Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Beatles in Concert: Indiana State Fair

Title frame of 1964 TV Special
The Beatles played two shows at the Indiana State Fair on September 3, 1964. The 5:00 PM show in the Coliseum was recorded on audio tape and film. The audio recording was made by WIFE-AM and was broadcast live, announced by Jerry Baker. The concert film was originally shot on 16mm by WISH-TV and parts of it was included on a TV special, "Our Fair Beatles".

A poster advertising the second concert

Flying in from the Philadelphia show the night before, The Beatles arrived in Indianapolis at the Indiana State Fair on September 3, 1964. They kicked their afternoon concert off in the fairgrounds' Coliseum, where they performed their 12-song set list running a little over a half-hour, before 10,000, or so, screaming fans.
Since the show was an immediate sellout and the demand for tickets was so high, The Beatles agreed to do a second show in the evening, but since the coliseum was booked for another State Fair event, they had to set the stage up on a dirt race track in front of the grandstand.

Miss Indiana State Fair, Cheryl Lee Garrett. Derek Taylor picks his teeth. Photo: Curt Gunter
Between shows there was a meet-and-greet with the press and a few locals (including Miss Indiana State Fair). When John was asked where they stood on the draft, he answered “about five-eleven”.

More images from the TV Special "Our Fair Beatles"

The complete press conference was filmed for WISH-TV’s special 'Our Fair Beatles'.

From the press conference
The only songs the TV Special included from the concert was 'She Loves You' and part of 'If I Fell'. WISH-TV aired 'Our Fair Beatles' on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1964 and it also was aired in fairly (no pun intended) recent years for only the second time ever, July 29, 2008 at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.

The film can be broken down into these chapters: airport arrival, concert at the State Fair Coliseum (two songs), the complete press conference, a TV interview, some hotel scenes from the day after and the departure at the airport.
I haven't been able to find an online source for the original TV special, but here's a two-part report by Ken Owen, aired on WISH in Indianapolis on November 20 and 21, 1995, about the event.



For the radio broadcast, see this blog post. For the TV Special, you'll have to find a bootleg DVD. The film is included on FAB Productions' "On tour with The Beatles" series.

Bootleg DVD containing the "Our Fair Beatles" TV Special and lots more.
A YouTube search will result in the appearance of some songs from the concert not included in the TV Special, with audio from the radio broadcast. You'll want to have a look at the comments section for this entry over at The Beatles Bible for quite a number of people with memories of the concerts.

Furthermore, a book is due out this spring from Butler Books by David Humphrey, "All Those Years Ago, Fifty Years Later Beatles Fans Still Remember." The book is filled with over 40 interviews from fans and journalists that attended the Beatles' concerts at the 1964 Indiana State Fair. Photographs and interesting documents are also included.

2 comments:

Lance T. Osborne said...

Also worth noting is this video on the venue (now called the Pepsi Coliseum): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2s-3A_bAs8

They're renovating the venue and this video explains the changes.

Of course they kick it off with a big nod to the band's appearance there.

Ron Rhodes said...

Thanks for this Blog. I was at both Indiana State Fair shows as a press rep (WMRI-FM, Marion, IN) and teamed up with Paul Page, (then with WNAP-FM) to record. I found your very good nostalgia while searching for songs Cilla Black did in her opener for The Beatles. I'm grateful there are folks who keep these memories alive. Cheers!