Dont Bother me – live performance?

Set list in Paul McCartney’s handwriting includes “Don’t Bother Me”.

Up for auction at Gotta Have Rock and Roll is a Beatles setlist, signed on the flip side by Ringo and John. The interesting thing is that it lists “Don’t Bother Me”, George’s first composition. This is a song which we didn’t think was ever performed live by the group, and the jury’s still out. The list is short, which begs the question: Did the Beatles both open and close the show? This would mean two set lists, one for opening the show and one for closing it.

Signed by Ringo and John on the reverse.

The item is listed as: “A Beatles Set List For A Concert At Cheltenham England 1963

The set list illustrated above has been written in the hand of Paul McCartney and signed on the reverse by John and Ringo”.

Cheltenham would make it November 1, 1963 – the only time they played there – but the set list doesn’t match. Some of this concert was filmed (see footage at the end of the YouTube interview clip), and Ringo was singing “Boys” – not “I Wanna Be Your Man”. Their hit single “She Loves You” is not on the list either, and they would have performed that song in November of 1963.

Here’s what The Beatles Bible has to say about November 1, 1963:

The Beatles’ fourth British tour of 1963 opened on this evening with a performance at the Odeon Cinema in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

This was the group’s first series of concerts as unchallenged headliners. The Beatles topped a bill featuring five other acts: The Rhythm & Blues Quartet, The Vernons Girls, The Brook Brothers, Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers, and The Kestrels. The compere on the tour dates was Frank Berry.

The following day a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper carried the headline: “Beatlemania! It’s happening everywhere.. even in sedate Cheltenham”. This is believed to be the first use of the word in print; by the end of the year it would be widely used.

According to that same article in The Beatles Bible, the set list for that particular tour went like this:

I Saw Her Standing There

From Me To You

All My Loving

You Really Got A Hold On Me

Roll Over Beethoven


Till There Was You

She Loves You

Money (That’s What I Want)

Twist And Shout.

The first four numbers of course correspond with the set list now on auction, but on that list, George’s “Roll Over Beethoven” is substituted by his own composition “Don’t Bother Me” and Ringo’s “Boys” by the Lennon-McCartney original “I Wanna Be Your Man”.

Ticket stub for the second show that evening.

Still, they played two concerts in Cheltenham on that day, so perhaps they catered for the fans who came to both shows? By playing a couple of different songs for them, treating them to a few more numbers from the upcoming “With The Beatles” LP which was due out November 22?

No indication of two sets by The Beatles in the programme listing.

The same set list is depicted at the we-buy-beatles website, operated by UK memorabilia specialists, Tracks. That illustration also identifies it as Cheltenham 1963.

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3 Responses

  1. Peter C says:

    It certainly rewrites history a little if it's true, as the band were supposedly well into their doing the same songs every night of the tour phase.

    Always considered 'Don't Bother Me' George's finest pre-'Revolver' song, though I'm sure most would disagree.

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