WUMB December Program Guide

The Beatles Flour Power Incident

This has got to be one of my favorite unknown Beatle stories.

I love sharing it every November because I enjoy the many reactions it receives from Beatle fans or even non-Beatle fans.

It was November 10, 1964 that The Beatles performed at Bristol’s Colston Hall in England for what was probably one of the most bizarre appearances by the band. An appearance where the band was attacked!

Colston Hall had welcomed The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and other acts from the 1960s. Colston had a capacity for 2,500 screaming teenagers. In fact, Gerry and The Pacemakers performed to a full house and security ended the show 10 minutes early because of the overzealous fans.

Bristol’s City Council even discussed banning these ‘beat combo’ concerts, fortunately they did not.

The Beatles were approved to perform two concerts at Colston Hall on November 15, 1963.

The fans lined up 24 hours before tickets were scheduled to go on sale. Tickets sold out quickly and yes, even back then tickets were being sold by scalpers making significant profits.

The local press was not happy with what they were seeing, and they wrote about it! Matters were made worse when George and Paul were suffering with the flu and the shows were almost canceled.

The Beatles performed the two shows to sold out houses! Some of the local press were not allowed inside because the venue was at capacity, which led to a campaign to ban The Beatles from ever performing there again.

That brings us to a year later, November 1964. By that time, the outrage had disappeared as well as the will to ban The Beatles from Colston Hall.

The Beatles did leave Colston Hall off their tour however, citing the stage being vulnerable to fans and unsafe for the band. However, the fans rallied the press and the band and succeeded in bringing the Fab Four back. Colston Hall was added as the last show on their UK tour.

The Beatles once again performed to a capacity house of screaming fans. Little did The Beatles know they would be victims of a student prank!

After performing “If I Fell” The Beatles took their traditional bow, in their crisp black stage suits to a huge round of screams and applause. The Beatles were to begin their finale.

But hovering fifty feet above the stage in the lighting gantries, four students were perched with bags of flour. In fact, those same four students claimed that was exactly where they watched The Beatles perform the year before, while sitting in the gantries.

Moments later they emptied the bags, and The Beatles were covered in flour.

But The Beatles loved it and laughed along with the students and the entire audience.

The students provided their names to the press Sue, Roger, Richard, and Bob.
“We dropped the flour and ran for it,” they told the press. “We did it to prove security and the hall was a farce.”

After cleaning off their instruments, The Beatles finished the show.

It was the last time The Beatles performed at Colston Hall.

It was also one of those rare moments in time where we see how authentic The Beatles sense of humor really was. It was not all for the camera. They were always true to themselves and to the fans.

Comments and questions are always welcome!

See you next Saturday morning, 6am-8am on Breakfast With The Beatles on WUMB!

~ Cha-Chi Loprete

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