Beatles’ Final Tour Remains In Westport’s Memory

Today marks the final concert of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ last US tour.

Also, the Remains’.

For local musicologists — and fans of the regionally famous band that included 2 Westporters, and lives on in the hearts and souls of anyone who heard them — that 2nd fact is as least as important as the 1st.

Fred Cantor — the band’s Boswell, who makes sure his fellow Staples High grads Barry Tashian and Bill Briggs (plus Vern Miller and Chip Damiani) “remain” alive, with an off-Broadway musical (“All Good Things”) and documentary film (“America’s Lost Band“) — sent along a reminder of the legendary summer of ’66 tour.

By then the Remains had already appeared on “Ed Sullivan” and “Hullabaloo.” They’d relocated from Boston to New York, and had a contract with Epic Records. But they had not yet broken into the big time, when they got the offer to tour with the Beatles (along with the Ronettes, the Cyrkle and Bobby Hebb).


Tashian — the front man, just 3 years out of Staples — remembers not being able to get out of their car, on the way to their 1st concert in Chicago. Screaming fans thought they were the Beatles. He found it funny — and scary.

They could not use their own amps there — and did not even have a chance to try out the ones they were given. To musicians, that’s like walking on a tightrope without a net.

Indoor arenas — like Detroit, where the band could see the crowd — were excellent. “They were digging us,” Tashian told Cantor. “We were saying, ‘This is great. This is elevated to another place.”

But in large stadiums like Cleveland, the audience was too far away to make the connections the Remains thrived on. After that show, they met with their road manager. They second-guessed everything they did wrong — and right.

Barry Tashian (left) and Vern Miller, on stage. Drummer ND Smart (who replaced Chip Damiani on the tour) is hidden. Keyboardist Bill Briggs is not in the shot.

Barry Tashian (left) and Vern Miller, on stage. Drummer ND Smart (who replaced Chip Damiani on the tour) is hidden. Keyboardist Bill Briggs is not in the shot. (Photo/Ed Freeman)

Their interactions with the Beatles were limited, but memorable. Tashian says they had tons of energy, and great senses of humor. They did not take things too seriously.

Tashian learned a lot. “The world was a different place when you were with John Lennon,” he says.

The Westport guitarist also listened to Ravi Shankar with George Harrison. Indian music was a revelation. So was a new invention Harrison had gotten hold of: tape cassettes.

Six days before the end of the tour, the Remains and Beatles played Shea Stadium. Tashian calls it “an emotional moment.” The lights were the brightest of any place they played. With a rare break the night before, he felt rested, “a little more balanced and grounded.”

The Remains, back in the day.

The Remains, back in the day.

In California, near the end of the tour, Harrison sent a car to pick up Tashian. Meeting the Beach Boys, Mama Cass Elliot, Roger McGuinn and others, he was “speechless.”

Briggs — the Remains’ keyboardist — recalls the final concert, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park:

“It just seemed like you were playing on a mountaintop and there was nobody there. They shut off the lights, all in the stadium proper and they just left a row of the lights on the top. It was like we were playing there by ourselves.

“I really enjoyed it. That was probably the most relaxed I was on the whole tour.”

What came next was tough. “It was like being dumped from a dump truck down over a ledge into a quarry or something, just left down there in the dust,” Tashian says.

He realizes now that his band had been breaking up — for various reasons — even before the tour began.

The Beatles kept recording, until they too broke apart. Today, of course, they’re still big — perhaps bigger than ever.

The Remains are just a footnote in rock ‘n’ roll history.

But to anyone who heard them play — particularly at small clubs, not the big arenas and stadiums of that 1966 tour — what a footnote they are.

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18 responses to “Beatles’ Final Tour Remains In Westport’s Memory

  1. “tape cassettes” hahaha… I love the second band photo here… the “dump truck down over a ledge into a quarry” metaphor is crystalline! It’s a great name for a band… I hope naming themselves that isn’t what somehow sped up their demise via unlucky forshadowing…

  2. Cicelia Beirne

    Mr. Woog,

    I read most your article, but something was bothering me. My 3 kids and husband went for ride in their bicycle and rode around crescent and behind Fresh Market. When they returned, I asked my husband what are all white spots my the back on my sons red tshirt and he responded maybe stuff that fresh market was cleaning the floor or something. Of course they saw rat traps and knowing the were chemicals in back of my sons tshirt did not make me happy. It can be Clorox but why is it outside in the back of store ?



  3. Seth Goltzer

    I was at the Shea Stadium Concert and it was an amazing event. Another piece of Trivia. The lead singer for the Cyrkle was married to a Westport girl for a few years. It’s all ancient history now.

  4. Unless you saw the Remains live one has no idea how great they were….. Barry had tremendous stage presence….

    • Agreed. The rap on them was always that their recordings did not capture their energy or magnetism. Their “Sundazed” release many years after they disbanded (a demo recorded at 9 am, after a night playing at Trude Heller’s) comes close.

  5. knew barry’s brother went to staples with dee i had a band around the same time as the “Remains” The Castaways we played the westport weston area quite a few times got the album “The Remains” barry was and still is an outstanding guitarist

  6. I attended the August 18th concert in East Boston, at the Suffolk Downs horse track. The Remains went onstage first, having the unenviable task of playing while people were still filing in, as I recall, before it got dark. Still, they were high-energy. I lived in eastern CT, at that time, and little did I know I’d later be in a band, playing, “Don’t Look Back.” I have a bit of silent 8mm home movie footage from that night, which includes a brief daylight view of all the bands’ gear, assembled onstage, from the supporting acts through to the Super Beatle amps, towering over the rest of the rigs. Back then, it was no biggie to wander as close to the staging as physically possible…so I’d stood at the track railing, before the show. I should try to make a screen shot of that.

    • Larry, there is a Beatles historian, Erik Taros,who is working on a documentary about that Suffolk Downs concert (and I imagine he’d love to see that footage). So I would like to put you in touch with him. Thanks.

      • Hi Fred….not to belabor this, but my footage is very brief, as hard as that is to fathom, today. Under 30 seconds, total, and lierally just a few moments of the Beatles onstage (if that!), taken in the relative dark, looking like little dots….our seats in the main section of the track’s grounds were not “that” far away, but that was the lens effect on the old Bell & Howell.

        Also, I live in FL now and the footage is in family storage, up in CT….or so I hope! It should consist of the original 8mm reel and an amateur transfer (by me) of such 3-minute 8mm reels onto a VHS cassette. So, I wouldn’t get too excited, here. Other than the brief Beatles shot, the other scenes were pre-show….except *maybe* another tiny snippet of the Cyrkle….such as the track’s marquee advertising the Beatles show and a view of a bunch of cops assembled for their briefing out in a parking lot.

        Among the rest of my stored “stuff” should be an unused ticket from that concert….which I’d purchased later in life, but can’t tell whether it’s authentic. Erik Taros probably has access to items like that. I am at

        • I’d also taken a Polaroid camera to the Boston show and, afterwards, snapped a pic of a girl crying her heart out, in the stands. One of those, “peel & develop” cameras, so that b&w image isn’t exactly High-Def. Sorry to go on, about all this…but, as a major 1st generation Beatles fan, I can die happy, knowing I’d seen them live. The more time passes, the harder that is to believe.

          • x Larry – Never apologise for talking / writing about having seen the Beatles Sir! And I love when those old Polaroids that got peeled came out *not as expected* hahaha. Those are the best ones! I wish you would post or link that photo… I’m sure it’s stellar. What could be better than a blurry abstract Polaroid of a Beatles superfan screaming wildly?

  7. I looked at the Wikipedia page on the band and found a two degrees of separation from my dad (freelance radio program consultant) re. their producer. (Or one degree – I get confused re. counting the principle people: degrees BETWEEN or everyone?). Or one of their producers mentioned there (as I don’t know how many they had during the whole time they were together). Only he came to our house to talk to my dad about Paul Simon and/or Simon&Garfunkel. It’s a tiny world. (I should add my dad told people he couldn’t help them re. airplay – but he mentored younger people in the industry in other ways).

  8. Adam Schwartz '75

    I went to the first and more famous Beatles concert at Shea Stadium a year earlier. I didnt even know they played a second show in 66 until a few years ago. I looked it up and it’s amazing what a year in the Beatles hype did. The 65 show was sold out with SRO and evidently the 66 show at Shea was maybe half full and a footnote to their last tour ever. Not sure if this was before or after Lennon’s infamous “more famous than Jesus” remark.

  9. Jim Honeycutt

    Denise and I were lucky enough to see the Remain’s musical and hear the original band perform live. Their recordings were really good too. It is a shame that they did not make it to a larger stage but they certainly did have their moment.

  10. Adam, you’re right that the ’66 tour happened after the Lennon remark. But the Shea gig still attracted a huge crowd–roughly 45,000 (about 10,000 less than the capacity crowd at the ’65 Shea concert).