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The Beatles live: Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand

The Beatles gave just four nights of concerts in New Zealand, starting on 22 June 1964. The trip was largely seen as less successful than previous stops on their world tour, mainly due to sound problems and police attitudes.

They performed at the Town Hall on Wellington’s Cuba Street. As on the following night, there were two shows, each of which was seen by 2,500 fans.

Prior to the concert The Beatles travelled from the Hotel St George in Auckland, without their usual police escort. The Auckland Chief Constable, Superintendent Quinn, refused, saying: “We provide such escorts only for royalty and other important visitors.”

The Beatles in Wellington, New Zealand, 22 June 1964

The first concert was likewise somewhat less than successful. The sound operator at the Town Hall had limited experience of rock ‘n’ roll shows, and was worried about the effects of turning up the speaker system. As the group came off stage an exasperated John Lennon shouted “What the f*****g hell is going on here?”

The second set was louder, but the lack of a sound check meant the sound quality was still poor. However, one positive aspect of the night was that Ringo Starr’s throat was sufficiently better for him to sing ‘Boys’ during both concerts.

We have sung through worse mics, but not very often; usually during the early days. We expected better here.

Wellington police were underprepared after the concert, having allocated just two officers to control a crowd of 5,000. The Beatles’ road manager Mal Evans was forced to leave the car and clear a path through the crowd.

The most notable thing that happened in New Zealand, although it wasn’t very good, was that the drummer from Sounds Incorporated had a girl in his room who tried to slash her wrists whilst he was out at the pub. I remember Derek panicking as the story was immediately on the wire service all over the world: ‘Suicide Attempt in Beatle Hotel’.
Last updated: 24 January 2024
Mixing, editing: A Hard Day's Night album, Long Tall Sally EP songs
The Beatles live: Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand
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