Madison-Area Resident Was There
©Ted Schaar 2009

The lead story

John, a former TV newsman who now lives in Verona and works as an independent contractor, attended The Beatles concert when he lived on Milwaukee's Northwest side and was a sophomore at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay.  "The Beatles were the lead story in 1964," he said. "They consumed our lives.  It was all Beatles all the time."

When John heard WOKY DJ Bob Barry talk about the upcoming concert on the radio, he asked his dad to go downtown and get tickets for him, his sister, Joan, and friends Bill, Brigitte, and Fred.  "I told him he'd have to get there early, so he took the bus and was fifth in line at 4:30 a.m. the day they went on sale."

Saintly dad

For his superlative effort, the saintly dad got five tickets about "50 feet from McCartney on the left side of the theater," John said.  "He could have gotten front row seats but he was worried about us getting crushed by the crowd. The tickets were $5.50 each times five, and my dad was also concerned about getting reimbursed—that was grocery money for a couple of weeks back then!  But we paid him." 

Although not certain, John believes The Beatles show was his first concert.  It was some introduction. "There were a lot of police in the Arena, and Red Cross workers circulated with smelling salts because people were passing out.  The excitement was amazing.  When The Beatles came on we all got goose bumps."

Like most attendees, he only heard a few notes.  "The screaming was deafening."  As loud as it was, however, John said every time McCartney "wiggled his head" the decibels would increase. 

The ultimate

"When the concert ended, we were hoarse from yelling and jumping up and down," he continued, "but we kept saying, holy cow! We just saw The Beatles live!  We were in the same room with them!"
John remained a Beatles fan, bought every one of their albums, and still listens to them today.  "They are the ultimate, past or present.  I don't think there will ever be a bigger or better musical act.  That's why the world's love for them continues."

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