Monday, December 18, 2017

The Beatles 1966 Concert in Seattle at The Coliseum

I recently watched the Ron Howard documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016). If you're into that sort of thing also consider the new two part documentary, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge. A fascinating documentary about an important American magazine on American culture.

Okay, back to The Beatles....

In the beginning it is stated that this may be the first time the remaining Beatles have ever actually heard what they sounded like in concert from those years. I can definitively say I fully understand what that means. The sound in the concerts in the film are excellent and a far cry from what my slightly older sister and I heard when we saw them ourselves in Seattle at The Coliseum (now called, Key Arena), August 25, 1966.

They had been to Seattle in 1964 which was famously documented and covered by the media.
When I saw them I was in sixth grade. My sister was in ninth.

As I understand it, my older brother had tickets but heard no one could really hear the music over the screaming girls at other venues, so he didn't want to go. And so my sister got the tickets and I got asked. I was beside myself in not only going to such a grown up thing (and I was surprised when I arrived I was more grown up than most of the audience), but also to actually get to see the Beatles!.

Seattle Times 1966
I remember the place being packed with screaming girls. We were on the left of stage mid way up above and I seem to remember the banister right before us. So lower mid level or lower upper level. But we could see them well enough though I wouldn't have wanted to have been any further away either.

According to this we must have been in section 42
I had my ticket stub until a couple of decades ago when I realized that I had the wrong end of the stub and it had no indication on it whatsoever so I tossed it.

Not my ticket stub but example
What |I remember most is The Beatles coming on stage and the girls screaming. My sister leaned over and complained that if the girls would stop screaming we could actually hear them play. We were both upset that we came to hear a concert and we weren't getting to.

I looked around me and I didn't see a girl not screaming. My sister was sitting there like me, steaming over not hearing the band well. If I listened closely, I could just make out what song they were playing, but not consistently throughout the song.

I remember noticing the size of their amps. Simply not sufficient for this sized venue. See, my sister and our older brother had a band themselves, Cindy and the Barons, in Tacoma, WA. I was used to band practice every Thursday night from 7:30PM to 10PM (curfew times).

Cindy and the Barons
It was obvious to me even at eleven that they didn't have big enough amps or PA system. I couldn't then and do not now understand as this wasn't their first concert, how they (someone) couldn't have figured out they needed more equipment. I suppose they probably saw it as a cost analysis decision. The fans don't care about the music, it was an Experience. And in a way, they were right.

As for Ron Howard's documentary, it is an excellent documentary and the Rolling Stone documentary is an excellent companion to it.

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