Following the Hamburg date on their three-stop German tour of 1966, The Beatles began their long journey to Japan.
They began by returning first to London Airport, before catching the inaugural flight by Japanese Airlines. This took The Beatles across the North Pole, but an adverse weather warning caused their flight to be grounded at Anchorage in Alaska.
The day after the Hamburg concert we had a flight to Tokyo, so we were driven straight out of the concert, out of Hamburg to a schloss – a big castle of a hotel – where we stayed the night, and then we were flown to Heathrow and put on the plane to Japan. Unfortunately there was a hurricane hitting Tokyo and our plane got diverted to Alaska.
I remember looking out of the window on the flight in, and Alaska was incredible: mountains, lush green pine forests, wonderful lakes and rivers. As we were coming lower and lower, the lakes and the trees were thinning out a bit, but when we landed suddenly there was a huge, bulldozed mess that Man had made in the middle of the lush beauty.
I thought, ‘Oh, here we are again.’ Mankind keeps giving us real tacky things until eventually the planet’s covered in them. The nasty little hotels that they throw up – boxes made out of concrete. It was so obvious there in Alaska. Normally they are absorbed into the city, but in the middle of a million acres of pristine forest they stick out a bit.
The Beatles stayed at the Anchorage Westward Hotel, and in the evening visited the Top Of The World club on the hotel’s top floor. They were also given a brief tour of the city by a local DJ.
The group spent nine hours in Anchorage. Their party took over an entire floor of Westwood House, but within 30 minutes of their arrival the area was swamped by fans. A local radio station camped in the grounds and broadcast regular reports until their departure.