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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 14, 1964 (Monday)

Civic Arena, Auditorium Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

In it's fifty years as Pittsburgh's Rock n' Roll capital, the Civic Arena was the scene of thousands of special attractions and mind-bending happenings. September 14, 1964, was one of the high points in it's history as a concert venue. This was the day that legendary promoter Pat DiCesare brought Beatlemania to Pittsburgh.

Tickets went on sale in the spring at a cost of $5.90, and were available by mail-order only. This was almost double the going rate at the time, but the concert still sold out in a day and a half. The total take was $75,000, of which the Beatles were guaranteed $25,000 and a share of the gate. This was the first time that an act demanded and received a percentage of the gate as well as a guarantee. In the end, the Beatles were paid $37,000 for the show.

One problem encountered by the promoters was finding a place for the band to stay. Because of the fear of Beatlemania, no Pittsburgh hotels would take the band for the night, so they were forced to commute to Pittsburgh out of Cleveland.

By the morning of September 14, local radio stations KQV and KDKA had Beatle fans primed and ready for the happening. They spent the entire day of the show playing Beatle songs, along with updates on the band's anticipated arrival.

The plane carrying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr touched down at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport at 4:36pm. They were met by a crowd of some 4000 fans, many of whom had been waiting since morning. There were 120 police officers providing security at the airport, including fifteen on horseback.

This was the only time that the Beatles played in Pittsburgh. Forty-six years later, on August 18, 2010, Beatle Sir Paul McCartney returned to play the Opening Night at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center.


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