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Five things you didn’t know about The Beatles’ only Vegas tour stop

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The Beatles are ushered to their room at the Sahara hotel before performing at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Aug. 20, 1964. John Lennon dons sunglasses and stands in front, with Ringo Starr on the left and George Harrison, looking down behind Ringo.
Sun File Photo
Dennis Mitchell

1. They weren’t supposed to arrive at 1:30 in the morning.

The decision to leave San Francisco after their concert at the Cow Palace instead of spending the night there was last-minute and based on security concerns. In fact, a planned ticker-tape parade through San Francisco was canceled almost immediately upon the group’s arrival there because of unspecified threats.

2. They probably weren’t actually “sequestered” at the Sahara.

The Beatles were wealthy before they got to Las Vegas. They had already become the masters of the celebrity escape, and if they wanted to get out and about in Las Vegas, it was probably not any more complicated than finding the right people to pay off. There are at least two accounts from credible sources (including a former BBC radio host) who claim to have seen them well away from the Sahara in the early morning hours of August 20.

3. It didn’t exactly pave the way for the British Invasion in Vegas.

Although the Dave Clark Five showed up at the Convention Center Rotunda exactly three months after The Beatles, there were virtually no other memorable stops by British Invasion groups for the rest of the 1960s. The Kinks wouldn’t come until 1983, and The Rolling Stones didn’t play Vegas until 1994. Not too hard to grasp when you consider the Rat Pack were just hitting their stride around the same time The Beatles’ plane left McCarran.

4. They performed a song in Las Vegas they didn’t perform anywhere else on the 1964 North American tour.

In what was probably a special request, they did “Till There Was You,” not a part of their setlist for that tour.

5. Ticket stubs from the Las Vegas Beatles concerts are among the rarest of all Beatles collectors’ items.

An unused ticket to either of the Las Vegas concerts can fetch upwards of $10,000. Both shows were sold out and there weren’t many no-shows. Even a used half-stub is considered more valuable than the stubs of any other of the concerts on the 1964 tour.

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