In the morning of 22 August 1965 The Beatles held a press conference at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, before flying to Portland, Oregon.
Shortly before their arrival in Portland one of the four engines on their Lockheed Electra aeroplane caught fire. John Lennon was frightened enough to quickly write a few messages which he enclosed in a film canister for safety. Fortunately for all, the plane landed without further incident, and a relieved Lennon was heard to shout: “Beatles, women and children first!”
The Beatles performed two shows at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, before a total of 20,000 people. Tickets for each of the shows were priced at $4, $5 and $6. There were also a number of pink tickets for the Coliseum’s upper level which were free.
The concerts took place at 3.30pm and 8pm. The Beatles’ setlist featured 11 songs: 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. Additionally, the second show opened with a truncated version of Twist And Shout.
The support acts on the bill were Brenda Holloway and the King Curtis Band, Cannibal & The Headhunters, and Sounds Incorporated.
Among The Beatles’ guests backstage were Carl Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys. In the audience for one of the shows was beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who wrote a poem about the event titled Portland Coliseum:
A brown piano in diamond
iron run wired
hanging organs, vox
A single whistling sound of ten thousand children’s
pierce the ears
and following up the belly
bliss the moment arrived
Apparition, four brown English
jacket christhair boys
Goofed Ringo battling bright
Silent George hair patient
Short black-skulled Paul
with the guitar
Lennon the Captain, his mouth
a triangular smile,
all jump together to End
some tearful memory song
The million children
the thousand words
bounce in their seats, bash
each other’s sides, press
legs together nervous
Scream again & claphand
become one Animal
in the New World Auditorium
–hands waving myriad
snakes of thought
screetch beyond hearing
while a line of police with
folded arms stands
Sentry to contain the red
that rises upward to the
The Beatles’ contract for the show was posted on the internet in January 2013. The fifth clause in the contract received particular attention, and praise for the group. It said: “Artists will not be required to perform before a segregated audience.”
The Beatles flew from Portland shortly after their second and final show in the city. Their destination was Los Angeles, where they arrived shortly before dawn. The Electra was out of action so they flew in a Constellation aeroplane.
Also on this day...
- 2012: John Lennon’s killer denied parole for seventh time
- 2012: Magical Mystery Tour to be released on DVD and Blu-ray
- 1969: The Beatles’ final photo shoot
- 1968: Recording: Back In The USSR
- 1968: Ringo Starr quits The Beatles
- 1968: Cynthia Lennon sues John for divorce
- 1967: Recording: Your Mother Should Know
- 1966: Junior press conference: Warwick Hotel, New York City
- 1966: Press conference: Warwick Hotel, New York City
- 1964: Live: Empire Stadium, Vancouver, Canada
- 1963: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Bournemouth
- 1963: Television: Day By Day
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime) – The Beatles’ first television appearance
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.