Yesterday marked the anniversary of The Beatles’ last official concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966. There was no Twitter announcement but The Beatles knew they were quitting the road and took a few photos of one another for laughs at the end. John played the opening lick to "In My Life" before going off stage. The Beatles were still tight but something clearly had to give. How many groups go on tour to promote a new record (Revolver
in this case) and don't play any songs from the album? Nor did they play their new single ("Rain"/"Paperback Writer"). Nothing mattered to fans anymore but the spectacle of it all. And The Beatles--being fab--knew something was happening to those kids out there. Things were not yet completely "groovy." Hair was still short and so were the set lists. That was about to change.
More great music was on the way from The Beatles including Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
, "Hey Jude", the Yellow Submarine
film, "Revolution," and Abbey Road
. But "She Loves You" and "Twist and Shout" were now as far away from them as "Hound Dog" was for Elvis. That was history. Kid's stuff. And in a few months, rock would really be turned upside down by Jimi Hendrix (who was already turning heads in London).
The Beatles knew that Beatlemania had to be unplugged. The record buying public had turned into a record burning public in the US and a near fatal trip to the Philippines, where the Beatles had to hand over their concert cash to escape the country, was more than any group of 25 year olds could take. People were out of control over rock and roll and if the revolution was going to be televised, The Beatles were going to watch it from home. (Can you imagine Radiohead being held hostage by an entire country? Or a head of state going on television to incite the population to attack Miley Cyrus?). But the music still mattered and even in the rough sounding bootlegs out there of that last show, it's clear the four lads still have a great time playing together. Goodbye Frisco. Hello Strawberry Fields, where there's nothing to get hung about. If only that were true.