The coolest night
"I just happened to come across your website in researching the old Coach House. Unfortunately, I didn't see Jim Stingl's article in 2009 about your collecting reminiscences from people who were at The Beatles concert at the Arena--I wish I would have.
"I was there when I was 13. Got my ticket the night before the concert, sat in the last row in the house, on the south wall. Couldn't have been any further away from the stage. Couldn't have been more thrilled.
"We came to town from East Troy (Wisconsin) in a van full of teenagers driven by two fathers, both donning Beatle wigs. It was hilarious.
"My future father-in-law (now deceased) was the night manager of the Coach House at the time, and somewhere I have a picture my sister-in-law took of them (The Beatles) in their limo coming back, I think, to the hotel from the concert. Ringo had a towel around his neck. My father-in-law also managed to scarf up a prescription written by a local doctor for John's sore throat that was left behind in their room. I have not been able to wrest this away from my sister-in-law but have seen it. Someday I'll get it away from her.
"It was the coolest night, being there.
"The main thing I remember is not being able to hear a thing and seeing only specks on the stage. We were all so impatient for the opening acts to get off and The Beatles to come on. I felt really sorry for Jackie DeShannon and the Righteous Brothers.
"The girl I sat next to was from Sheboygan. I'm pretty sure she was well under 16 and she told me she got on a bus and came without telling her parents. I was fairly shocked. For 1964, that was pretty gutsy. Today, there would have been an Amber Alert out on her! I sat alone as my sister and her friends had tickets on the side of the Arena about half way from the stage.
"A neighbor of mine who was older was there and was pictured in The Milwaukee Journal the next day at the concert, dressed in a skirt, Beatle jacket, tie, and Lennon hat, taking a picture of the stage. She later became a controversial person in Milwaukee named Miriam Ben-Shalom (Candy Barnes, actually!). I thought it was really cool of her at the time to get in the paper.
Beatlemaniac"This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be standing in front of Paul's house in London. I've seen every one of his concerts in Chicago and Milwaukee since he left The Beatles. I am a Beatlemaniac...
"I met Peter Brown (The Beatles' kind-of manager after Brian Epstein) at a broadcast of Good Morning, Chicago when he was there talking about his book, The Love You Make, a tell-all about the group and got his autograph. That's my closest brush with fame. I also had a girlfriend get me Jane Asher's autograph in London a few years back, when she went to visit Asher's bakery. So I have those two autographs.
"If you do anything to commemorate the 50th anniversary of September 4, 1964, when it rolls around, I'd love to hear about it."
—Update October, 2014—
Near the 49th anniversary of The Beatles' Milwaukee performance, in September, 2013, I was contacted by Milwaukee radio station WTMJ-AM 620. On-air personalities were aware of "A Day In The Center of Beatlemania" and asked if I knew anyone who attended the concert and would be willing to do an on-air interview. Heidi agreed and enjoyed the experience.
Later that year, in December, completely out of the blue, I received e-mailed scans of the prescription and dry cleaner bill her future father-in-law had found in The Beatles' hotel room after they departed. I wrote a subpage about these and a photograph her future sister-in-law took of band members when they arrived back at the hotel in a Cadillac limousine.
Heidi contacted me again about the time of the Milwaukee concert's 50th anniversary; she had found a scrapbook of Beatles-related artifacts in storage and was willing to let me have a look and scan her mementos for inclusion here. Many of the items date to the time of the concert.
Directly below is a scan of page 1 of the essay she wrote about the concert for her 8th grade English class. It deserved an A for the title alone.
Heidi, 1964, about time she attended The Beatles concert.
She's wearing her East Troy, Wisconsin, cheerleading outfit.
Buttons Heidi purchased during Beatlemania--it's been a half
century and she can't remember where she bought them.
Many who attended the Milwaukee Beatles concert recalled that the Arena was lighted by continual photo flashes, but this
image from Heidi's scrapbook is the only snapshot of the show I've seen. Left-handed Paul appears to be on the left; I'm
guessing George is in the center and John on the right. Ringo is barely visible behind his drum kit on a riser. Heidi
thinks the photo was given to her by a friend but she's not sure which one.
There are indications of the newness of The Beatles to "grownup" reporters and pop music itself in this
article published two days after the Milwaukee concert. "Plucker" is used to describe a guitarist when
"picker" is more appropriate; it is also implied that John was left-handed when the opposite was true.
Front cover of Heidi's original program for the Milwaukee Beatles concert.
Inside front cover.
Page 1 with a major mistake recognized by far fewer then than now.
Page 4. ads for folk singers underscore the fact that Nick Topping normally didn't
promote rock and roll acts. (In case you're wondering, there are now
29 McDonald's in Milwaukee alone.*)
The photo on the lower half of the inside back cover (above) places names with the right faces, but clearly this wasn't apprehended by the layout artist who did page 1.
To learn more about the advertised Dave Clark Five concert, I reviewed The Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel's December 16, 1964, editions (they were separate papers at the time). December 15, 1964, happened to be Clark's 22nd birthday which makes him 71 as I type this.
Michael H. Drew wrote the Journal recap titled "Fewer Fans Greet Dave Clark", which references an earlier DC5 show at Devine's Million Dollar Ballroom (now The Rave and Eagle's Club) at 2401 Wisconsin Avenue. Drew writes that "about 11,000 fans staged a near riot" at the June 7, 1964, concert, indicating the headline "Appearing in their first Milwaukee Concert" in the ad is wrong.
Not one word written by Drew, ever the jazz snob, compliments the performers or says anything positive about their fans. He refers to "drummer Clark's two-fisted whacking," and concludes: "Every now and then, a bit of lyric, would penetrate the din."
The Sentinel's take "Dave Clark Birthday Fete", written by Bernice Buresh, is friendlier than the Journal's, but she tends to couple positives with negatives: "The quintet members are neater, more articulate, and musically more enjoyable than most rock 'n' roll types who are scrambling to get to the top of the hit parade." Probably she could identify with the concluding sentiment. Successful reporters--like just about anyone aspiring to make it in a hard-knocks world--do plenty of scrambling, too.