The Beatles at Red Rocks: 50 Years on, still a big deal

photo: beatles ticket

  • Landing time at Stapleton: 1:35 p.m. An estimated 10,000 fans waited. Said the Rocky Mountain News, At daybreak, officers on 3-wheel motorcycles and solo motorbikes rolled through the heavy wheat stubble of the airport area, flushing Beatle fans like rabbits in the tall grass.
  • The plane: A Lockheed Electra leased by Brian Epstein for a hefty $37,000
  • The downtown traffic jam: A crowd of 5,000 greeted the Beatles at the Brown Palace, the biggest outpouring ever including presidential stays. In the commotion six crowd members and one police officer earned trips to the ER.
  • Beatles room service lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Biggest problem for the 27 rookie cops guarding the stage at Red Rocks: Jelly beans. Reference Beatles>early>jelly babies.
  • Beatles fee for Red Rocks: $20,000, in a day where the biggest acts made about $5,000 for a performance.
  • Show before and after: Aug 23-Hollywood Bowl, Aug 27-Cincinnati Gardens (where the high that day reached 115).
  • Photo: Beatles tell allTour position, sellout scenario: 6th of 32 shows in 24 cities, and the first of two that weren’t sellouts. Reports are that 7,000 tickets were sold, whereas they had sold out the Hollywood Bowl to 18,700 three nights before. Lack of public transportation for the younger teen audience was blamed. In more recent years these accounts have been called into question because of the lack of ticket takers or gate security in 1964. Eyewitness reports say they never saw Red Rocks more full than it was on this hot August night.
  • Miles of the tour: 22,441. Beatles averaged 600 miles a day.
  • Time they took the stage: 9:30 p.m.
  • Celebrity encounters before: Aug 25, Beatles met Burt Lancaster and Jayne Mansfield in Los Angeles.
  • Celebrity encounters after: Aug 28, Beatles met Bob Dylan in New York, who introduced the boys to marijuana.
  • Live recordings: The Red Rocks show never made for an album release, although their Denver press conference was included on this spoken word album (hear the beatles tell all)
  • Photo: beatlesHonors bestowed in Denver: Beatles made honorary Jaycees, and given vests…
  • Controversy in Denver: Rumors were the Beatles were changing their hotel reservations for an upcoming stop to play the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the hotel’s segregation policy. PS, the Beatles changed their reservations.
  • Scary item: There was a concern in the Beatles organization about death threats. George Martin wrote about sniper concerns years later.
  • Set list: One of the more confounding pieces of history to go missing. It’s pretty obvious they started with “Twist and Shout,” and it is known they played for just under a half hour. The exact songs can only be imagined from the 12-song setlist they performed in the same order previously in Las Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, and Hollywood: