On January 30, 1969, The Beatles played their final public concert on a rooftop in London in front of a small crowd of friends, relatives, members of their production team and — ultimately — a squad of police officers who threatened to shut it all down. The surprise set set the city abuzz.
When John, Paul, George and Ringo donned their winter coats that chilly day, there were no cell phones, no Instagram stories and no breaking news alerts to spread the word. The news traveled by mouth and London was stopped in its tracks as thousands of fans poured into the streets to catch a glimpse of the Fab Four before the cops showed up.
The band’s last appearance was a historic occasion, to be sure. But you could also make the case that the impromptu gig was Rock N Roll’s first pop-up concert that went viral.
50 years later, artists are still trying to retain the element of surprise. Recent years have seen U2, Shakira, Arcade Fire and others shock their fans with unannounced sets (heck, Beyonce’ and Jay-Z even released a surprise album).
Fast-forward to 2019 and Miami Beach’s main street, Lincoln Road, set out to mark the rooftop concert’s half-century anniversary with an impromptu concert of its own. The collaboration between the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District and New World Symphony drew hundreds of pedestrians to the 1100 block of Lincoln Road for an hour-long set of Beatles’ favorites.
Two string quintets stationed atop the iconic 1111 Lincoln Road garage delighted passersby with classical renditions of everything from All You Need is Love and Hey Jude, to Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Across the Universe.
In promoting the concert, our firm did our best to recreate the impromptu magic of 1969 — subtly teasing the concert on social media to generate intrigue and doing our best to keep the news under wraps ahead of the concert before the Miami Herald caught on.
Beatles fans in Miami have another reason to get nostalgic this month, as February marks 55 years since the group’s historic visit to Miami in 1964. That tour stop saw the band ham it up for cameras while posing with Cassius Clay and splashing (fully-clothed) in the ocean before taping their Ed Sullivan Show appearance at the Deauville Hotel.
Check out the below photo gallery in case you missed the real thing:
Photo credit: StudioTwo