Sunday, 19 January 2020

What was the biggest concert The Beatles ever played?

Officially, the opening concert of The Beatles 1965 US tour at Shea Stadium, New York was the largest they ever did. It was the first time a major sports area was used as a music venue and the 55,000 tickets sold out in seventeen minutes.

The Philippines 

This was not, however, the biggest crowd The Beatles performed in front of. In July 1966 they were booked to play two gigs at the Rizal Stadium, Manila.
Poster for The Beatles in Manila, the Philippines, 4 July 1966

They were told that 30,000 tickets had been sold for the afternoon show and 50,000 for the second.
Ticket for The Beatles at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Manila, Philippines, 4 July 1966
To their horror, however, they discovered that these figures did not remotely reflect the numbers packed in to the stadium. As George puts it in Anthology:
...when we got there it was like the Monterrey Pop Festival. There were about 200,000 people on the site.
The Beatles rushed through both sets. In total they spent  less than eighty minutes on stage.

They then retreated to their hotel room - only to find that they had unwittingly caused great offence to a dangerous dictator - read more here.

Biggest Crowd

The biggest crowd to ever turn out to see The Beatles provided a happier memory of Beatlemania. An incredible 300,000 fans lined the streets from Adelaide Airport to the city centre in 1964. For comparison, better known arrival at JFK, New York in the same year attracted an estimated 5,000.


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