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10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance

Paul McCartney of the Beatles performing at Met Stadium in 1965.
Paul McCartney of the Beatles performing at Met Stadium in 1965.
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive

The Beatles played Minnesota exactly once. During their 1965 U.S. tour, the legendary rock band played the since-demolished Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington.

Due to safety concerns, promoter Big Reggie Colihan decided no one was allowed on the field, which meant few close-up photos were taken. However, the Beatles' U.S. tour manager, Bob Bonis, snapped a few pictures from the side of the stage.

Here are 10 of the shots Bonis took that are part of the current exhibition "Ladies and Gentlemen... The Beatles!" now on display at the Mall of America's newly opened Midwest Music Museum.

See also:
Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 5

10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive

The August 21 concert is still embedded in the memories of those who attended, though the show was far from a sell-out. Only 30,000 of 48,000 tickets were sold, and it was the only stop on the tour that didn't sell out.

Before these iconic Beatles shots were taken, Mike Valentine and the rest of the members in Gregory Dee and the Avanties were warming up the crowd.

Valentine, the band's drummer, set up outside one of the entrances and played for thousands of screaming Beatles fans for an hour. The setup was awkward, Valentine says, because the band was set up on the ground floor and all the screaming girls were pressed up against the fence.

Valentine says bassist Frank Prout resembled Paul McCartney and was mistaken for the Beatles bass player often. After the band finished their set, Prout headed for the parking lot and was mobbed by screaming girls. The girls reportedly tore off his shirt, pants, shoes, and socks, and left him in nothing but his underwear. That wasn't the only time that has happened to Prout, Valentine says.

10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive

During the Beatles' set that followed, Valentine was sitting in the second row right behind home plate. He says he was honored to be so close to the stage; however he wished he was able to get closer by moving to the floor.

"It was such a rush to be there, to tell all your friends, family, whomever, I played at the Beatles concert," Valentine said. "I still do it and people go 'you're kidding - oh shit.' It's my one singular serious claim to fame."

The Beatles Setlist:
She's a Woman
I Feel Fine
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Ticket to Ride
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby
Can't Buy Me Love
Baby's in Black
I Wanna Be Your Man
A Hard Day's Night
Help!
I'm Down

Next: Even more photos of the Beatles at Met Stadium.

 

10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive
10 rare photos from the Beatles' only Minnesota performance
Photo courtesy of the Bob Bonis archive

Bob Bonis took 38 photos in all during the Beatles' Minnesota visit. View the shots, which are available for purchase, here.

Better yet, see them with the rest of the memorabilia and interactive highlights of the "Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!" exhibit at the Midwest Music Museum. Tickets are $5-$7, and the exhibit runs through September 7.

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