Archive for April, 2008

A recent conversation I had with my father (where, among other things, he recalled how he went to two packed Commodores gigs at Araneta Coliseum back in the 60s) led me to do a bit of research about an event I really didn’t know much about until now.

The event I speak of is the Beatles in 1966 playing 2 large concerts in Manila and then getting booed and harassed out of the Philippines.

So how can such a thing happen?

According to this site, on 7/4/66 the Beatles played two concerts at Rizal Memorial Football Coliseum with a combined attendance of 80,000. (They played while Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were in power; however, this was before martial law was declared in 1972.) Before these 2 concerts…

“a lunch was set at MalacaƱang Palace at 11 a.m. with 300 children waiting to see The Beatles. An hour before the party, a delegation came to the Manila Hotel to collect The Beatles. Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager, declined the invitation on the grounds that no earlier arrangement had been made and The Beatles were still in bed.

The day’s scheduled concerts, however, later proceeded successfully. In between concerts, local televisions reported the alleged “snub” showing footages of children, some crying, disappointed by The Beatles. Epstein watched in horror and went immediately to the television studio to apologize and set the facts straight. But barely had he started reading his press statement when the transmission blipped.

Newspapers carried the headline, “Beatles Snub President.” The following morning was the scheduled departure of The Beatles to New Delhi. Suddenly, The Beatles and their entourage realized they were practically on their own without any help: Room and transportation services were withdrawn. In the airport, the whole Beatles entourage was manhandled as it made its way to the plane.”

The Beatles eventually got to New Delhi, but they did not appreciate how they were pretty much booed off the Philippines. Someone put up on Youtube parts of a Beatles interview where they describe how they were treated and vow never to go there again (a vow which they kept).

One can also see in the above clip a small glimpse of what the Philippines was like in the Marcos years before martial law.

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