50 Years Ago: The Beatles Play in Liverpool for the Last Time
Although the Beatles would give up the road for good in the summer of 1966, their last performance in their hometown took place more than eight months beforehand, on Dec. 5, 1965. That night, they played the Empire Theatre in the heart of Liverpool.
Beatles Bible says that 40,000 applications for tickets were received for the two shows at the Empire, which seats 2,550 people. The setlist for the two gigs were identical, with 11 songs being played. Two were from the recently released Rubber Soul, with three coming from Help! and five -- "I Feel Fine," "She's a Woman," "We Can Work It Out," "Day Tripper" and "I'm Down" -- were non-LP singles or b-sides. The 11th, "Baby's in Black" was found on Beatles for Sale.
Despite the brevity of the set, fans in attendance at the late show got an early glimpse of Paul McCartney when he sat in with the Koobas, a Liverpool group that was one of the openers, on drums for their take on "Dizzy Miss Lizzy."
They'd appeared at the venue several times over the years, including three concerts in 1963 and auditions for TV Star Search in 1957 and 1959, when they were known, respectively, as the Quarrymen and Johnny and the Moondogs. They lost on both occasions.
To commemmorate the occasion, a bronze statue of the group (pictured above) walking down the street was unveiled on Dec. 5, 2015 at Pier Head. "Talk to anyone in or outside the city about our history and you can guarantee the Beatles will get a mention," Deputy Mayor Ann O'Byrne said at the ceremony, "so it feels right that this sculpture of these iconic men stands proudly on our iconic waterfront."
John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird, was also part of the ceremony. "The statue stands in loving memory of the best band in the world," she said. "The band that leapt from the Cavern stage to worldwide recognition."
The Beatles, Empire Theater Liverpool, Dec. 5, 1965 Setlists
1. "I Feel Fine"
2. "She's a Woman"
3. "If I Needed Someone"
4. "Act Naturally"
5. "Nowhere Man"
6. "Baby's in Black"
8. "We Can Work It Out"
10. "Day Tripper"
11. "I'm Down"
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