The Beatles to Release Shea Stadium Concert in Theaters With Ron Howard Film

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
The Beatles perform at Shea Stadium in New York on Aug. 15, 1965. 

The Beatles announced Thursday (July 28) that a 4K restoration of their celebrated performance at their Aug. 15, 1965, Shea Stadium concert with remastered sound will be added to the theater showings of the Ron Howard Eight Days A Week: The Beatles Touring Years documentary that will premiere Sept. 15.

The Shea concert, which was first shown in the U.S. on ABC-TV in 1967 as The Beatles At Shea Stadium TV special, had been shown in bits and pieces with upgraded footage in various Beatles projects including 1995's The Beatles Anthology, but hasn't been seen in complete form since the original TV broadcast other than on bootleg. Its re-release has long been a major desire of Beatles fans along with their live recordings from the Hollywood Bowl, which will finally come out Sept. 9, and the movie Let It Be on DVD, which is still in limbo.

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The Shea Stadium concert was filmed by 14 35mm cameras in front of 55,000 people and first shown on BBC TV in black-and-white in the UK in 1966 and in color in the U.S. a year later. The film's new 4K restoration and sound remastering was done at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, who also worked on the recent 10th anniversary Beatles LOVE show at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, the upcoming The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD and the Beatles 1+ DVD that came out late last year. The songs in the Shea concert include "Twist and Shout," "I Feel Fine," "She's a Woman" and a finale of "I'm Down" that featured John Lennon running his arm along the keyboard.

Watch the trailer here:


 
Leslie Healy, who attended the '65 show, remembers it as a wild night. "(It) was pretty amazing, a hot hot night in New York," she said in an interview. "I had to navigate the subway to Shea Stadium in Queens with a girlfriend. My folks actually let this 15-year-old go without them. They couldn't have withstood the noise.
 
"(There was a) big wait (until) Cousin Brucie and Ed Sullivan actually came out and the crowd was in a frenzy. The screams were deafening (and) I'm sure I added to them," she said. "You couldn't hear the songs. It was one roar of hysterical young ladies from the time they opened their mouths until their final chord. And the whole concert was over in about 33 minutes. Just a flash."

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Dave Schwensen, author of The Beatles at Shea Stadium, a book focusing on the 1965 concert, says the release of the footage is big news. "From a fan's point of view, it's great, it's exciting. For all these years, we've had unofficial footage. I'd be very interested with today's technology how this stuff is going to look," he said. 

Schwenson, the author of another Beatles concert book, The Beatles in Cleveland on their concerts in that city, also said there was no footage of "She's a Woman" shot for the original show because cameramen were changing films, but he said he was told footage of the song has been located from home movies taken by fans in the stands for the Ron Howard film.
 
Ron Furmanek, who worked on the restoration of the film for the Beatles, said the quality of the Shea show is superb. "Shea Stadium, other than the sound issues, of everything that was ever shot in the '60s of any group, I think Shea Stadium is the highest quality film. It looks better than WoodstockGimme ShelterMonterey Pop. It really does. Go look at it in Anthology. It's stunning. Put on the headphones and look at it in Anthology. You're going to hear some true stereo there, like 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy.'"
 
A new trailer for the Ron Howard film, which covers the Beatles' live concerts from their days at the Cavern Club in Liverpool through to 1966 at their final scheduled show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, was also released Thursday. Fans who attended the Beatles concerts are also being given the chance to see the Ron Howard film free by visiting the film website.

The set list for the Shea Stadium show:

"Twist and Shout"
"She’s a Woman"
"I Feel Fine"
"Dizzy Miss Lizzy"
"Ticket to Ride"
"Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby"
"Baby’s in Black"
"Act Naturally"
"A Hard Day’s Night"
"Help!"
"I'm Down"   

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