The Beatles Played Their Final Concert 50 Years Ago: Fan Who Was There Remembers the 'Energy & Insanity'

Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns
The Beatles perform in London on June 16, 1966. 

It was 50 years ago today on Aug. 29, 1966, that the Beatles played what turned out to be their final ticketed show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. And Nancy Guida, who attended both that show, Paul McCartney's 2014 concert that closed the stadium and shows by others including the Rolling Stones, said there was nothing like a Beatles show.

“To this day, there is nothing like hearing, 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles,' she says. “I mean you can't even put in words what it felt like. The energy, I have never felt that at any other concert.” And she said despite the insanity and the screaming at the concerts, she could actually hear the all of the Fab Four sing. Well, almost all of them.

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“This is something I would love to tell Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. I could hear them. Even at the Cow Palace, I could hear them. The only time I couldn't hear the Beatles was when Ringo sang. I was screaming my head off and I could still hear them. I knew exactly what they were singing.”

One of the major problems at the 2014 McCartney concert was the traffic gridlock that kept some fans from getting in. But Guida said that problem didn't occur in 1966. “I don't remember at all. My friend's mom drove us. We decorated the car. We had Beatles stuff all over. And my friend's mom that took us up there. And because it wasn't sold out, she actually ran in and watched the concert. She bought the cheapest ticket she could find, so she was way up in nosebleed. She watched the concert and we all just met back at the car. So I don't remember any problems with traffic in and out."

She said the Cow Palace show the year before was even wilder. Fans couldn't get close to them at Candlestick because a fence surrounded the stage, but that wasn't true at the Cow Palace.

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“They had to stop the concert. What happened was everybody rushed the stage. And people were pretending like they were fainting and getting onstage and grabbing the boys.” She says she rushed the stage and got very close to John Lennon. “I thought I was going to get trampled. I was 13 years old. A girl pulled me up on her folding chair and basically saved my life. And as I stood up, John Lennon was right in front of me. And I could see the red in his hair. He was just right there in front of me. Then George came over, then Paul came over. I remember I didn't scream. I was just, 'Oh, my God!' There they are, right in front of me. I'll never forget that.”

She said someone she knew actually made contact with Paul McCartney. “This girl, a friend of my brother's, gets up on stage. She grabs Paul McCartney from the back. So here comes the security guards and he looked over and sees this hot little chick hanging on to him and he says to the security guard, 'No, no, it's OK. Let her stay. Let her stay.'”

Guida, who has attended the two Beatles shows and five solo McCartney shows (with two more upcoming in Sacramento in October), admits seeing him now just isn't the same as seeing the Beatles. “When you see Paul, it's great and it's cool. Sometimes, I kind of close my eyes when he's singing a Beatles song and pretend the others are up there with him. So you do get the feeling with Paul.

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“But it's still not there. Any person that was a Beatlemaniac back in those days would probably tell you the same thing.”

But on this 50th anniversary of the Candlestick Beatles show, Guida said she feels a little melancholy. “John and George are gone. Fifty years ago. The last Beatle concert,” she says, saying what's going through her mind. “But I bet I am not the only one.”