Beatles fans relive memories of Minnesota concertby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — It didn't matter that Carol Ersing's father wouldn't let her bring the binoculars to see the Beatles. Or that her older brother threatened to kill her if she screamed during the show.
Forty-five years after the Beatles' only appearance in Minnesota, Ersing considers the concert one of the best experiences she's ever had.
"It has to be one of the top five things in my entire life," said Ersing, who was 11 years old when she attended the concert at Met Stadium in Bloomington. "It was just so much fun to be with so many people who loved the Beatles just as much as I did."
Ersing and some of the 25,000 fans who attended the concert plan to visit the Minnesota History Center's new exhibit displaying photos from the event on Aug. 21, 1965. The photos were taken by then-17-year-old Bill Carlson, who published a book in 2007 about the Beatles' Minnesota appearance.
The exhibit opens Saturday, but the Minnesota History Center has planned an opening bash for Tuesday that includes a screening of the Beatles movie, "A Hard Day's Night," and a Beatles music performance by a cover band.
Ersing, of Cottage Grove, still has a newspaper clipping of the photo of her grabbing another girl's binoculars to get a closer look at her Beatle, George Harrison. Candy Kragthorpe, of Shakopee, still has her ticket stub and a list of the songs she wrote down at the concert as the Beatles played.
A stage was set up on the infield of the baseball diamond, and the Beatles walked onto the field from one of the dugouts to play to the jumping, screaming fans.
"When they came out we were just crazy nuts," said Kragthorpe, who was also 11 years old at the time. "Everybody just screamed from the beginning to the end -- you could barely hear the music."
The concert lasted about 30 minutes. Many people paid $5.50 for their tickets, although $10 could get you a better seat.
Marykay Kelley was one of the lucky fans who watched the show from box seats right behind home plate. Kelley, of Eagan, still has the concert program with full-size pictures of each Beatle. She and her friends used the pictures to try to get the Beatles' attention.
"Our whole section would hold Paul's picture up, and he would nod to us," Kelley said. "We went through all of them. We'd get a little nod or they'd tip their guitar."
After the show, Colleen Sheffler and her friend got separated as Sheffler tried to get another glimpse of the Beatles.
"I was sure that I saw George Harrison's sisters in one of the limousines, so I took off running," Sheffler said. All the buses left with Sheffler's friend on one of them, so Sheffler had to call her mother from a pay phone and ask for a ride.
Sheffler, who was 15 at the time, said that while seeing the Beatles back then was a big deal, she didn't realize then that she'd still be talking about it now.
"This was life changing," said Sheffler, who remains a fan. "They are the soundtrack of my life, especially my young years."
Sheffler still has a picture of her and her friends as teens, dressed as the Beatles and lip-syncing to their songs. Several years ago, she visited Liverpool, England, where the Beatles got their start.
Ersing has Beatles memorabilia decorating part of her home. When she first met her husband 14 years ago, the two didn't have anything in common -- until they realized they were both Beatles fans.
"We still to this day bring out the 45s and do karaoke," Ersing said.
Ersing said she's thankful her mother bought her ticket to the show, even if her father made her leave the binoculars at home in Duluth so they wouldn't get stolen in the "big city."
"Little did my mom know at the time spending that $5.50 a ticket, that it would be such an awesome memory for me for the rest of my life," Ersing said. "She could never have known that."
For more on the Beatles' only appearance in Minnesota...
Watch an audio slideshow of the interview All Things Considered did with Bill Carlson when he published his book, "The Beatles! One Night Stand in the Heartland." Carlson's photos will be featured at the Minnesota History Center starting Saturday.