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The Beatles live: Princess Theatre, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Beatles gave two concerts at the Princess Theatre at 130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, in the Kowloon region of Hong Kong on 9 June 1964. The support act was The Maori Hi-Five.

In Hong Kong, the paper said, ‘The Beatles fought a losing battle against the screams.’ Compared with other audiences, they were quiet.

The two concerts in Hong Kong were held at the Princess Theatre, a quaintly old-fashioned venue. It wasn’t full – ticket prices were high – but those who did come were dedicated and noisy fans. I went to the first show as [John Lennon’s aunt] Mimi’s escort. We walked there. There was nothing for me to do backstage; the press here was minimal, and Neil and Mal were more than adequately assisted by the tour-organizer, Johnny Clapson (from the London office of Arthur Howes, the tour’s promoter). Johnny was a good chap, a wee bit deaf, with a loud bark but little bite. He had great experience of travel and entertainers. He was enormously helpful with everything, from the bullying of officials – essential ‘on the road’ – to the most fraught task of all: helping Neil to rouse The Beatles from sleep.
Derek Taylor
Fifty Years Adrift

The venue held 1,700 seats, although neither concert was a sell-out. Beatlemania had reached Hong Kong, but the promoter’s decision to charge HK $75 – the equivalent to an average week’s wage at the time – meant many of The Beatles’ fans were unable to see them perform.

Hong Kong was a slightly flat performance in a smallish place. They behaved themselves, and it looked like a khaki audience. We played, but I don’t think we enjoyed the show too much – although at least we could be heard.

The Beatles did no sightseeing during their stay in Hong Kong, believing the fans’ attentions may prove too dangerous. The following day they flew from Kai Tak airport to Sydney, Australia. They did, however, take delivery this morning of tailored suits, “very smart and shiny, with the tightest of drainpipe trousers,” according to their press officer Derek Taylor.

Thus well suited, we slipped away at Clapson’s timely urgings. About 500 fans, mostly European, witnessed our reunion with BOAC and very soon, as the plane swept over the South China Sea, I found myself gazing down on the famous harbour.
Derek Taylor
Fifty Years Adrift

On 3 October 1970 the Princess Theatre was sold to a Hong Kong hotel group. It was closed in March 1973 and a hotel was built on the site.

Last updated: 24 January 2024
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