Audio: The Beatles Play Their Final Concert at Candlestick Park, 1966

Aside from a sur­prise send-off per­for­mance on the roof of their own Apple build­ing in 1969 (which you can see here), The Bea­t­les played their last offi­cial con­cert on August 29th, 1966 at Can­dle­stick Park in San Fran­cis­co before mov­ing on to make their most icon­ic stu­dio albums, then split­ting up three years lat­er. Know­ing it would be their final show, the band brought a cam­era onstage to take pho­tos of the crowd and them­selves. Paul McCart­ney asked the band’s press offi­cer Tony Bar­row to record the con­cert on a hand-held tape recorder. Bar­row described the atmos­phere as an “end of term spir­it,” even if “it wasn’t a spec­tac­u­lar occa­sion […] noth­ing like Shea Sta­di­um.” His rec­ol­lec­tion might seem strange, but we should keep in mind that the band had been tour­ing inces­sant­ly, play­ing mas­sive shows to are­nas packed with scream­ing fans. The Can­dle­stick Park con­cert by con­trast had large sec­tions of emp­ty seats, with only 25,000 tick­ets sold in a sta­di­um with a 42,500 seat capac­i­ty.

Bar­row record­ed the show, then, as he recalls, made one copy and locked the oth­er away:

Back in Lon­don I kept the con­cert cas­sette under lock and key in a draw­er of my office desk, mak­ing a sin­gle copy for my per­son­al col­lec­tion and pass­ing the orig­i­nal to Paul for him to keep. Years lat­er my Can­dle­stick Park record­ing re-appeared in pub­lic as a boot­leg album. If you hear a boot­leg ver­sion of the final con­cert that fin­ish­es dur­ing Long Tall Sal­ly it must have come either from Paul’s copy or mine, but we nev­er did iden­ti­fy the music thief!

Who­ev­er it was, we have that per­son to thank for the record­ing above. The audio qual­i­ty is what might be expect­ed from a hand­held recorder in a huge sta­di­um con­cert, but the his­toric val­ue of the doc­u­ment is ines­timable. See the com­plete track­list below and read more about that final show at The Bea­t­les Bible.

01 — Rock And Roll Music [0:00]

02 — She’s A Woman [1:40]

03 — If I Need­ed Some­one [4:53]

04 — Day Trip­per [7:50]

05 — Baby’s In Black [10:58]

06 — I Feel Fine [13:43]

07 — Yes­ter­day [16:24]

08 — I Wan­na Be Your Man [19:10]

09 — Nowhere Man [21:48]

10 — Paper­back Writer [24:36]

11 — Long Tall Sal­ly [27:20]

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Bea­t­les’ Rooftop Con­cert: The Last Gig Filmed in Jan­u­ary 1969

The Bea­t­les: Live at Shea Sta­di­um, 1965

Watch All of The Bea­t­les’ His­toric Appear­ances on The Ed Sul­li­van Show, 50 Years Ago

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.


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