Saints will play in Jacksonville; some band played there 57 years ago

The words “some band” in the headline are a reference to the Beatles, who played in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 11, 1964. The Gator Bowl was the site.

The old stadium is gone and in its place is TIAA Bank Field, the home of the Jaguars and, for one game, the home of the New Orleans Saints.

Fifty-seven years and one day after the Beatles played in Jacksonville, the Saints will open the 2021 season on Sunday, Sept. 12, not in the Superdome but in Jacksonville against the Green Bay Packers. Hurricane Ida is the reason.

OK, back to the Beatles. They had their own hurricane to contend with during their first U.S. tour. It was Dora, not to be confused with the “Match Game” Dora.

Hurricane Dora made landfall near St. Augustine in the early-morning hours of Sept. 10, 1964, with winds estimated around 115 mph.

The Beatles performed the next night before a crowd of 23,000 in wind gusts of 45 mph.

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From Frank Beacham’s Journal, Sept. 11, 2020

The concert is well-documented with pages and pages of stories and videos you can find on Google. Just about all the pages we saw include how the Beatles fought the Gator Bowl’s segregation policy in the days leading up to their appearance. The Beatles won the battle. They beat the home team.

We saw what songs the Beatles played at the Gator Bowl. They opened with “Twist and Shout,” closed with “Long Tall Sally” and also performed “All My Loving,” “Things We Said Today,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” There were 12 songs in all, according to what we hope is our reliable source:

We suppose we can get verification from YouTube.

Oh, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching this video of reporter Jean Morris interviewing the Beatles at a press conference at the George Washington Hotel before the concert.

Five nights later, on Sept. 16, 1964, the Beatles were just 75 miles from our home. They performed at City Park Stadium in New Orleans. We missed it, but as we did with their Jacksonville concert, we went back to the past. That’s what YouTube is for.

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