Remembering the Beatles in Atlantic City like it was 'Yesterday'
What a coincidence? It wasn't until weeks after the Tropicana invited me to host a benefit for Covenant House with the spectacular Beatles cover band Yesterday, and the release of my new audio book of Ticket To Ride, that I realized the significance of the date -- Aug. 30, 2007. It was after all, Aug. 30, 1964 when the Beatles, traveling through secret passages and surrounded by enough security for a President, were ushered into the Atlantic City Convention Hall for a concert surrounded by chaos and high drama. It was a "Hard Day's Night" in more ways than you can imagine.
The smell of the salt in the air, the late summer heat, and the crowds surrounding the Shelburne Motor Inn, some of the kids hiding under the Boardwalk to avoid the attention of Atlantic City's finest, created an atmosphere of people-generated electricity. It was my first time in Atlantic City, and after two weeks of touring the nation with the Fabs, as they called themselves later on, I couldn't imagine anything worse than the frenetic scene that happened in Seattle and San Francisco where crowds trampled me on their way to the stage, bloodying my nose and wounding my sense of well being.
Although I personally escaped Atlantic City without injury, the pre-concert, the concert itself and the night at the hotel, remain memorable events. There was a decoy limo, a cascade of young women trying to crash the metal doors down in the big hall, and exotic working women mixing with ordinary fans in the crowd of people who penetrated hotel security.
|Kane with McCartney and Lennon|
For this reporter, the main event was in the Penthouse where the Beatles had a surprise late buffet for us, and our own private showing of A Hard Day's Night, the movie event of the summer, so unreal because we were living that hunt and chase for the Beatles every day.
It was also a sad night. The famous Righteous Brothers, one of the opening acts, had lost that loving feeling, as their song said, for the tour. They left, utterly devastated by the fact that thousands of Beatle fans, waiting for their idols, didn't even notice them. The Righteous brothers were replaced by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, who didn't mind the ego-shattering experience of being totally ignored.
It was in Atlantic City that I had my very first thought of having my hearing checked. The sound of the crowds from Los Angeles to New York was, I presumed, the closest thing to standing next to an airplane's jet engine. There were times when I couldn't hear the sound of the tape playback on my 35 pound state of the art reel-to-reel tape recorder.
|The cover of the bestselling book, Lennon Revealed.|
Next day it was on to Philadelphia, a city where I would eventually find my own family and a long career.
Through it all, there was the Beatles. For a hard-nosed, street-trained news guy like me, it seemed so strangely out of place to travel with them, but there in the future casino city was when the realization surfaced that this would turn out to be one of the big stories of my life.
Still ahead was Frank Rizzo, Ed Rendell, the Move confrontation, peace talks on the Vietnam War, six Presidents to interview, and enough news and thrills in the public glare to fill three lifetimes.
It was Yesterday. Yesterday, the band and the saga, return on Thursday night Aug. 30 at the Tropicana when I will recreate the memories and the laughter of four men who changed the world.
It will be the 43rd anniversary of the Beatles in Atlantic City. Jerry Blavat was only 24 years-old. And Pinky Kravitz was already seven years into his storied career.
Ticket to Ride
hosted by Larry Kane
Where: Tropicana Showroom
When: Thursday, Aug. 30, 8pm (regular shows run to Sept. 2)
How Much: $25
On Saturday night at The Showroom at Golden Nugget, producer/director/entrepreneur (and former professional football player) Gary Weinlein returns to Atlantic City with the latest version of his Sixties Rock Experience, which is heavily centered on the “British Invasion” in its current incarnation and the 50th anniversary of that musical cultural phenomenon.
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