by Laurel

Chicago in the mid-1960s was an incredible place in which to
live.  Excitement permeated the air and everyone lived on the edge
just waiting for something to happen.  No one knew what it was, but it
seemed as if a revolution was about to take place.  The Viet Nam war
was raging in someplace called Southeast Asia, Lyndon Johnson declared
war on poverty, Martin Luther King, Jr., wanted to tell the world
about his dream, and hippies were everywhere.  Most of all, the city
was wide open to music of all kinds.  Music could be heard everywhere
I walked in the city, and my life was accompanied by the pounding beat
of Rock and Roll.

The music most of us in our 20s wanted to hear, however, was that
particular type produced by four guys from Liverpool, England -- The
Beatles.  It seemed that what they were saying would be the impetus to
begin the revolution, and we waited with bated breath for each of
their new songs to be played on the radio.  We had already seen them
perform on the Ed Sullivan Show via black-and-white television, and we
knew that they had taken New York by storm.  What we really wanted was
to be able to see and hear them perform in person, and the opportunity
to do so came in a most unusual way.

 The year was 1965 and I was working at CBS in Chicago at the
time.  You know CBS -- the television station with the funny looking
eye logo.  Several of us in our office heard one morning that the
deejay on WCBS would be giving away four tickets that day to the
upcoming Beatles concert.  Three of us went down there and waited in
the control booth until incredibly the deejay called us into the
studio while he was on the air.  We could not believe it when he
actually gave us the four tickets and we were really going to see The
Beatles in person at Comisky Park.  We three were thrilled and I
couldn't wait to call my sister to invite her.

The stadium where the concert was to be held is so huge that
50,000 or more people could fit into it comfortably.  We arrived early
and were instantly surrounded by a teeming mass of humanity all
plodding toward the gates.  Hawkers of cheap Beatles memorabilia were
everywhere and people were buying souvenirs by the handful.  Our
excitement was reflected by the squealing teenyboppers who surrounded
us, and as we made our way to our seats, we were overwhelmed by the
noise of the crowd.  Here was a living, breathing organism, 50,000
strong, and it seemed as if this excitement would soon break through
the confines of the stadium and float up into the air for all the
world to hear.  Our seats were located so far back of the outfield and
so high up that we needed binoculars just to see where the stage was
located.  The roar of the crowd echoed back and forth, bouncing off
the stadium walls, until it became impossible to hear the person next
to you as they spoke.

At last the four we had waited so long to see ran out onto the
field and climbed onto the stage.  Here, finally, was Ringo, John,
George, and beautiful Paul, all decked out in bright yellow satin
jackets, their hair impeccably and unfashionably long.  As they began
to play, people jumped to their feet, clapping their hands and swaying
to the music.  Incredibly, the noise from the crowd became even more
intense.  We knew they were playing and singing, but all we could hear
was the screaming of the crowd.  It seemed as if we had been caught up
in a whirlwind of sight and sound.  This didn't matter, though, as we
knew we were part of something unique; we were experiencing history in
the making and it was exciting just to be part of it.

As the four played through their amazing repertoire, the faces of
the crowd became transfixed with ecstasy.  Tears were streaming down
some girls' faces, who were all the while screaming at the top of
their lungs.  The back beat of Ringo's drums seemed almost orgasmic,
pounding and pulsing in accompaniment to the strains of George, Paul,
and John's singing and playing.

All through the concert the sound never abated, and sooner than
we would have liked, it was all over and we were making our way
through the crowd back to our car.  Our eardrums were still vibrating
and we were giddy from the experience.

Were we disappointed that we could not see and hear more of the
Fab Four?  Not on your life.  We all knew that we were at the
beginning of a "magical mystery tour" and could not wait to see what
would happen next in our "Brave New World."  We had actually seen The
Beatles in person and were thrilled by the experience.  Those of us
who lived through the 1960s savor everything new and exciting that
happened to the world and feel as if we were explorers on the verge of
the unknown.  A lot of bad things happened during that era, but a lot
of good things, like The Beatles, make the harsh edges softer.  It is
much easier to equate the decade of the Sixties with love songs by The
Beatles than with death and destruction.