An artifact has been discovered from the last Beatles concert in San Francisco

No one expected the Beatles to perform on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco will have them The last official partyExcept for the bandmates themselves. And now, relics from that night have been rediscovered – stolen from the Inner Richmond Catering Company where the Fab Four ate before their legendary farewell more than 50 years ago.

On the last leg of the band’s summer tour, join singer-songwriter Joan Baez Paul, John, George, and Ringo as they walk through the locker room doors in Candlestick Park. There, they dined on a pre-show of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, stuffed baked potatoes, salad, relish and French pastries served from Simpson’s Catering Service at 926 Clement Street. Between bites, they worked primitive sketches in crayons on a white linen tablecloth.

The Chronicle reported at the time: “Sprayed between broth and pudding scraps are the almost psychedelic persuasive doodles that the Beatles painted in a moment of reflection before their ballpark concert,” the Chronicle reported at the time.

Co-owner Joe Velardi told the newspaper that Lennon painted an “interesting kind of Japanese sunset” while McCartney drew “the faces in the abstract.” Before the band left for the concert, Simpson’s staff asked them to sign their artwork, and they proudly displayed it in a 12-foot-wide viewing window at their headquarters the next day.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

“Some of these excited little girls wanted to touch it or take pictures,” Velardi told The Chronicle of the precious tablecloth, adding that he had also received offers of up to $300 for artwork. The police advised him to remove it, but he did not heed their warnings.

Within a week, the tablecloth had been stolen in broad daylight, leaving only a smashed window behind. Velardi was devastated, and it was believed that the treasure was lost forever.

In some ways, the Beatles’ 30-minute performance that evening was somewhat underwhelming. Only 25,000 tickets worth between $4.50 and $6.50 were sold, leaving 7,000 seats empty. Since 15% of those ticket sales were required to go to San Francisco, local promoter Tempo Productions suffered a financial loss. It was an amazing difference from the year before, when the band played a sold-out show for 55,000 people at Shea Stadium.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

However, the band’s press officer, Tony Barrow, thought of the evening fondly. McCartney asked him to record what he knew would be a historic moment for the band. Their group began with the song “Rock and Roll Music” from their 1964 record track “Beatles for Sale”, followed by the popular songs “I Feel Fine”, “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Day Tripper”. Once they started playing their closing song, “Long Tall Sally,” Barrow’s tape ran out.

“Perhaps the Beatles’ most unique recording of its kind,” Barrow later wrote in his 2005 autobiography, “John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me.”

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

Fast forward to 2022 – the tablecloth was retrieved, a completely forgotten memento from that evening. Reportedly, the sister of the man who has been in possession of it has called Velardi’s grandson for the past 50 years, who said he did not know it was stolen and that it was handed over to him in lieu of debt in the early 1970s. After learning the story of the remains, he wanted to return them to the family.

Now, her fate is uncertain. The tablecloth will go on sale through private auction firm Bonhams on October 7, which values ​​the item between $15,000 and $25,000 — a far cry from the $300 that Velardi has offered all those years.

In a joint press release with SFGATE, a Bonhams spokesperson said they have contacted Joan Baez’s agent about the tablecloth. The singer checked the story, “I remember it fondly.” Her only correction was that McCartney didn’t paint abstract faces – she did.

The auction will run until October 19, 2022.

Freelance writer Anna Loren contributed to this report.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St.  In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Tablecloth from Simpson Catering, a former restaurant located at 926 Clement St. In San Francisco, with autographs and drawings made by The Beatles in 1966.

Courtesy of Bonhams

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