July 4, 1966 Beatles Concert in the Philippines

July 4, 2006 marks the 40th anniversary of the Beatles only concert in the Philippines that was held at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. The 2 shows were sold out and about 80,000 spectators came, watched and listened to the Beatles’ music LIVE at the Philippine soil. It was out-of-sight, fans were shouting, singing along, crying and yelling to their hearts out in every songs that the Beatles played at the grandstand.

The impact of the Beatles’ music to the Filipino baby-boomers is undisputed and the Beatles truly revolutionized the pop music culture. In fact, lots of Filipino youngsters were inspired by these 4-long hair lads from England and many even had formed their own bands, even imitating them as well as their music such bands like the Moonstrucks, Dynasonics-Dynasouls, Eddie Mesa & the HiJacks, to name a few.

Enclosed are just some of the thoughts, reactions and comments of those who witnessed or heard in the news about Beatlles’ concert in Manila, Philippines in July 4, 1966.

Ben Yanto, PCR webcreator
Indianapolis, Indiana

PS: I was already living in Guam when Beatles had their only concert in the Philippines and regrettably, I didn’t witness such rock concert history of the 20th century.

Naroon ako sa Rizal Memorial noong bumanat ang Beatles, 16 years old lang ako. Ang Opener ay ang Downbeats - Get Off My Cloud - si Joey Pepe Smith ang umupak at Paper Back - No Where Man - naman ang Beatles. Ang maririnig mo lang ay ang bass ni Paul at ang maliliit na boses na lumalabas sa horn type na PA nang play field.

Hindi pa hi-tech ang sound noon. Nasa middle section kami 70 yard out with my cousin Arnulfo Filin who is a bassist as well.....Talagang wala nang nakikinig sa kanila, sigawan na lang ang iyong maririnig at standing ovation all the way.

That was a great experience and as natural as Norwegian Wood ...ha ha ha

Bing Santos (Seattle, WA.)

I was part of the crew that installed the sound system at the Rizal Football Stadium when the Beatles performed in 1966. My Dad, got me to join the sound system company, which was owned by one of the Professors at the college that my Dad headed. I was about 17 at that time, and he got me to join the outfit so that I’d be able to watch the concert for free. I assisted in setting up the speakers all over the stadium, laid out cables and performed sound equipment testing. To top it all, I even got paid for my services (libre na ang concert, nabayaran pa)!

I saw both shows (matinee and evening) and was provided with a special Stage Pass that gave me access to the Beatles' dressing room. Early in the day of the concert, with only very few people in attendance at the stadium doing preparations, I requested to check out the guitars that the Beatles were going to play during the concert. The British crew were very accommodating and gave me permission ("as long as you do not touch"). The gear that they had was awesome! It should be noted that during that timeframe, most of the local bands, including the Black Knights' arsenal included Fender, Gibson, Hofner, etc. There were only very few bands that had or used Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Hofner violin bass or VOX amps for that matter. I guess, looking back now, that probably was the reason why I made sure that I had the same type of gear as part of my collection at this time.

During the concert, I was located right by where the mixers and other sound equipment control panels were staged. I was right in front of the Main Stage! You can probably imagine how close I was to the Beatles. They were just about 8-10 feet away from where I was!

Before the evening concert, we had to replace quite a few of the sound equipment in a hurry. Primarily, the amps that the Beatles used were so powerful and so LOUD that the PA system got drowned out during the matinee concert. I distinctly recall that John Lennon even made a comment about it in-between songs during the matinee show.

That was one of the most memorable events in my life. In fact, I had set aside and saved the concert Stage Pass and other mementos from that event before I left for the USA. Well, I wonder how much would the Stage Pass fetch in Ebay at this time? Kidding aside, I will treasure this and the other stuff from that historic event all through the rest of my life.

Bok Vergara (Chicago, IL.)
The Black Knights

I attended the concert back then. It was everything it was supposed to be and then some. The concert itself was huge by any known standards. The screaming fans were definitely louder than the Beatles giving proof to the Beatle's claim that they stopped touring for that exact reason.

It was like magic seeing this group, intact, live and in Manila. They had brown hair and that was a surprise because all their pictures showed black hair.

For what I remember their performance was stunning and the screaming girls only added to the excitement. Their equipment was minimal on stage save for a few large Vox amps which did not have the classic chrome stands but were laid piggy back like a Fender Showman and I remember them being touted as the largest amps Vox made. If you figure that back then, PA systems were not the mega sound systems we have today, it was fitting that the Beatles gave up touring becaue three 100 watt guitar amps, which were not mic'd if memory serves, could hardly blanket the high pitched Beatle buzz of the swarms of fans, mostly girls screaming, girls fainting and slumping over the railing in the bleachers.

The Beatles' voices were heard but through trumpet horns, again this is what I remember. No concert since then has had that type of screaming coming from the audience and I've been to many here and in the US.

If I remember right, the tickets cost Php 50 at least the tickets we had. The peso was two to the dollar back then so that was a lot of money.

My brothers, Ric Segreto, Jeff Macaraeg, and our cousin Em Macaraeg went. My brother Gordon, the biggest Beatle fan of us all was not allowed to go because my parents thought him too young. I remember feeling lucky I went and after the concert it felt too good to be true.

The fiasco that happened days later regarding the Marcoses was an embarrasment and the treatment the Fab 4 received at the MIA was even more so. It just smacked of Filipinos finding a way to shoot themselves in the foot. And one would've hoped that diplomacy had the upper hand.

The songs were played as well as one could expect even though they were the first to use multi-tracking techniques. I'm still debating if the harmony line for the guitar part for And Your Bird Can Sing was left out or maybe George played with a tape loop. The air was filled with mystic waves of joy that day... The sight of the band was so intense and the energy those four exuded when standing, playing together, was unlike any performer seen and perhaps will never be replicated. And even if so, it will be a clone of the Beatles. The positions of John and Paul as their guitar necks pointed in opposite directions as they stood on the outsides of George and Ringo was like a magic wand that channeled their energy forwards.

You really had to have been there...

Goff Macaraeg

What a blast I had! I was about 14 years old. A typical teenager who was begging her dad...all those groups that came to Manila to perform...been there, done that. But the Beatles??? I cannot miss that for anything in the world. If I remember correctly, my dad was in Hongkong playing with his own band so I asked him the ultimate favor a daughter can ever hope for, “I want to see the Beatles”. Wow, he said "sure!". So I guess like everyone else, prepared myself to watch. My mom, and sister-in-law went with me.

Of course the opening act was D'Downbeats. [Nides eventually played with D'Downbeats, how funny was that?] But who cares about them! I came to see John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Finally, they came out…. oh my god!!! Everyone was yelling and screaming you could hardlly hear them. Even my mom was screaming, we all lost our voices! the only song that I remember hearing was "Yesterday" coz the crowd toned down a little bit. I was crying, screaming like any other teen and up to this day, I'm proud to say that I went, saw and heard the Beatles perform. It's something that I passed on to my sons, Allan and Andrew, and hopefully to my future grandkids.

The next day, guess who was on the cover of our Sunday magazine? Yours truly with my mouth wide open, crying because I finally saw John, Paul, George and Ringo in the flesh. What a blast that was and what memories!!!

Lulu Aranzamendez (New Jersey, USA)

I was at that Beatles concert in '66 and all I can remember is the noise from screaming fans and catching glimpses of the group through the backs of people standing on their seats. The music was totally lost. If I had been an alien from another planet I would not have been able to fathom the human reaction to this event.

The Beatles wrote some of the best music in pop and rock and roll. Too bad it had to be listened to in this environment.

Bob Basa

It was my 8th birthday when they came here. To my memory I heard of their coming through the radio and the sad scenario that ensued after their concert because of Imelda.

I am a big fan of the Beatles.

Jose Cesar de Guzman aka Bobby

Actually, nandoon na kami sa Rizal Memorial Coliseum, pero sa labas pa lang, hindi na rin kami nakapasok dahil talagang siksikan na sa gate, mga 8:00pm na 'yon. We try just to listen outside, pero puro mga tili lang ang maririnig mo ni hindi mo marinig ang kanta nila sa labas, tilian ng tilian at mga sigaw, sipol at mga umiiyak pa ng mga chicks at alam mo na, noong panahong iyon ay mahina pa ang klase ng "sound system" natin doon sa Pinas, di tulad ngayon na puro "Hi-Tech" na ang mga equipments...High watts na ang mga amplifiers at marami na ang speakers for vocals, meron pang sub-woopers, and meron ng monitors spkrs....naka-cross-over pa sila, kaya bukod ang high, middle, low, hindi puwersado ang mga speakers, mayroon pang de-compressors ang limitters that help push the sounds loud and clear. Sayang nga, kung inabot ng The Beatles ang ganitong klase ng mga instrumento, they will soun more perfect sa Rizal Coliseum.

So, ang ginawa na lang namin ay inabangan na lang namin sa harap ng Manila Hotel, where they stay...matagal din kaming naghintay, konti lang ang tao doon kaya medyo solo namin na makikita sila ng personal....Pero heto na, nang dumating doon sa Manila Hotel, meron sumigaw,,, "hayan na ang Beatles, hayan na ang Beatles" takbuhan ang mga tao, biglang dumami, pero dumaan naman sa harapan namin, at nang kakamayan ni Pito Sanga (lead guitar namin) si Paul McArtney ay biglang nanghataw ng batuta itong pulis na security, at tinamaan pa sa kamay si Pito...Kaya, ayun at namaga pa ang kanyang kamay, makita lang ng malapitan ang "The Beatles"...noong time na iyon, ang grupo namin ay " The Happennings" at bass guitarist pa ako noon...Tapos, kinuha kami ni Ely Garcia ng Paranaque, " The Blue Wise Band " biyahe sa Vietnam, and 1970, we became " Boys in the Band "

That's all I can Share about Beatles.......thanx...Boying and Pito, at si Joven (drummer)

Ruben Sinacsi (Hongkong)

We were on the 8:30 pm show, I was with Victor Cruz and Freddie Dimalanta of the Versatiles Band that day when the Beatles performed at the Rizal Football Coliseum. What a thrill. I remember Daisy Romualdez, handing a note to Paul McCartney.

A throng of spectators outside the coliseum, barged into one of the wooden gates to see the Beatles that day, due to lack of tickets.

Memories. . . .

Niki Domingo (Bits N' Pieces Band)
Southern California

I was there at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. I remember that the Downbeats opened up for the Beatles & I think they did some Rolling Stones numbers. There was a huge disparity in the sound level when the Beatles came on. I guess they were coming out of the main P.A. system. I still remember their opening number. It was "Day Tripper".

Of course, we all know what happened to them at the airport. What a shame.

Tito Hubila

Isa sa sanpit ko ang naka sipa either ke Paul o George. Kasi me radio station nuon na nag udyok sa mga tao na pumunta sa airport para bigyan ng leksion ang Beatles.

Nestor Malapitan (Houston, TX)

As I remember, Willy Jurado(Godbless his soul) being the general manager of the airport that time, withdrawed all his security men, allowing all the hooligans inside the airport to take care of this things for the first lady. Kasi i-nisnab daw nila ang Malacanang.

Tony Victoria (San Francisco, CA.)

What I vividly remember from the Beatles Anthology DVD was Ringo saying that he "hated the Philippines". Paul McCartney, meanwhile, was quoted as saying that he was very happy when the Marcoses were toppled from power and were flown into exile away from the Philippines. Paul characterized it as some sort of "poetic justice", if I remember correctly.

They labeled those who beat them up as "thugs". I believe John and Ringo may have gotten the worst beating among the four.

We all know that this utterly shameful act was done by only a very small clique of Filipinos. It was a vulgar display of the arrogance of power.

I still remember seeing pictures in front pages of several Philippines newspapers of John (being floored) and Ringo (after he was punched) and of women fans crying after witnessing the beating at the Manila International Airport.

Needless to say, when I first viewed this segment of the Beatles Anthology, I recalled the shame I felt for our native country right after the beating incident. I mean, how low and barbaric could we have gone. And the rehash of this incident on the Beatles Anthology definitely didn't add anything to put a positive spin on the Philippines.

I just hope that the surviving Beatles (Paul and Ringo) have forgiven the Filipinos for their traumatic experience in the Philippines. The truth is that majority of Filipinos love the Beatles and, they may not fully realize it, Filipinos (including myself and most members of PCR) are among their greatest and most loyal fans in the world.

Manny Tuazon (San Francisco, CA.)

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