Friday, 16 April 2021


The Beatles’ Sept. 3, 1964, concert in Indianapolis inspired a lifetime of collecting Beatles memorabilia by Steve Smith, a part-time resident of Naples. 



That performance was a life-changing event for Mr. Smith.
It cost him more than the $4 face value. Witness this story:

“It was Sept. 3, 1964. I was 11 years old and breathless with anticipation,” writes Steve Smith, a resident of Naples and Indianapolis. “At 5 p.m. that evening, The Beatles were performing at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis at a cavernous building called the Coliseum.”

“My father worked at a local television station and was able to secure three of the approximately 12,000 tickets available. I was to attend the concert with my mother and 9-year-old brother. My father did not accompany us as he was busy producing a documentary of The Beatles’ visit for his TV station that became known as “Our Fair Beatles.”

“I remember standing in line at the front entrance of the Coliseum while a large crowd milled about outside anxiously waiting to go in,” Mr. Smith writes. “Finally, the time arrived to enter, and we took our seats. There were four warm-up acts before The Beatles took the stage. After what seemed forever, the moment arrived, The Beatles appeared, and a deafening explosion of screams erupted. I saw girls sobbing and tearing at their clothes.”

“The lads from Liverpool put on quite a show,” he writes. “I was mesmerized. I had never seen or heard anything like it. The concert ended all too quickly, lasting only 30 minutes and 12 songs.”

“I became a Beatles fanatic and eventually began a lifelong hobby of collecting vintage Beatles memorabilia,” he writes. “Unfortunately, the three tickets that my family possessed were lost to history. I have no idea what happened to them. When I began collecting, I was determined to purchase a ticket to that concert.”

“Many years later, I finally found one that I wanted,” he writes. “It was in great condition. Back then, tickets were not scanned, of course, but instead were torn by ticket-takers to prove that the holder of the ticket had legitimately passed through the turnstile. The ticket I found had been torn only slightly at one end, thus preserving full headshot pictures of all four Beatles on the front of the ticket. I paid $580 for the ticket, substantially more than the $4 original face value. I’m reasonably confident that it’s worth more than $1,000 today.”

“I ended up selling my vast collection of Beatles memorabilia in anticipation of our move to Florida, but one item I did not part with was the State Fair ticket, which I still have,” Mr. Smith writes. “That 11-year-old pre-teen is now a 68-year-old senior citizen. Whenever I gaze upon that ticket, it brings back fond childhood memories of a momentous occasion when I personally witnessed a phenomenon that changed popular culture and popular music forever.”

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