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Beatles Play Carnegie Hall

Feb. 12, 1964 - Twenty-nine hundred ecstatic Beatlemaniacs gave a concert tonight at Carnegie Hall, accompanied by the twanging rhythms of the Beatles. The Beatle enthusiasts, who paid from $3 to $3.50 for the privilege of outshrieking their idols, might have been 99% female if one judged by the pitch of the voices they raised. Physical evidence, however, showed there were a number of males present, many of whom bounced in their seats but were less vocal. A second audience, equal in number, performed later in the evening when the concert was repeated.

The audience participation lasted for 34 minutes, from the moment the first Beatle mop head could be discerned at 7:45 p.m., moving through the 150 listeners who were seated on stage, until all four Beatles fled amid a hail of jelly beans at 8:19. During this time, the Beatles appeared to be singing and playing 12 songs, each of which was almost totally drowned out by the enraptured howls of their fans.

Before the seventh song, John Lennon, the head Beatle, looked the audience sternly in the mouth and yelled “Shut up!” This elicited a wave of enraptured shrieks. When Paul McCartney sang a ballad of tender intent, a young blonde in the loge section, who sat above a banner proclaiming “I Love Paul,” rose to the occasion and screamed so loudly that she could be heard above all the other screaming. McCartney was the only Beatle honored with such signs; he had two.

Before the Beatles were introduced, a disk jockey, Murray the K, conducted a popularity poll on the individual Beatles. Ringo Starr seemed to come in ahead of McCartney by several decibels. A similar poll-by-shriek indicated that New Jersey contributed the largest contingent of the audience.

Among those attending the second show tonight was Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, wife of the New York Governor, accompanied by two of her children and a teenage guest. Afterward, she said the performance was “one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen.” “I loved it,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. “It was marvelous. They have a lot of talent.”


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