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Parents gripe, music fans rejoice, and thousands of teenage girls scream until their voices grow hoarse, as John, Paul, George, and Ringo -The Beatles, make their first (and only) appearance in Vancouver.
The quartet’s appearance at Empire Stadium, which lasts exactly 29 minutes and 23 seconds, comes on the heels of the phenomenal success of the film “A Hard Day’s Night”, and as the band has managed to snag the number one spot in both the British and U.S. charts in the both the single and the album category (the first time any artist has done this).
Security and crowd control at Empire Stadium are woefully inadequate, and, with the audience growing more hysterical by the minute, Beatles manager Brian Epstein, fearing that audience members may be crushed against the edge of the stage, orders radio DJ and event MC Red Robinson onstage to calm the crowd.
“So, I get up there and I’m trying to quiet the crowd,” Robinson will recall, years later, “and suddenly behind my shoulder, over the cacophony of the crowd, I hear John Lennon yelling at me: ‘Get the fuck off our stage! What the fuck are you doing on our stage? Nobody interrupts a Beatles performance.’ There’s a photograph where I’m talking to John -actually screaming at him over the roar of the crowd, and I said ‘John, look down at the edge of the stage. Do you think I want to be here? Your boss and the Chief of Police ordered me up here, to try and settle down the crowd.’ At that point, he said: ‘Oh, in that case, carry on, mate. But no one has ever done this before. There’s never been a need.’”
“They played one more song,” Robinson will recall, “and got the hell out of there.”
IMAGE: Red Robinson, onstage at Empire Stadium, with John Lennon in the background, circa 1964. Image Courtesy of Red Robinson.