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Music

Watch The Beatles burn through 'She Loves You' in 1963

@TylerGolsen

Live performances during The Beatles’ heyday were much different than concerts now. While you might be able to go see Paul McCartney put on a nearly three-hour concert, the longest concert that The Beatles ever played was only a fraction of that length. You were much more likely to see the band play for 20 minutes than you were to see even a now-standard hour-long performance. 

Live rock and roll touring was still in its infancy when The Beatles hit their stride in the early 1960s. Since rock music was mainly based on individuals instead of bands in the 1950s, including Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard, package tours were the ideal way for concert-goers to see all of their favourite singers in one place. Even as rock bands began to take over the scene in the ‘60s, package tours were still standard operating procedure.

That meant that, if you wanted to see The Beatles or The Rolling Stones or The Kinks, you’d also have to sit through a number of other acts. Sometimes these proved to be influential on the bands themselves, like when The Beatles got to meet their heroes like Little Richard and Roy Orbison on tour.

Mostly, though, The Beatles were largely responsible for the decline of the traditional package tour of the 1960s – since they were so popular, almost no attention was paid to the other acts. No one had believed that a band could carry an entire show before The Beatles, but the Fab Four never needed openers to get the excitement going.

The package tours meant that The Beatles themselves usually played in a rapid-fire style. Their energetic performances were probably only possible because of their youth and the short amount of time they were allotted on stage on mid-’60s tours, the staleness of Beatlemania and the exhaustion that followed led to some more reserved live shows. But in 1963, The Beatles had 20 minutes to play around ten songs, so the energy was a vital component of their live gigs.

That can most clearly be seen in the band’s November 1963 performance at the ABC Cinema in Manchester, England. Accompanied by a film crew to capture the band’s excitement in real-time, the notorious elements of early Beatles shows are shown in perfect detail – the screaming fans, the high-octane nature of the band’s performances, and the refined bows that were championed by their manager Brian Epstein. 

Watch The Beatles burn through ‘She Loves You’ live down below.