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Fifty years later, remembering the Beatles first U.S. concert

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 01:42

Feb. 10 - A photographer at the Beatles first U.S. concert 50 years ago remembers the night that forever changed the music scene. Linda So reports.

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It's hard to believe, amid the crumbling concrete and parked cars, this is where history was made. Fifty years ago, The Beatles played their first U.S. concert in this D.C. arena, formerly known as the Washington Coliseum. Mike Mitchell was an aspiring photographer who was there when the Fab Four took the stage. SOUNDBITE: PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE MITCHELL, SAYING: "You started to hear a little rumble in the crowd. And you know, the cops had a little narrow channel for them to walk through, right, to get up onto the stage. And you know, all of a sudden the Beatles were kind of like up on the stage, and they puttered around for three or four minutes with their stuff. And then they started doing 'Roll Over Beethoven,' which was great." More than 8,000 fans packed the arena, mostly screaming teenage girls. SOUNDBITE: PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE MITCHELL, SAYING: "It was such a unified scream. You know, there were all these different people but it all melted into one." SOUNDBITE: PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE MITCHELL, SAYING: "They were really good. You know, they were really good, and the stuff that they were singing at that time was targeted toward an audience that thought mostly about love." Mitchell took hundreds of photos that night... auctioning many of them for tens of thousands of dollars. SOUNDBITE: PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE MITCHELL, SAYING: "Did I know what was going to happen? I didn't know what was going to happen. But you could feel something was happening." The D.C. Preservation League will mark the 50th anniversary of the concert with a re-enactment at the arena on Tuesday. A cover band called Beatlemania plans to perform the same set list and take the stage at the exact time the Beatles did a half century ago.

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Fifty years later, remembering the Beatles first U.S. concert

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 01:42