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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Paul McCartney's Newcastle show no first for a 1964 Beatles veteran

SEEING Sir Paul McCartney in Newcastle for the first time will be a lifelong memory for many who made the trip to McDonald Jones Stadium last week.

For Eleebana's John Lambkin, however, it brought back a different memory from decades earlier.

Here's Mr Lambkin's story, in his own words:

"Last week's performance by Sir Paul McCartney, at McDonald Jones Stadium, helped me recall the last time that I saw him perform as a member of the Fab Four.

The Beatles on Melbourne Town Hall's balcony during their 1964 Australian tour.

In 1964, my sister was in her final year at Sydney Teachers College to become a sewing teacher.

Tickets for the Beatles concert at the Sydney Stadium were advertised to go on sale on a Monday in May so she and her future husband took blankets and pillows and camped on the footpath, outside the ticket office, at lunchtime on the Sunday before.

When the ticket sales office opened at nine the next morning, crowds of people pushed into the office. But the manager told everyone that they had to stand back so he could serve my sister first. He'd recognised the fact that my sister and boyfriend had been there all night.

Fortunately for me, my sister decided to buy me a ticket too, for my birthday which was coming up at the end of May. I was teaching in a one-teacher school an hour south of Bathurst.

Sir Paul McCartney during his Newcastle show last week. Picture by Marina Neil

A week before the concert a package arrived and I opened it up in front of my students. To my embarrassment it turned out to be a pair of long john underwear, dyed bright red, with a huge beetle on the back, embroidered by my sister.

My ticket butt shows that we were seated in the front row, directly in front of the stage; only about four metres back. We were flanked by two burly policemen who told us that they'd had cotton wool stuffed in their ears. One asked my sister if she was going to go crazy during the performance and she assured him that she wouldn't. Of course, he was correct and it proved false when she did.

The warm-up act was the Kiwi Johnny Devlin, who performed in a tight leather suit. He was a star performer in Australia at the time. I remember that he sang his last song while lying on his back.

When the Beatles came on stage, the roar was deafening. When Paul McCartney sang his high "wooooo" notes the screaming was so loud that I couldn't hear Ringo on the drums, even though the skins were moving in and out about four centimetres.

The concert seemed to be over in no time at all. As the three of us walked out of the stadium we complained that they had only sung five songs but as we walked, we counted them up and we got to about 15 before we stopped counting. I think that they'd sung every song that they 'd recorded at that stage of their careers.

Driving back to my little country school the next day was quite a letdown, but the memory of that night is still fresh in my mind, nearly 60 years later."

Thanks for sharing that with us, Mr Lambkin. I'm sure there will be a few memories of that night at Turton Road lingering six decades from now.

Enthusiasm for the band's music remains strong six decades later. Picture by Marina Neil

To sit or stand? That's the question

A few correspondents in today's letters to the editor have highlighted a concert debate in the wake of the Paul McCartney shows - do you sit or stand when the band comes on?

It's a bit like reclining on a plane. Do you make yourself comfortable within the bounds of your allocated spot, or do you bear a responsibility to make sure the people around you aren't inconvenienced?

Either way, it's worth thinking about.

At the risk of inspiring passions on either side, email and tell us what you think.

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