Unless you’ve been to a Beatles concert, you can’t imagine the passion and the electricity that permeates every cell of every body at a Beatles concert. Add to the mix thousands of hormonal teenagers, most of whom are girls and most of whom are hyped up on adrenalin, and you might get a hint of what a Beatles concert feels like.
We were 14 when Denise told me that her father could get us tickets to see the Beatles in August, 1965. I would forever and always designate that day as one of the most thrilling days of my life.
Almost every car heading down Chicago’s south side on the Dan Ryan Expressway toward Comiskey Park (home of the Chicago White Sox) that day was filled with emotionally charged teenage girls, suffused with raw excitement, holding up Beatles signs or album covers of the Beatles while jumping up and down in the back seats of their parents’ cars (in the days before seatbelt restrictions).
“Beatlemaniacs,” as we were called, knew that what we would soon experience would become a phenomenon that was not likely to recur in our lifetimes – unless we were fortunate enough to attend another Beatles concert.
Having never been to a concert, Denise and I had no idea that the main attraction wouldn’t appear until the end of the concert. But as the other bands played, the momentum built. The mania grew along with it. And as we waited an hour and fifteen minutes for the Beatles to take the stage, a palpable excitement pulsated throughout the stadium. Ecstatic shrieks resounded as the energy of that highly emotional audience merged with the Beatles to create an electrifying current one could almost see.
Frenzy – wildly pure and unadulterated joy – combined with manic tears, exploded out of us. Girls grabbed onto other girls. Bleachers bounced up and down as we jumped in excitement. Sobbing, screaming hysterics caused even those of us who were normally withdrawn and shy to almost unconsciously erupt with sheer madness. An insane, but joyful, kind of mania swept over the crowd, drowning out the Beatles so that all that existed during those 45 minutes was a stage filled with Beatles and an aura replete with euphoria and bliss.
Not since and never again will I experience so profound a concert as I did the day the Beatles came to Chicago in August, 1965. Only four short years later the Beatles would disband, and fifteen years after that amazing once-in-a-lifetime concert, a sick fanatic would kill John Lennon. In 2001, George Harrison would die from lung cancer. And by May, 2013, only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would survive.
Denise remains one of my most treasured friends in 2013. This year we both celebrate our 62nd birthdays and together we forever have the memory of that joyous day when John Lennon waved at us.
I recount that forever-remembered event in the article, Commemorating John Lennon’s 70th Birthday, October 9, 2010: The Day John Lennon Waved at Me. And yes, he really did.