50 Years Ago Today – The Beatles’ First U.S. Concert

Sometimes I feel I am so lucky to live in the great city of Washington D.C., especially tonight.  On this day 50 years ago –Tuesday, February 9 –The Beatles rolled into town, after arriving in the U.S. and playing on The Ed Sullivan Show, to play their first official U.S. concert.  Tonight, I got to listen to a Beatles tribute band play the exact same set list starting at the exact same time (8:31pm) inside the former Washington Coliseum (also known as the Uline Arena).  Even one of the concert’s original opening acts, Tommy Roe, opened tonight!

As a huge Beatles fan, who will fully admit to actually allowing a tear or two to form (like a 1960s screaming girl fan, without the screaming) after I met Paul McCartney a year and a half ago, tonight was an event that I could not miss.  In fact, I already had tickets to another tribute band concert for tonight before learning of the DC Preservation League’s plans to reenact the actual concert.  Yes, I’m such a fan that I deluded myself I could be in two places at one time.  Just kidding!

Also on display before the show was the collection of photographs taken that night in 1964 by D.C. native Mike Mitchell, including the iconic backlit photo of the Fab Four.

Original Setlist:

  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • From Me to You
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • This Boy
  • All My Loving
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Please Please Me
  • Til There Was You
  • She Loves You
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • Twist and Shout
  • Long Tall Sally

Some photos from the 50 year tribute show…

Tommy Roe singing “Sweet Pea”

“From Me to You”

A little “Twist and Shout”

“That Boy”

“All My Loving”

After the original set list was played and a costume change was made, Beatlemania Now continued the entertainment with some songs from Sergeant Pepper and other later Beatles albums.

The concert promoters wanted authenticity so much that they even made sure that the weather was equally as cold as that night, so that everyone in the arena had to dress in their heavy winter clothes and left with blocks of ice for feet because the large doors were left completely open to the elements that dipped into the 20s by the end of the concert.  Too bad the large snow storm they ordered is going to arrive one day too late.  All proceeds from the concert will go towards preserving and redeveloping the Uline Arena, which from what I witnessed, is some help it desperately needs!

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