The Beatles in Philadelphia
By Sheila Dress  

24 September 1964

The BeatlesReader SHEILA DRESS of 3,134 Princeton Avenue, Philadelphia tells us of THE BEATLES appearances in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

“The Fab Four were in Atlantic City’s Convention Hall on Sunday, 30 August, and their concert was scheduled to start at 8.30 p.m.

“My two sisters, a girl-friend and I went down to Atlantic City for the day (about 70 miles from Philadelphia) and walked on the Boardwalk (promenade). Atlantic City is the most popular seaside resort in New Jersey and is much like Blackpool.

“At 7 p.m. we went down to Convention Hall to get in and the waiting line was blocks long on either side of the hall. We didn’t get in ‘till 8.20. Fortunately, all tickets had been sold months before, so that problem was eliminated.

“Convention Hall is a huge place and 20,000 kids were on hand to see the Beatles. The master of ceremonies gave everyone a strict lecture about sitting down in their seats, but that wasn’t observed too well.

“Four other acts: THE BILL BLACK COMBO, THE EXCITERS, THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS and JACKIE DE SHANNON preceded the Beatles. Everything was pandemonium when they finally came on! We had seats in the 11th row centre orchestra, so we could see and hear pretty well. My youngest sister and I took pictures, but none of them came out. To sum up their performance, they were absolutely FAB! They were only on for 30 minutes and sang eleven songs, but it was still great.

“Their concert in Philadelphia on 2 September was exactly the same except that it started at 8 o’clock. One act, the Righteous brothers, was replaced by CLARENCE ‘FROGMAN’ HENRY. Unfortunately, we didn’t have such good seats in Philadelphia as in Atlantic City, so we couldn’t see as well. We could hear them all right though.

“Philadelphia’s Convention Hall is smaller than Atlantic City’s, so there were only about 12,037 teenagers there. The kids were much noisier though and everyone had to stand on the back of the seats to see anything because the seats weren’t elevated.

“Rose DeWolf, reporter for the Inquirer, wrote of the Philadelphia Press Conference: “The Beatles were asked, ‘What’s the best city you’ve every played in?’ They answered, ‘Liverpool.’”

“Another newspaper reported a question and answer session with the group.

The Beatles in 1964 (courtesy Parlophone Records)“Q: (to Paul McCartney) – “Do you find any difference in teenagers of different countries you visit?”

“A: “Only in their accents”.

“Q: “What do you think of serious music?”

“A: (Lennon) – “It’s rock ‘n’ roll. Of course, all music is serious. It depends on who’s listening to it.”

“Q: “What do you know of Elvis Presley.”

“A: (Ringo Starr) – Some of his earlier stuff is good. Don’t care for what he’s been doing recently.”

“Q: “Where would you be with crew cuts?”

“A: (Lennon) – “I don’t think it would make any difference. Our sound was the original thing. The funny part came later.”

“The police chief in Philadelphia spent two weeks preparing for the Beatles appearance there and Ringo told him: “You chaps gave us the safest and most protection we’ve had in any city.”


Editor’s Notes: Regarding the Convention Hall in Atlantic City: George Hamid, who owned the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, had booked the Beatles to appear at the Convention Hall three days after the Democratic Party National Convention had been held there, on 30 August 1964.

Despite the fact that the population of Atlantic City was only 60,000, the concert was completely sold out in advance, with over 19,000 fans crammed into the hall.

Police were stationed outside the hall at 5.p.m. as there were already almost 1,000 fans gathered. When the Beatles party arrived almost an hour later, the crowds surged forward. A fan jumped in between a radio car and the Beatles limousine and had her legs jammed between the vehicles.

The police helped the group to get into the stage door and a press conference took place, supervised by Derek Taylor. There were various questions, one of which asked, of all the cities they had been to, which one did they like most and Lennon answered, ‘Liverpool.’

A 15ft high platform had been specially erected in front of the stage and the group played on this, protected from the audience, who remained in their seats, by a line of eighteen policemen.

After the show, it seemed it would be impossible for them to leave the hall in the limousine. A marked laundry truck was requested and the Beatles climbed inside and made their escape.

The Beatles remained in Atlantic City for two days but were virtually prisoners in their hotel rooms.

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