Remember When The Beatles Launched Their First U.S. Concert Tour?

In 1964, Beatlemania swept America after the British band’s U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th of that year. Their television debut was broadcast of tens of thousands of viewers across the country. Some Americans were lucky to see them perform live over the following days at Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall before the band flew back to the U.K. But of course, American teens were thirsting for more.

The Beatles in concert at the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, USA, Wednesday 19th August 1964. This concert marked the beginning of the USA and Canada Tour.
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Thankfully, the Beatles came back to the States to embark on their first North American tour the summer of 1964. It all kicked off in San Francisco, where on August 19th the Beatles were set to perform at the Cow Palace. Manager Brian Epstein underestimated the band’s popularity and booked a venue with 17,000 seats. He was floored when Cow Palace was filled to capacity with 17,130 screaming fans.

Just after 9:00 PM that night, the Beatles began the concert with a raucous performance of “Twist and Shout,” the first of a 12-song setlist that also included “All My Loving,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” The entire concert took approximately 33 minutes at each stop but the first one at the Cow Palace took longer due to constant police intervention amid the hubbub. In fact, the Beatles had to leave the concert in an ambulance after their limousine was swarmed by raging teens.

The Beatles went on to tour America, making stops at Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Jacksonville, and more. They played 32 shows across 24 cities in just a little over a month. The entire tour made a staggering $1 million (which today would equate to more than $7.5 million). Things came full circle for the band two years later when they played their final official concert at the San Francisco stadium, Candlestick Park.