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The Beatles 50 years ago today: September 5, 1964 (Saturday)

International Amphitheatre, 42nd Street, South Halsted St. Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Beatles performed one concert at Chicago’s International Amphitheatre on this day. The other acts on the bill were, in order of appearance, The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

There were plans to hold a civic reception for The Beatles during the day, with 100,000 people expected, but special events director Colonel Jack Reilly cancelled them saying there were insufficient police officers “for a bunch of singers”.

They arrived at Midway Airport at 4.40pm, an hour later than scheduled. Five thousand fans were waiting to see them, kept at a safe distance behind a chain link fence. The Beatles were ushered into a black limousine and taken to the Sahara O’Hare hotel at O’Hare International airport.

Outside the amphitheatre that evening, the crowds outside were so large that the group were forced to enter through the kitchens.

Inside, 15,000 fans watched the performance. Thirty-five usherettes and 170 ushers had been carefully selected to work at the concert due to their lack of interest in The Beatles. There were also 320 Chicago police officers on duty. Fans were frisked and large signs, jelly beans and other potential projectiles were confiscated.

After the concert The Beatles were driven straight back to Midway Airport, from where they flew to Detroit. They returned to the International Amphitheatre on one other occasion, for the opening date of their final tour in 1966.

The International Amphitheatre stood at 42nd Street and South Halsted. The venue suffered a decline during the 1970s and 1980s, becoming unable to attract enough large events, and was demolished in August 1999.

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