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]