Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Paris, France January 1964

Before "Beatlemania" hit USA in February 1964, there was Paris, France in January. The Beatles performed at L'Olympia Theatre in Paris. Tickets for the performance of the evening were sold out and fans attending the performance night were dressed in costume gala, mostly elderly Parisian women, those who wanted to see what that noise was.
The old Music Hall was not equipped with a modern amplification.
There was no screaming or fainting, but the audience applauded all the time and enjoyed the music. The audience behaved very well, but the camera men started a discussion which evolved to a fight that almost moved out to the stage. George had to move quickly to avoid damage to his guitar and Paul stopped singing to call to order. The gendarmes (French police) came to further increase the chaos. Nobody was allowed backstage for the rest of the presentations.
L'Olympia is similar in many respects to Carnegie Hall. Brian Epstein's policy was that the Beatles should be presented at the most prestigious venues. L'Olympia was the best Music Hall of France, where the first night guaranteed a stylishly dressed (minks and diamonds) audience. It was a beautiful and classic theater with a sumptuous furniture. However, the dressing rooms were small and the Olympia was not ready for Beatlemania: people with tickets in hand could not enter, which meant empty seats, it was all a mess. The theatre was surrounded by policemen and lace-up young people who shouted "Beat-them, Beat them, Beat them!". When the group left the stage, some punching erupted. As expected, French chauvinism was in the newspapers the next day, although "France Soir" suggested the young local pop artists to forget jealousy, because never before had the French public praised pop songs so euphorically.

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