When the Beatles hit the stage at Carnegie Hall

BeatlescarnegiehallposterDuring their brief touring years, the Beatles visited New York to play Shea Stadium, Forest Hills Stadium, and the Paramount Theater.

And they also held concerts at Carnegie Hall—the first rock band to do so.

Two shows were staged there on February 12, 1964, days after the group touched down in the U.S. for the first time at newly christened JFK airport and famously appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“The Beatles appeared twice that evening at Carnegie Hall, lounging between shows in an elegantly appointed green room that had provided sanctuary to such icons as Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Judy Garland,” wrote Bob Spitz in The Beatles: The Biography.

“They were totally relaxed, chain-smoking American cigarettes, not at all intimidated about performing at the most prestigious and legendary concert hall in America, if not the world.”


Beatlemania had gripped New York, and 2,900 fans had shown up. During the first show, at 7:45 pm, they screamed and ran up and down the aisles, leaving the band aloof and frustrated.

“There was no way for them to connect during the impenetrable wall of screaming that went up the moment they took the stage,” states Spitz. “After a meteoric appearance, lasting only 34 minutes, the Beatles dropped their instruments and headed for the wings.”

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5 Responses to “When the Beatles hit the stage at Carnegie Hall”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I recall that on the Sunday night when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show the tough boys of the Lower East Side (or so we thought), dressed in suits and ties, after all it was a Sunday, gathered in Vinnie’s apartment on 6th Street off 2nd Avenue and hooped and hollered as the shrieking girls of the Beatles came on. It was weird to be in Vinnie’s apartment, Vinnie was the queer hairdresser who always invited boys to his place. And in the early 1960s I still had no idea what was going on, I just laughed uncomfortably at the girls and thought they were silly. I was 14, 15 at the time and still had to do some growing up to do. Strange that Vinnie was so friendly. Anyway, I liked John Lennon, he looked brooding, but Paul McCarthy was cute.

  2. Donna G Zelle Says:

    My best friend Sharon was at that first concert @Carnegie Hall. She and I went to their concert @ Shea Stedium later on.We were 13 – 14 years old . The closest we got to see them was when they left in a helicopter.

  3. William Krause Says:

    o-o-o. a pox on the beatles & all their acolytes.. WK

  4. Beth Says:

    Thanks for the meat-spirited comment, William. You are a pill.

  5. Kenny Martel Says:

    Were there “audience members” seated onstage (“upstate,” behind The Beatles) at BOTH shows on the evening they played Carnegie Hall? The reason I ask is because: I was AT one of those shows (3rd row, dead center) and I DO NOT remember ANYONE being onstage except “The Fab Four.” Is it possible “audience members” (special guests) were seated onstage for ONE of those shows, but NOT the other? The show I attended was “opened” by a 5, or 6 piece folk band (similar to “The Christy Minstrels) which (by the way) the audience “hated!” ….I felt sorry for them!

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