The Beatles Live 1966

First published 1986

This issue we reach 1966, the year of course when the Beatles quit touring.

The few tours they did do during this year only took in Germany, Japan, the Philippines and North America, so subsequently live recordings from those tours are extremely scarce.

One concert from the Beatles summer tour of Japan produced what is still one of the best quality recordings in bootleg form. I am, of course, referring to the Budokan concerts of June 30th , July 1st and 2nd, one of which is captured on the album ‘Five Nights in a Judo Arena’.

Track Listing:

  • Rock And Roll Music
  • She’s A Woman
  • If I Needed Someone
  • Day Tripper
  • Baby’s In Black
  • I Feel Fine
  • Yesterday
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Nowhere Man
  • Paperback Writer
  • I’m Down

Excellent though the recording was, the Beatles by this time had given up trying to make a go of it. The fact is, that the Beatles had begun to write songs which could not easily be performed on stage, if at all. Combine that with the general sloppiness of their stage act after playing for three years before crowds who couldn’t hear them, and you have an explanation for this very good yet very bad recording.

From the North American tour later in July comes a new recording supposedly from Candlestick Park, the last ever concert. This album was recently reviewed in ‘Beatles Now’, who in effect dismissed it as being decidedly dodgy, a view which is shared by this writer who has decided a review would be pointless and a waste of ink and paper!

By Craig Smith.


  1. I disagree with the statement that The Beatles were recording songs that were difficultly to play live in concert.
    They performed Paperback Writer live.
    Certainly that could have tried the electric version of Got tTo Get You Into My Life (as heard the new box set.
    And possible Taxman. Both those songs could have been played live


  2. I think it fair to say, that not only were some of their contemporary songs difficult to replicate live in 1966, but also that the Beatles appetite to play them was disappearing too. Their live sets included a large number of familiar and safe “set” songs. The recordings of this time illustrate that their more contemporary songs were not performed too well such as Paperback Writer and Nowhere Man. The intricate backing vocals and instrumentation are pretty poor in places by the evidence of these recordings and though they could have been more ambitious in attempting more of the Revolver era songs their hearts were just not in it.


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