The Fab Four... Beatles gigs

4th Feb 2014 | 16:00

The Fab Four... Beatles gigs
The Cavern Club
Liverpool, 3 August 1963

THE BEATLES IN THE USA: John Lennon first played Liverpool's now-legendary Cavern Club with his band The Quarrymen in 1957.

The then jazz-only club had a strictly no rock 'n' roll policy that Lennon promptly ignored, belting out Elvis Presley's Don't Be Cruel. This did not go down well with the club's management or punters. The Beatles played their first show at the Caven Club at lunchtime on 21 February 1961, having recently returned from Hamburg.

They would eventually put in 292 appearances at the little club in Mattheew Street. Their farewell show for the home crowd on 3 August 1963 came ust a few months before they would conquer America.

Considering The Beatles were already well on the way to becoming the biggest band in the UK with a number one album (Please Please Me, released in March) and chart-topping singles (including Please Please Me and From Me To You) already behind them, the atmosphere in the tiny Cavern must have been electric.

The Fab Four... Beatles gigs
Shea Stadium
New York, 15 August 1965

The Beatles played Shea Stadium on their second tour of the States in 1965.

The noise generated by the 55,600-strong crowd was so great that the band couldn't hear themselves on stage - they only had 100-watt Vox amps. The situation was so ridiculous that th eband dissolved into hysterics, Lennon playing his Vox Continental organ with his elbows as McCartney and Harrison cracked up at his antics.

In terms of historical importance, the She Stadium show marked the high point of 'Beatlemania' and also contributed to the band's decision to quit touring for good the following year.

The Fab Four... Beatles gigs
Candlestick Park
San Francisco, 29 August 1966

Candlestick Park was The Beatles' last official concert. John, George and Ringo had all expressed their desire to quit touring with only Paul holding out.

By 1966, even Paul wanted out. Touring had become a nightmare, with John's 'bigger than Jesus' episode resulting in a backlash against The Beatles in the US. Their albums were destroyed in organised burnings and their concerts picketed by the Ku Klux Klan.

The fact that the audiences couldn't even hear them play due to screaming fans made the decision to quit easier. They bowed out with Long Tall Sally at Candlestick Park - and that was that.

The Fab Four... Beatles gigs
The rooftop concert
London, 30 January 1969

During the recording of the Let It Be album and film, Paul McCartney had suggested that the band end the project with a live performance.

Venue suggestions included a small club (McCartney's preferred choice), a cruise ship or a lunatic asylum. Unsurprisingly, the last suggestion came from Lennon. In the end, The Beatles headed up to the roof of their Apple headquarters and played five songs including Don't Let Me Down and Get Back.

The sound of the group playing brought the streets below to a standstill, forcing the police to intervene. The Beatles fought the law, but the law won...

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