Live: Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregón

In the morning of 22 August 1965 The Beatles held a press conference at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, before flying to Portland, Oregon. Shortly before their arrival in Portland one of the four engines on their Lockheed Electra aeroplane caught fire. John Lennon was frightened enough to quickly write a few messages which he enclosed in a film canister for safety. Fortunately for all, the plane landed without further incident, and a relieved Lennon was heard to shout: “Beatles, women and children first!”The Beatles performed two shows at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, before a total of 20,000 people. Tickets for each of the shows were priced at $4, $5 and $6. There were also a number of pink tickets for the Coliseum’s upper level which were free.The concerts took place at 3.30pm and 8pm. The Beatles’ setlist featured 11 songs: She’s A Woman, I Feel Fine, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Ticket To Ride, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Can’t Buy Me Love, Baby’s In Black, I Wanna Be Your Man, A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and I’m Down. Additionally, the second show opened with a truncated version of Twist And Shout.The support acts on the bill were Brenda Holloway and the King Curtis Band, Cannibal & The Headhunters, and Sounds Incorporated.Among The Beatles’ guests backstage were Carl Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys. In the audience for one of the shows was beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who wrote a poem about the event titled Portland Coliseum:A brown piano in diamond white spotlight Leviathan auditorium iron run wired hanging organs, vox black battery A single whistling sound of ten thousand children’s larynxes asinging pierce the ears and following up the belly bliss the moment arrivedApparition, four brown Englishjacket christhair boysGoofed Ringo battling brightwhite drumsSilent George hair patientSoul horseShort black-skulled Paulwith the guitarLennon the Captain, his moutha triangular smile,all jump together to Endsome tearful memory songancient-two years,The million childrenthe thousand wordsbounce in their seats, basheach other’s sides, presslegs together nervousScream again & claphandbecome one Animalin the New World Auditorium–hands waving myriadsnakes of thoughtscreetch beyond hearingwhile a line of police withfolded arms standsSentry to contain the redsweatered ecstasythat rises upward to thewired roof.The Beatles’ contract for the show was posted on the internet in January 2013. The fifth clause in the contract received particular attention, and praise for the group. It said: “Artists will not be required to perform before a segregated audience.”The Beatles flew from Portland shortly after their second and final show in the city. Their destination was Los Angeles, where they arrived shortly before dawn. The Electra was out of action so they flew in a Constellation aeroplane.

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