as I stood on the wooded chair to get a better look. My father came out on stage wearing a green Nehru jacket and a Beatles wig, which Ringo took off his head when they came out! My older brother was fortunate enough to meet all The Beatles back stage in their dressing room. It was a great memory of a magical evening, I’m still hoping to find someone who might have taken a picture with my father on stage that night and get a copy for our entire family. We still have a complete roll of Beatle wallpaper from the radio station left over and other memorabilia, which my sister is avid collector. A very fond memory! My Best Brad W. Baker

  8. Dan

    You have the Google map of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. As you zoom in, it shows the damage caused by the winds that caused the deaths of several people during a concert where the stage collapsed a few years ago.

  9. jeaneb

    I too was at the early show in the coliseum and I was one of the screaming girls. I really loved the music so I tried not to be so loud that I couldn’t hear anything. It didn’t matter though, everyone around me and my friend were so loud we couldn’t hear much else. My father drove us up from Lexington, Ky. and we barely got there in time for the seating. I remember Jackie De Shannon wearing a bright blue fringed disco dress right before the Beatles came out. When they came out and started singing it was so surreal I couldn’t believe I was really seeing them in front of me. The memory maybe a little faded but some parts I remember so well. We couldn’t get tickets for the second show but my Dad let us hang around the fence by the tunnel where they were driven out to the stage area in a black limo. I was a huge George fan and he actually waved at us as they drove by, it was magical, there are no other words. After that my friends and fellow outcasts at our preppy school had Beatle parties where we shared bootleg records and videos not yet released in the states. Someone’s dad went to Europe and brought them back for us. It was huge in my life to be there and some of my best memories.

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