There are few bands in British history, who’ve had more impact on music than The Beatles. Made up of the so-called “Fab Four,” not only did they invent the idea of a boy band, their massive back catalogue of music is still critically regaled to this day.
So it was no quiet day when the Beatles took to the stage of the Gaumont Cinema on the 9th, October 1964. Although they had played in Bradford a couple of times before (once as a support act and later to preview a new record) this was the opening night of The Beatles only British tour of 1964 and it was the same day as John Lennon’s 24th Birthday.
They played two shows that evening and did so on each date of the tour, earning £850 for each. At the time, their set list included:
- Twist and Shout
- Money (That’s What I want)
- Can’t Buy Me Love
- Things We Said Today
- I’m Happy Just to Dance with you
- I should have known better,
- If I fell
- I wanna be your man
- A hard days night
- Long Tall Sally
The story goes that they were a couple of hours behind schedule because of heavy traffic on the A1 from London to Bradford. It’s also said that they were flagged down by police who wanted autographs from the group. However, this didn’t affect performance times and they played at 6.15pm and 8.40pm.
Interestingly, as I mentioned earlier, The Beatles had performed at the Gaumont before, but were fairly low down the lineup. They were supporting a 16 year-old singer, Helen Shapiro and a number of bands were higher up the bill. Gordon Sampson of the NME attended the gig and said “Helen had the star dressing room downstairs, but you had to go up the steps to the small room The Beatles were in that night. You couldn’t swing the proverbial cat in it. As I recall, we were all stood up.
They were sort of propped up by the small mirror – two at one end and two at the other, with Brian in the background. We were the only people in the room.
We would just have talked about the usual things – their recording plans, what it was like to be on a national tour in the spotlight, that kind of thing. They were very friendly and a bit of a laugh, but there was no mickey-taking or anything like that. They were very polite.”
It’s fair to say that those early concerts in The Beatles vibrant career were some of the most important, and they must have been fond of the venue to choose it as their opening venue.