In Chicago today The Beatles held another press conference and played two concerts. The press conference, again, was dominated by questions about John’s Jesus comments. Here’s a typical exchange:

Q: A disc jockey from Birmingham, Alabama, who actually started most of the repercussions, has demanded an apology from you.

Lennon: He can have it. I apologise to him. If he’s upset and he really means it, you know, then I’m sorry. I’m sorry I said it for the mess it’s made, but I never meant it as an anti-religious thing, or anything. You know, I can’t say anything more than that. There’s nothing else to say, really, no more words.

And that should have been the end of it, but of course it wasn’t.

Q: If Jesus were alive today in a physical form, not a metaphysical one, he would find “Eleanor Rigby” a very religious song, a song of concern with human experience and need. I’m curious about your expression of that.

Lennon: Well, I don’t like supposing that if Jesus were alive now, knowing what he’d like to say or do. But if he were the real Jesus, the Jesus as he was before, “Eleanor Rigby” wouldn’t mean much to him. But if it did come across his mind, he’d think that, probably.

Paul McCartney: It was written because there are lonely people, and uhh, it was just a song about…

George Harrison: And we had to have another track to fill up the LP.

It’s funny that George, the spiritual Beatle, was the most cynical about this whole thing. It was he who liked to point out that having people burn Beatle albums was good for business. He also wrote “Taxman.” A complicated cat, George.

The concerts took place at the International Amphitheater, with shows at 3 and 7:30. The opening acts were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes, and The Beatles played 11 songs:

  • Rock and Roll Music
  • She’s a Woman
  • If I Needed Someone
  • Day Tripper
  • Baby’s in Black
  • I Feel Fine
  • Yesterday
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Nowhere Man
  • Paperback Writer
  • I’m Down

Notable by their absence are all the songs from the newly released Revolver, which this tour was ostensibly promoting. Although most of these songs would have been difficult to play because they depended on studio effects, session musicians, or tape manipulation, you’d think the boys could have worked up a passable version of “She Said She Said” or “Yellow Submarine.” I think they were just so fed up with touring at this point that they said screw it, we’re not going to bother. Every show brought them one step closer to the last one they would ever play, now just 17 days away.

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