PETER ASHER: “The Worlds Fair was one of the very first gigs Gordon and I ever played in the U.S. It must have been summer of 1964 and “World Without Love” had just gone to number one.
We were playing a stage near the Unisphere. As I recall the sphere was somewhere behind us. I have not been back since but I remember there was (oddly)a kind of semi-circular moat filled with water maybe 15 or 20 feet across, between the curved lip of the stage and the audience.
Imagine our ineffable joy when, during the show, the first screaming girl jumped into the moat and swam across it in order to throw her dripping self upon us.
Soon about 200 kids were thrashing about in the water with their clothes on trying to reach us. About 50 dripping dollies swam or waded across the pool and climbed on stage. Others followed, security starting going crazy and a great time was had by all.
And I don’t think wet t-shirt contests had even been officially invented yet!
Peter & Gordon – “World Without Love”
Music Journalist Ken Bielen was there:
E.L. Doctorow had his World’s Fair and I had mine. Time and time again for two summers in 1964 and 1965, my friends and I took the bus from New Jersey to the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan, and connected with the IRT Flushing subway line to the New York World’s Fair.
Late in the summer of 1964, my friend Dave and I slipped past the ticket takers to see Peter and Gordon at the New York World’s Fair. The British duo were headlining at the Billy Rose Amphitheater, a facility left over from the fair held 25 years earlier at the same site. The Amphitheater was located on the edge of Meadow Lake, across the fairgrounds from the main gate. Water from the lake filled a space between the stage and the seats to separate artists from audience. Peter and Gordon had enjoyed a nationwide number one hit earlier in the summer with “A World Without Love.” The follow-up single, “Nobody I Know,” was climbing the charts.
The WMCA Good Guys hosted the show. The opening act was the Eggheads, some promotion man’s answer to the Beatles. They played a few rock numbers and then pulled off their Beatle-style wigs to reveal shaved heads. Someone figured that it was the Beatles’ coiffures that were causing all the fuss, and the next big thing would be no hair.
Then, Peter and Gordon took the stage for a folk music-oriented set. The twosome sang “500 Miles” and, of course, their recent number one hit. This is as close as I would get to Beatlemania in concert.
1964 World’s Fair
Read the exclusive Peter Asher interview here