Last UK Concert by Beatles
For such a hugely important group in the history of pop and rock music, it is rather incongruous that the last concert by Beatles in their country of origin should have been playing just five songs at an awards event. An appearance on the David Frost show in 1968 – singing live but with instruments taped – and the famous rooftop concert in London on January 30 1969 happened later, but those cannot be called concerts, so the last real Beatles show in the UK was on May 1 1966 when the band played a 15 minute set at the Empire Pool Wembley on a crowded bill for the annual NME poll-winners Sunday show.
Also appearing that night were the likes of Cliff Richard , The Who, The Small Faces, Dusty Springfield , and the only band able to compete for the limelight then, The Rolling Stones. Sadly, though most of the concert was filmed, the seemingly ever-present contractual problems surrounding The Beatles ensured that the cameras were turned off for what turned out to be a historic performance by them.
Increasing tensions within the band, the growing complexity of their music which made live performances technically difficult, and perhaps the pointlessness of playing live when thousands of screaming girls would drown out every note, eventually led to the band stopping touring; and in 1970 the band split, fittingly unlike just about every other band, never to re-form.
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From David Lawson on 4th May 2011
I was there as a guest of Maurice Kinn , the owner of the NME and also on the bill were the Walker Brothers who brought the second highest volume of noise from the crowd and the great Roy Orbison Great show but no one knew it's historical significance
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