The Beatles were due to have played an open-air show at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field on this day. However, the promoter failed to provide a cover for the group, and heavy rain began shortly before they were due to take the stage.
The support acts on The Beatles’ final tour were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes. The downpour began after each of the acts had completed their sets. The promoter originally insisted that The Beatles should perform, but they refused unless he could guarantee their safety.
In Cincinnati on August 20, torrential rain caused the cancellation of the show at Crosley Field Stadium, the first and only time this happened during The Beatles’ touring years. The decision to put off the boys’ appearance was taken when Mal [Evans] was thrown several feet across the stage while plugging into a wet amplifier. We were advised that touching any of the stage’s rain-soaked electrical equipment could be lethal so Brian Epstein had no option but to call off the concert.
John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me
The rain was serious enough for The Beatles to have risked electrocution had they performed. As the heavens opened there were 35,000 fans inside the stadium, but the show was postponed and rescheduled for noon on the following day.
Cincinnati was an open-air venue, and they had a bandstand in the centre of the ballpark, with a canvas top on it. It was really bad weather, pouring with rain, and when Mal got there to set up the equipment he said, ‘Where’s the electricity power feed?’ And the fella said, ‘What do you mean, electricity? I thought they played guitars.’ He didn’t even know we played electric guitars.
It was so wet that we couldn’t play. They’d brought in the electricity, but the stage was soaking and we would have been electrocuted, so we cancelled – the only gig we ever missed.
The Beatles had performed in Cincinnati on one other occasion, on 27 August 1964.
Also on this day...
- 2009: Paul McCartney live: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas
- 1969: Mixing, editing: I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
- 1968: Recording, mixing, editing: Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Etcetera, Wild Honey Pie
- 1965: Live: White Sox Park, Chicago
- 1964: Live: Convention Center, Las Vegas
- 1963: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Bournemouth
- 1962: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Crewe
- 1961: Live: Hambleton Hall, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.