Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Beatles Show Is a Musical Fiasco

Cleveland Press August 15, 1966

Theological misgivings not withstanding, the Beatles played Cleveland in the Stadium last night.

It was quite scrimmage.

It was a replay of the Beatles' Public Hall engagement of 1964 when hysterical fans stormed the stage. This time the crowd was bigger, the terrain different but the action was the same.

The Beatles, the last of five acts on the program, came on at 9:15. Before 9:30 a charging, screaming mob brought the show to a halt and it was 9:55 before it resumed.

With two near riots in two tours, Norman Weiss of General Artists Corp. -- the agency handling the English quartet in the U.S. -- said that any future visit to Cleveland would depend on having enough help.

"THIS IS NOT for the protection of the Beatles, but to protect the kids," he explained.

Norman Wain of radio station WIXY, who promoted the tour here, said that all details of protection were based on recommendations from the police chief and safety director. He said that there were 150 policemen in the Stadium plus a traffic detail of 50 outside, plus, another 300 ushers.

But all of these and a snow fence around the edge of the infield were not enough to stop a crowd of several thousand when Beatlemania took over.

THE DEAFENING screams started when the Beatles came on stage, which was located at second base. The screaming continued and the fans stood up and began milling through the first two numbers -- "Rock and Roll Music " and "She's A Woman."

With "If I Need Someone" fans began storming the fence. One girl broke through, was tackled by an agile policeman as she made it as far as a spot between first and the pitcher's mound.

A young male, better at broken field running, got past the pitcher's mound, sidestepped one officer but was brought down by a couple of more police playing the backfield.

SONG NUMBER FOUR, "Day Tripper," found the fence flattened and police overrun. The infield was filled. Some made it to the stage and were dragged off. Police tried to re-form a line in front of the stage and failed. Policemen on stage re-grouped, reached down into the mob to drag out by the arms their trapped colleagues.

The Beatles continued singing. But with the end of that number, they left the stage and WIXY disc jockeys announced the concert would not resume until the crowd returned to the stands.

It took more than 20 minutes for the crowd to settle down. Shortly before 10 the Beatles returned to sing "I Feel Fine."

THEY SQUEEZED in five more numbers before ending the concert at 10:10. After singing "Long Tall Sally" they jumped into a waiting limousine and drove off the field, barely ahead of a mob that came out of the stands and onto the grounds as the number ended.

As a total performance the show was ruined by a sound system that had been turned up past the discomfort level of human ears.

It was a sonic fiasco, a disaster of unrestrained decibels, a monotonous cacophony of over amplified noise.

Even in an area of entertainment in which standards are hazy if not downright non-existent most of the acts were without distinction.

THE BEATLES -- with experience, fame and wealth -- have acquired a degree of polish and a distinctive sound. The group which preceded them, the Cyrkle, while not in the same class, stood apart from the run of long-haired groups.

The Remains, Bobby Hebb and the Ronettes all had their followings but there was little distinction or class to their offerings.

With a sound system as bad as the one in the Stadium, most of the 24,646. paying customers must have recognized most of the songs by way of vibrations. They certainly could not have made out much of the melody and even less of the lyrics.