Live: Atlanta Stadium

The stadium doors opened at 6.21pm, and the 34,000 ticket holders began to arrive. Three barrier lines had been erected by police between the stands and the field, and 150 policemen were on hand to keep the fans from charging the stage.

An Atlanta company, Baker Audio, had been hired to supply the sound system for the concert. They brought all their available speakers, which they clustered on the field at first and third base.

John Lennon and George Harrison surveyed the venue from the third base dug-out, un-noticed by fans. They were joined by Neil Aspinall, who told them how to get to the stage for showtime, and where their car would be positioned at the end. Lennon and Harrison then returned backstage where The Beatles changed into matching white shirts and blue suits.

The concert’s comperes were Tony Taylor and Paul Drew of WQXI AM. The first act was Brenda Holloway with the King Curtis band, followed by go-go dance troupe The Discotheque Dancers, Cannibal & The Headhunters, and Sounds Incorporated.

The Beatles took to the stage at 9.37pm, running from the dug out as the crowd erupted in screams. They played 12 songs: Twist And Shout, She’s A Woman, I Feel Fine, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Ticket To Ride, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Can’t Buy Me Love, Baby’s In Black, I Wanna Be Your Man, A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and I’m Down.

By 1965 The Beatles had become used to being unable to hear themselves play. FB ‘Duke’ Mewborn, the boss of Atlanta hi-fi store Baker Audio, decided to give the group something that had never been done before: monitor speakers on the stage, pointing towards the group, to allow them to hear their voices and instruments.

It was adequate. We got over it, we were on top of it. You could hear them amidst the screaming.
Duke Mewborn

It wasn’t just on stage that the sound was different. The state-of-the-art setup on the field included four Altec 1570 amplifiers, each giving 175 watts of sound, which in turn powered two stacks of Altec A7 speakers. Although unremarkable today, in 1965 it was an unheard of amount of power for a pop concert.

The difference was noted from the stage, with Paul McCartney exclaiming after She’s A Woman: “It’s loud, isn’t it? Great!”

Being able to hear themselves enabled The Beatles to play tighter than usual, and they were delighted with the results. Afterwards Brian Epstein suggested that Mewborn deal with the sound for their other shows, but the offer was turned down.

After the concert ended The Beatles sprinted to their waiting limousine. Accompanied by a police escort, they were taken to the airport. The group’s aeroplane took off just before midnight, bound for Houston.

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2 responses on “Live: Atlanta Stadium

  1. Bev Haut

    I was there! I was at the press conference. I was 15 years old, and my question was the one to Paul about Jane Asher. I wish I still had the pictures, but they were burned in a fire. But I DO still have their cigarette butts, LOL.

    What happened was I called the AJC and told ‘em they should send a teenaged girl to the show and have her write a column about her impressions. They asked me if I wanted to do it, and OF COURSE, I said yes! I was in the front row at the press conference, and sat in the press box for the show. But I held hands with Paul for a few moments, and Ringo pronounced my name “Bubberly” plus I had a “moment” with John.

    Wow. Good times …

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