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Two girls attending the Beatles concert in Philadelphia, USA on August 16, 1966, display mixed emotions as the band performed before a crowd of about 21,000 people. Barricades were erected about 150 feet from the stage and police kept the lively set under control with an occasional fan trying to climb the barricades. (AP Photo)

These girls were having a good time, I guess.

 

Today’s show was at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium (not be confused with Washington’s RFK Stadium), a cavernous football venue capable of holding 60,000 people. Somewhat surprisingly, The Beatles only managed to draw about 20,000. Maybe it had something to do with the controversy surrounding John Lennon’s comments vis-a-vis a certain Nazarene? Seems unlikely; this is the northern seaboard we’re talking about, not Alabama. I’m told that the weather was foul, with lightning flashing throughout the show, but I doubt that kept many Beatlemaniacs away.

You can’t say Philly isn’t a rock’n’roll town. In later years, acts like Peter Frampton, the J. Geils Band, Lynard Skynard, and of course the Stones would regularly pack the place. But 1966 was the era of the package tour, where you had to sit through four opening acts to see the headliner play a half-hour. Does that explain the relatively sparse attendance? Probably not — this is The Beatles we’re talking about, after all — and I’ll bet you that in the intervening half-century, a lot more than 20,000 people have claimed that they were there. Just about everyone who was alive in California in August of 66 claims to have been at The Beatles’ last show at Candlestick.

There isn’t much film available of the shows on this tour, and most of what does exist is extremely low-quality, so I haven’t posted much of it. Here’s 24 seconds of The Beatles in Philadelphia, in case you’re interested:

 

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