The Beach Boys, 1964

Posted by on Feb 25, 2008 | Comments (6)

The year was 1964, back when Santa Rosa was a completely different town than the city we know it as today. The population: 35,000. Hardly a considerable tour stop for a group with a huge hit on the charts.

The Beach Boys’ All Summer Long had just been released in July, and its big hit, “I Get Around,” was lighting up Top 40 radio. So it was a pretty big deal when KPLS 1150 AM radio announced that the Beach Boys were coming to perform at the Veterans’ Memorial Building in Santa Rosa. Tickets, priced at $2.50, went on sale at the station’s office in Coddingtown, and word spread throughout Santa Rosa’s drive-ins and high schools like wildfire.

On the night of the show, the capacity crowd filed into the auditorium and sat politely in rows of folding chairs. The curtain opened, and the Beach Boys, clad in their trademark vertical-striped shirts, launched immediately into their current smash hit: “I Get Around.” The set list included “409,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “Surfer Girl,” “Be True To Your School,” and “Surfin’ Safari,” among others, and the audience stayed in their seats the whole time—a matter of personal dignity that Beatlemania would soon render obsolete.

Of course, there’s no reason why I should know this, except that my dad, who bought tickets numbered #0006 and #0007, remembers it like it was yesterday. After all, at age 12, it was his first concert. I suppose it was a pretty big deal for my grandpa, too, who was cool enough to change out of his mailman uniform after work and go with his kid to the rock ‘ roll show.

Fast-forward to 2008: The Wells Fargo Center Luther Burbank Center has booked the Beach Boys for August 2, and it’s being advertised as the Beach Boys’ “First Time in Santa Rosa.”

It’s a nice thought and all—and tickets, against all sensible odds, appear to be selling well—but I know a few people who grew up around here who’d have a pretty good case with which to argue the claim.

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  1. Paddy Coreris
    July 22, 2008

    I was at the August 2, 1964 Beach Boys concert, too. It was my 16th birthday. I’ll be spending my 60th birthday with them at the WFC. What a HOOT! Who’d have thought they’d still be “getting around?” Or me!

  2. Craig Blackstone
    August 19, 2008

    This was the first concert I ever attended; I was only eleven at the time. I particularly recall one other number they performed – their cover of the Monster Mash, with eerie lighting effects. After the concert, my older brother and I waited at the rear of the building with a few other kids, and were able to get autographs from three of the Beach Boys as they were leaving. It was a very special day.

  3. Billy Hawes
    January 10, 2009

    Brian Wilson’s performance at the Harmony Festival a couple years back was probably much closer to an authentic Beach Boys’ gig than whatever traveling schlep-fest Mike Love has cobbled together these days.

  4. Thom Villing
    August 14, 2009

    Tomorrow night in South Bend, IN, I will be attending a Beach Boys concert. I, too, am 60 and the first concert I ever attended was the Beach Boys in Cincinnati in 1964. Does anyone know the tour schedule for 1964. It would be interesting to know how close to that date 45 years ago we will be.

  5. Nathan
    August 18, 2009

    I was 14 that summer, I also saw Buffalo Springfield and The Animals at the Vet’s bldg.

  6. Darin Avis
    July 6, 2010

    Thanks for publishing this. This clarified a large amount of inquiries which I had.


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