Candlestick Park Revisited

Poster for Paul McCartney’s concert in Candlestick Park

Yesterday, Paul McCartney announced another concert, at a well known venue. Candlestick Park was the stadium where the Beatles’ final concert for a paying audience took place on August 29, 1966.

The Park’s capacity was 42,500, but only 25,000 tickets were sold, leaving large sections of unsold seats. Fans paid between $4.50 and $6.50 for tickets, and The Beatles’ fee was around $90,000. The show’s promoter was local company Tempo Productions.

The Beatles took 65% of the gross, the city of San Francisco took 15% of paid admissions and were given 50 free tickets. This arrangement, coupled with low ticket sales and other unexpected expenses resulted in a financial loss for Tempo Productions.

Candlestick Park was then the home of the baseball team the San Francisco Giants. The stage was located just behind second base on the field, and was five feet high and surrounded by a six-foot high wire fence.

The Beatles took to the stage at 9.27pm, and performed 11 songs: Rock And Roll Music, She’s A Woman, If I Needed Someone, Day Tripper, Baby’s In Black, I Feel Fine, Yesterday, I Wanna Be Your Man, Nowhere Man, Paperback Writer and Long Tall Sally.

The group knew it was to be their final concert. Recognising its significance, John Lennon and Paul McCartney took a camera onto the stage, with which they took pictures of the crowd, the rest of the group, and themselves at arm’s length.

A Candlestick Park “selfie”

Much of the existing film footage of the concert was captured in colour by a 15-year-old Beatles fan, Barry Hood. A relatively small amount of black-and-white footage was shot by local TV news in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Hood released some of his film in a documentary called The Beatles Live In San Francisco. A smaller quantity of Hood’s same film was later released in a documentary called The Unseen Beatles. But the public has never seen all of Hood’s rare Last Concert footage—which remains in a vault, unreleased and unseen by the public even today.

Now, Paul McCartney says his final “goodbye” to the ballpark, which will be closing forever. It was San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, who personally invited McCartney to close “the Stick” when Paul played at the Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park last year.

The poster for The Beatles’ concert

There was a bit of speculation around whether McCartney would go for the offer, as he was also reportedly considering another venue for his concert in the bay area this year. McCartney’s worldwide concert promoter, Barrie Marshall, toured Candlestick last month and let slip that they had just visited Levi’s Stadium as part of negotiations with the Niners for an opening concert there in early August.

It seems they have now landed on a decision which has a greater historical significance. Perhaps they read the WogBlog? The announcement says: “Putting the rumor mill to rest, Paul has confirmed that he will indeed return to San Francisco August 14 to play Farewell to Candlestick: The Final Concert.”

This once in a lifetime occasion is sure to be doubly bittersweet as Paul closes the same iconic venue where The Beatles played their final concert date on August 29, 1966. Of Paul’s most recent visit to San Francisco, headlining last year’s Outside Lands festival, the SF Weekly gushed, “One of pop music’s original supernovas… let us bask in its incredible warmth for the best part of three hours… The question of whether or not it was a ‘good’ show almost doesn’t apply — Paul McCartney… was good in a way that no other show could be.”

Demolition of the stadium is planned for late 2014 or early 2015.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    It would be nice, (and there's surely a chance) if Apple Corps' very-quiet-so-far 'Beatles Live' project has acquired both Barry Hoods footage and the B&W TV footage together with additional clips from unsung film crew among the audience.

    And what would be great is if they could get a souvenir out to coincide with Paul's gig.

    You know what? Because they watch the WogBlog, it just could happen 😛

  2. Anonymous says:

    Also, I think the reports that seem to try to imply McCartney was interested in the Niners opening in preference to HIS OWN IDEA of Candlestick are, frankly, the result of local pi**ing contest.
    I've no doubt Candlestick never left the schedule and that the agent who visited the 'other place' did so off his own bat.

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