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The Beatles live: Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston

The Beatles performed two shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, each of which was seen by 12,000 fans.

They had arrived in Houston at 2am that morning. Their chartered aeroplane was surrounded by teenagers after landing at Houston International Airport, with some managing to walk on the wings and knock on the windows.

The Beatles stayed at the Sheraton-Lincoln hotel while in Houston. Some enterprising teenage fans donned maids’ uniforms to sneak into the hotel, although a hotel spokesman said: “We haven’t hired any 14-year-olds here. We stopped them all.”

A press conference took place at the hotel, after which The Beatles were taken to the venue in an armoured van. Conditions backstage were chaotic, with no dressing room, and the hot weather made the conditions less tolerable.

The Beatles at Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, 19 August 1965

Their set for both shows featured 12 songs: the group’s truncated version of ‘Twist And Shout’, followed by ‘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’.

The concerts were among the most frenzied of the tour, with Beatlemania at its height. The compère, local DJ Russ Knight – known as The Weird Beard – threatened to cancel the first show prior to ‘Help!’, saying: “People are getting hurt on the front two rows. The show will be stopped if you don’t move back. This is the Houston Security Beatle Division.” John Lennon sarcastically replied with the words: “Thank you very much, that was wonderful.”

Tickets for the shows were $5 each, and The Beatles were paid $85,000 for the two performances. The other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, Brenda Holloway and the King Curtis Band, Cannibal & The Headhunters, and Sounds Incorporated.

The concerts were recorded and broadcast by local radio station KILT, which was sponsoring the event. The recordings have since been circulated widely as bootlegs.

Sam Houston Coliseum was demolished in 1998. The site was redeveloped into the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2003.

Last updated: 24 January 2024
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