On Aug. 20, 1966, The Beatles were due to have played an open-air show at Cincin…
Written by megarock on August 21, 2018
On Aug. 20, 1966, The Beatles were due to have played an open-air show at Cincinnati's Crosley Field. However, the promoter failed to provide a cover for the group, and a heavy rain started shortly before they were due to take the stage.
The support acts on The Beatles' final tour were The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes. The downpour began after each of the acts had completed their sets. The promoter originally insisted that The Beatles should perform, but they refused unless he could guarantee their safety. The decision to put off the bands appearance was made when their assistant, Mal Evans was thrown several feet across the stage while plugging into a wet amplifier.
George Harrison has said: "We were advised that touching any of the stage's rain-soaked electrical equipment could be lethal so Brian Epstein had no option but to call off the concert. It was so wet that we couldn't play. They'd brought in the electricity, but the stage was soaking and we would have been electrocuted, so we cancelled – the only gig we ever missed."
The decision was made to have the band play the following afternoon, which they did. Then….
After performing their postponed concert in Cincinnati at midday on the 21st, The Beatles flew 341 miles to St Louis, Missouri, where they performed one show at 8.30pm.
The concert took place at the Busch Stadium, and was seen by 23,000 people. The show took place in heavy rain, with a makeshift shelter over the stage to protect the musicians, although water still dripped onto the amplifiers. It was this incident which finally convinced Paul McCartney that The Beatles should cease touring.
Paul has said of the day: "It rained quite heavily, and they put bits of corrugated iron over the stage, so it felt like the worst little gig we'd ever played at even before we'd started as a band. We were having to worry about the rain getting in the amps and this took us right back to the Cavern days – it was worse than those early days. And I don't even think the house was full. After the gig I remember us getting in a big, empty steel-lined wagon, like a removal van. There was no furniture in there – nothing. We were sliding around trying to hold on to something, and at that moment everyone said, 'Oh, this bloody touring lark – I've had it up to here, man.'
I finally agreed. I'd been trying to say, 'Ah, touring's good and it keeps us sharp. We need touring, and musicians need to play. Keep music live.' I had held on that attitude when there were doubts, but finally I agreed with them.
George and John were the ones most against touring; they got particularly fed up. So we agreed to say nothing, but never to tour again. We thought we'd get into recording, and say nothing until some journalist asked, 'Are you going out on tour?' – 'Not yet.' We wouldn't make The Big Announcement that we'd finished touring forever, but it would gradually dawn on people: 'They don't appear to be going on tour, do they? How long was that? Ten years? Maybe they've given it up.'
That was the main point: we'd always tried to keep some fun in it for ourselves. In anything you do you have to do that, and we'd been pretty good at it. But now even America was beginning to pall because of the conditions of touring and because we'd done it so many times."
The Beatles did finish the tour.
We guess the question here is, 'Do you blame them"? The picture below was taken from onstage in St. Louis and shows John Lennon and the rain. 52 years ago tonight.