The Beatles' 1965 US tour

The Beatles' 1965 US tour

The Beatles 1965 US tour
Tour by The Beatles
The Beatles' roadmap
Start date 15 August 1965
End date 31 August 1965
Legs 1
Number of shows 16
The Beatles concert chronology

The Beatles staged their second concert tour of the United States (with one date in Canada) in the late summer of 1965. At the peak of American Beatlemania, they played a mixture of outdoor stadiums and indoor arenas, with two historic stops on this venture.

After this tour's conclusion, the Beatles, who had been touring, recording and promoting non-stop for three years, took a six-week break before reconvening in mid-October to record the album Rubber Soul.


  • The Shea Stadium show 1
  • The Hollywood Bowl shows 2
  • Set list 3
  • Tour dates 4
  • Instruments and equipment 5
  • References 6

The Shea Stadium show

The Shea Stadium concert on 15 August was record breaking and one of the most famous concert events of its era. It set records for attendance and revenue generation. Promoter Sid Bernstein said, "Over 55,000 people saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium. We took $304,000, the greatest gross ever in the history of show business."[1] This demonstrated that outdoor concerts on a large scale could be successful and profitable.

The Beatles were transported to the rooftop Port Authority Heliport at the World's Fair by a New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107-II helicopter, then took a Wells Fargo armoured truck to the stadium. Two thousand security personnel were at the stadium to handle crowd control.[1] The crowd was confined to the spectator areas of the stadium with nobody other than the band members, their entourage, and security personnel allowed on the field. As a result of this, the audience was a long distance away from the band while they played on a small stage in the middle of the field.

"Beatlemania" was at one of its highest marks at the Shea Concert. Film footage taken at the concert shows many teenagers and women crying, screaming, and even fainting. The crowd noise was such that security guards can be seen covering their ears as the Beatles enter the field. Despite the heavy security presence individual fans broke onto the field a number of times during the concert and had to be chased down and restrained. Concert film footage also shows John Lennon light-heartedly pointing out one such incident as he attempted to talk to the audience in between songs.

The deafening level of crowd noise coupled with the distance between the band and the audience meant that nobody in the stadium could hear much of anything. Vox had specially designed 100-watt amplifiers for this tour; however, it was still not anywhere near loud enough, so the Beatles used the house amplification system. Lennon described the noise as 'wild' and also twice as deafening when the Beatles performed. On-stage 'fold-back' speakers were not in common use in 1965, rendering the Beatles' playing inaudible to each other, forcing them to just play through a list of songs nervously, not knowing what kind of sound was being produced, or whether they were playing in unison. The Beatles section of the concert was extremely short by modern standards (just 30 minutes) but was the typical 1965 Beatles tour set list, with Ringo opting to sing 'Act Naturally' instead of 'I Wanna Be Your Man'.

A documentary titled The Beatles at Shea Stadium[1] was produced by Ed Sullivan (under his Sullivan Productions, Inc. banner), NEMS Enterprises Ltd. (which owns the 1965 copyright), and the Beatles company Subafilms Ltd. The project utilised twelve cameras to capture the mayhem and mass hysteria that was Beatlemania in America in 1965. With overdubs (or outright new recordings) by the Beatles in a London studio in January 1966 to cover audio problems throughout the concert recording, the documentary aired in the United States later in 1966 on the ABC television network, and has been widely available on the bootleg circuit for decades.

In May 2007, a recording of the entire show sourced from the actual in-line stadium public address system surfaced.[2] The recording offers a fascinating minute-by-minute document of the complete concert, including opening sets from King Curtis, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, Sounds Incorporated and The Discoteque Dancers. More importantly for fans, it offers the actual Beatles performance unaltered by overdubs and other editing.

The Hollywood Bowl shows

Two shows were played at Los Angeles' high-profile Hollywood Bowl; the second, on 30 August, featured one of the group's better performances and provided much of the material for the officially-released 1977 live album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.

Set list

The typical set list for the shows was as follows (with lead singers noted):[3]

  1. "Twist and Shout" (excerpt) (John Lennon) (probably not played at Minneapolis and at least one Portland show, due to problems with John Lennon's voice)
  2. "She's a Woman" (Paul McCartney)
  3. "I Feel Fine" (John Lennon)
  4. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (John Lennon)
  5. "Ticket to Ride" (John Lennon)
  6. "George Harrison)
  7. "Can't Buy Me Love" (Paul McCartney)
  8. "Baby's in Black" (John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
  9. "I Wanna Be Your Man" (Ringo Starr) ("Act Naturally", also sung by Starr, played at Shea Stadium and possibly Maple Leaf Gardens shows)
  10. "A Hard Day's Night" (John Lennon, with Paul McCartney)
  11. "Help!" (John Lennon)
  12. "I'm Down" (Paul McCartney)

Tour dates

The tour booklet cover
Date City Country Venue
15 August 1965 New York City United States Shea Stadium
17 August 1965, two shows Toronto Canada Maple Leaf Gardens
18 August 1965 Atlanta United States Atlanta Stadium
19 August 1965, two shows Houston Sam Houston Coliseum
20 August 1965, two shows Chicago Comiskey Park
21 August 1965 Bloomington Metropolitan Stadium
22 August 1965, two shows Portland Memorial Coliseum
28 August 1965 San Diego Balboa Stadium
29 August 1965 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl
30 August 1965
31 August 1965, two shows Daly City Cow Palace

Instruments and equipment

Instruments The Beatles had on the tour, shown here for each member of the group.


  • 1964 Rickenbacker 325 semi-hollow electric guitar
  • 1964 Gibson J-160E acoustic/electric guitar (used as a backup)
  • Vox Continental electric organs
    • Two organs were utilized in this tour. Lennon's aggressive playing damaged the first in Toronto, so it was traded in for a second after the Atlanta performance [4]


  • 1962 Hofner Violin hollowbody bass
  • 1961 Hofner Violin hollowbody bass (used as a backup)


  • 1963 Gretsch Tennessean hollowbody electric guitar
  • 1963 Rickenbacker 360-12 thinline electric guitar (used for "A Hard Day's Night")
  • 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman hollowbody electric guitar (used as a backup)


  • Ludwig 22-inch-bass 4-piece drum kit
  • Number 5 drop-T logo bass drum head


  1. ^ a b c Roy Carr & Tony Tyler, The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, 1976, p. 46
  2. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine Issue 1027, 31 May 2007 (page 90).
  3. ^ Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, 1977, p. 45
  4. ^ John C. Winn, Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles Recorded Legacy, 2008 p. 344