The Beatles Shea Stadium concert on August 15, 1965 was record breaking and one of the most famous concert events of its era. It set records for attendance and revenue generation. Promoter Sid Bernstein said, “Over 55,000 people saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium. We took $304,000, the greatest gross ever in the history of show business. This demonstrated that outdoor concerts on a large scale could be successful and profitable.”
The Beatles were transported to the rooftop Port Authority Heliport at the World's Fair by a New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107-II helicopter, then took a Wells Fargo armored truck to the stadium. Two thousand security personnel were at the stadium to handle crowd control. The crowd was confined to the spectator areas of the stadium with nobody other than the band members, their entourage, and security personnel allowed on the field. As a result of this, the audience was a long distance away from the band while they played on a small stage in the middle of the field.
Beatlemania was at one of its highest marks at the Shea Concert. Film footage taken at the concert shows many teenagers and women crying, screaming, and even fainting. The crowd noise was such that security guards can be seen covering their ears as The Beatles enter the field. Despite the heavy security presence individual fans broke onto the field a number of times during the concert and had to be chased down and restrained. Concert film footage also shows John Lennon light-heartedly pointing out one such incident as he attempted to talk to the audience in between songs.
The deafening level of crowd noise coupled with the distance between the band and the audience meant that nobody in the stadium could hear much of anything. Vox had specially designed 100-watt amplifiers for this tour and it was still not anywhere near loud enough, and so the Beatles used the house amplification system. Lennon described the noise as "wild" and also twice as deafening when the Beatles performed. Not being able to hear each other or even themselves, The Beatles just played through a list of songs nervously, not knowing what kind of sound was being produced. At the end of the show (during “I'm Down”), Lennon saw the whole show as being so ridiculous that he just began playing the keyboard with his elbows while the whole group laughed hysterically. The Beatles section of the concert was extremely short by modern standards (just 30 minutes), but was the typical 1965 Beatles tour set list, with Ringo opting to sing “Act Naturally” instead of “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
Opening acts were King Curtis, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, Sounds Incorporated and The Discoteque Dancers.