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The Beatles live: Candlestick Park, San Francisco: their final concert

The final show saw perhaps a slightly more energetic performance than usual from The Beatles, and was longer than their usual 20-25 minute duration. They barely paused between songs, although their on-stage patter was notably looser and less scripted than normal.

Although I didn’t fancy my chances of making a brilliant recording of the concert, one thing in my favour was the great distance between the stage and the stands at this particular venue. Because of this, I guessed I might be able to capture sound from the stage without picking up too much of the non-stop screams and shouts of the fans coming from the stands. The fact that it was an open-air gig also helped. In an enclosed auditorium it would have been impossible to pick up the sound of the music without picking up too much crowd noise.

When the last of the supporting acts came off stage I went out on the field ahead of the boys. When John, Paul, George and Ringo ran out across the grass a roar of approval went up from the stands and, as they did a quickie tune-up on stage, each chord they played caused a further roar.

One of the US deejays in our travelling party, who I had prevented from recording an earlier concert on the tour, saw me holding my mike up in the air and mimicked my words of warning back to me: ‘On Brian Epstein’s orders there must be no recording of the performances. Please turn off.’ With a finger to my lips, I indicated to him to shut up, I didn’t want extraneous voices on my ‘official’ concert recording.

Up on stage one of the boys yelled ‘Hello’ to test his voice mike and in another moment the group tore into Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock And Roll Music’.

Tony Barrow
John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me

Particularly revealing are McCartney’s comments before ‘Paperback Writer’, during which he questions the group’s future; and ‘Long Tall Sally’, which may have carried a veiled reference to the withdrawn ‘butcher’ artwork for Yesterday… And Today.

Thank you! Thank you very much everybody, and hello, good evening. We’d like to carry on with a song, not surprisingly, by, er, written by George. And this song was on our Rubber Soul LP. And the song is called ‘If I Needed, er, Someone’!
Paul McCartney
Thank you everybody, thank you. We’d like to carry on now, er, carry on together, at will – one together and all for one – with another number that used to be a single record back in, er… long time ago. And this one’s about the naughty lady called ‘Day Tripper’!
Thank you! Thank you. We’d like to carry on with something that’s very old indeed. And this one was recorded in about 1959, and it’s called ‘I Feel Fine’.
George Harrison
Like to carry on with a song from Yesterday… And Today. And this was a single as well. And it features Paul singing a very nice song called ‘Yesterday’.
George Harrison
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you. And it’s, er, it’s a bit chilly. We’d like to do the next number now which is a special request, for all the wonderful backroom boys on this tour. And the song is ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, and to sing it, Ringo!
Paul McCartney
Thank you Ringo. Lovely working with you, Ringo. We’d like to do another song now from our BBC [sic] album. And this ones called “He’s a real ‘Nowhere Man’, sitting in his nowhere land”. Oh yeah!
John Lennon
We’d like to carry on, I think. We’re not really sure yet. I’d like to carry on, certainly. Definitely. Well, shall we just watch this for a bit? Just watch it. The next song is called ‘Paperback Writer’.
Paul McCartney
Thank you very much everybody. Everybody, wonderful. Frisco, butchered. We’d like to say that, erm, it’s been wonderful being here, in this wonderful sea air. Sorry about the weather. And we’d like to ask you to join in and, er, clap, sing, talk, do anything. Anyway, the song is… good night.
Paul McCartney, introducing ‘Long Tall Sally’

Just before leaving the stage, John Lennon teasingly played the opening bars of ‘In My Life’, before running off to join the rest of the group backstage.

The Beatles were quickly taken to the airport in an armoured car. They flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles, arriving at 12.50am. During the flight George Harrison was heard to exclaim: “That’s it, then. I’m not a Beatle anymore.”

Last updated: 24 January 2024
The Beatles live: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Travel: Los Angeles to London
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