On August 22nd, 1964, Empire Stadium succumbed to the first volley of the British Invasion of North America: the Beatles performed at Empire Stadium. It was seven years after the Elvis Edition of Rock ‘n Roll mayhem, and, it seemed, a repeat performance, at least in terms of the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans.
Three months earlier, in June, the ticket booths at the stadium played host to another kind of invasion. Beatles fans, determined to get good seats, camped out overnight so as to be first comers. I was one of those kids. I was 14 and shocked that my parents had allowed me, accompanied by three friends, to stay out all night in, as they noted “the middle of nowhere, in a veritable parking lot. “ They were, no doubt, comforted by one of the dads, (not mine, ruefully reminding me that he had had more than his share of ‘camping’ during the war) who agreed to act as our chaperone. He was certainly comforted by the mickey of rum he had chosen as his companion and which he consumed from a safe distance in his car. It was my first entirely sleepless night (not fun, as I would much later admit) and my first mixed gender wild pillow fight. I survived, bought my ticket – 5 bucks, with an extra 25 cents tacked on for handling – and went home to wait much too long to see The Beatles.
The Beatles came, they played all of 27 minutes to a 20,000 plus crowd of screeching, unhinged teenagers, and, pulling an Elvis, they left. They ran off the stage, into waiting vehicles and drove straight to the airport. Their Vancouver
stay lasted an afternoon and an evening. Period. During the concert, at least I had the presence of mind to check their feet for authenticity. Yup. They were, each and every one of them, wearing Beatle boots.
That night marked another star was placed in the Hastings – Sunrise heaven. It is, surely, the very best place to be in the entire town.