The Beatles live: Balboa Stadium, San Diego

Following a five-day break at a Beverly Hills mansion belonging to Zsa Zsa Gabor, The Beatles’ 1965 North American tour resumed on this day with a concert at the Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.

Poster for The Beatles in San Diego, 28 August 1965

The Beatles should have flown from Los Angeles to San Diego, but an airline strike meant they travelled in a hired 10-seat touring coach. The two-hour journey took them along the coastal highway.

Prior to the show the group gave their customary press conference, during which they were presented with keys to the city by four female fans. The presentation was the idea of Susan Clark, a local fan who petitioned Mayor Frank Curran with the idea.

The concert had been added to the tour itinerary on 7 June 1965, due to local demand. Previously it had been felt that San Diegans would be willing to travel to the two shows at the Hollywood Bowl on 29 and 30 August, so the city was left out until local demand forced a reconsideration.

Two promoters from the Los Angeles area, Louis Robin and Allen Tinkley, had been offered either a Salt Lake City or San Diego show by The Beatles’ American agents, General Artists Corporation, and the Balboa Stadium was agreed upon for a guaranteed appearance fee of $50,000.

Tickets for the concert were on sale for $3.50, $4.50 and $5.50. The event did not sell out, however, with just 17,013 of the 27,041 seats being occupied. For their appearance, The Beatles earned $50,135.17, only $135.17 over their guaranteed fee, and the promoters made a profit of $6,476.15.

Robin and Tinkley provided the group with four beds and sheets, five one-gallon bottles of water, 120 cups, two cases of soda, 24 assorted sandwiches, and two tubs of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The total cost for food was $33.96.

The Beatles performed 12 songs at the concert: their 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 other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, King Curtis Band, Sounds Incorporated and the Discotheque Dancers, Brenda Holloway, and Cannibal & The Headhunters. The Beatles took to the stage shortly after 9pm.

On their way back to Los Angeles after the concert, The Beatles’ tour bus broke down needed extra California Highway Patrol escorts to help them on their journey to downtown Los Angeles. They were forced to stop at a San Diego mortuary livery company, Abbott & Hast, and transferred to limousines for the remainder of the journey.

Last updated: 24 January 2024
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