With the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ historic visit to New Orleans approaching, WYES starts the celebration early with a half-hour look back at the band’s Sept. 16, 1964 concert in City Park Stadium.
“When The Beatles Invaded New Orleans: A Steppin’ Out Special” premieres at 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday (cable Channel 12).
Peggy Scott Laborde hosts the informal, lively panel which includes retired WTIX DJ Bob Walker, WYES’ Marcia Kavanaugh, singer/bandleader Deacon John Moore and Beatles historian and author Bruce Spizer.
“I watched it from outside the fence,” Walker recalls with a laugh, “because I couldn’t afford the $5 ticket.”
Kavanaugh, meanwhile, stood on a folding chair on the field.
“I don’t remember any of the songs. You couldn’t hear anything for the screaming.”
Moore says he “kind of felt like a fly in a bowl of milk,” as this was one of the first interracial concerts in the city. “I didn’t see a lot of brothers out there.”
All agree it was sheer pandemonium, as Spizer’s research agrees. Spizer himself didn’t see the show, as it was his sister’s birthday and she wasn’t a Beatles fan. He’s still shaking his head at that one.
Spizer also discusses how the different cities were chosen for The Beatles U.S. tour, the band’s dramatic arrival to the city, their stay at the Congress Inn, and more. Many of the nicer downtown hotels were scared to have The Beatles around, Spizer points out.
Moore closes the special with a performance of the Beatles’ “If I Fell,” accompanied by rare snapshots of The Beatles performing on stage from photographer Ted Rozumalski.