Welcome to the latest installment of The Beatles Rarity Of The Week (now available in podcast form). This week’s BROW takes a look back at August 29, 1966 when The Beatles performed their last gig on their final tour. This run through of “Day Tripper” at Candlestick Park, San Francisco CA shows how the craziness of the period had taken it’s toll on The Beatles’ ability to play well.
The way things had been developing over the previous couple of years had rendered touring unbearable for the band. With the primitive equipment of the time they were not even able to hear themselves play over the mania and they recognized that this was making it hard not to get sloppy. The added complexity of the arrangements on their latest album Revolver was such that it could not be reproduced on stage to their satisfaction anyway given the technology of the day. This discouraged them so much that they didn’t even bother with performing anything from Revolver during any of their summer tour.
Then there was all the furor caused by John’s recent ‘Jesus’ remark taken completely out of context by an American teen magazine. Despite John’s public apology, there were Beatle album burnings going on in the South and threats made on their lives. In reflecting back on the whole situation John Lennon said in an interview:
One night on a show in the South somewhere, somebody let off a firecracker while we were on stage. There had been threats to shoot us, the Klan were burning Beatles records outside and a lot of the crew-cut kids were joining in with them. Somebody let off a firecracker and every one of us – I think it’s on film – look at each other, because each thought it was the other that had been shot. It was that bad.
In another interview he said:
I didn’t want to tour again, especially after having been accused of crucifying Jesus when all I’d made was a flippant remark and having to stand with the Klan outside and firecrackers going on inside. I couldn’t take it anymore.
George Harrison got so uneasy about being shot that he said:
If everyone who had a gun just shot themselves, there wouldn’t be a problem.
In the previous month while touring in the Philippines, another fiasco had occurred that had the band fearing for their life. They were accused of snubbing the first lady, Madame Marcos, by declining an invitation to see her at the palace and it had been all over the local televised news that she had been let down by them. Although they made it out of there alive, they were subjected to a lot of harassment and bullying and getting shoved around before they were allowed to even get on the airplane to depart.
Touring had really become a drag and although there was no official announcement, it stopped and I can’t really say I blame them.The Beatles - Day Tripper
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