The night The Beatles were guarded by Christ and Moses

The Beatles posing for a photo at a press conference
(Image credit: Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

According to the Bible, Moses and Christ never actually met; they were separated by upwards of 1400 years. Centuries later, however, history would bring Christ and Moses together in one of the most chaotic nights in rock and roll history.

The summer of 1966 found The Beatles back in the US for what would be their final tour. Unlike prior US campaigns, the 1966 tour had failed to sell out. The press smelled blood in the water and some writers publicly questioned the band’s longevity.  It was serious enough for Beatles manager Brian Epstein to issue a statement: “People have been saying things about diminishing popularity, but all one can go by is attendances, which are absolutely huge. By the time we leave, 400,000 people will have seen this series of shows, and Sid Bernstein has already delivered his formal invitation to The Beatles to return to Shea Stadium for him in the summer of 1967.”

On August 28, 1966, the Beatles were scheduled to play Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The band had rented a home on Curson Terrace in the Hollywood Hills. A local DJ broadcast the exact address over the air, and so the LA police were called in to block off the home’s winding, uphill driveway. The Beatles hadn’t even left for the stadium and tensions were already rising.

Enter Christ and Moses. Specifically, Jim Christ and Jack Moses, two local kids who had scored summer jobs at Disneyland. When word came down that a local security firm was looking for help with a Rolling Stones concert that July, Christ and Moses had eagerly signed on. One month later, the same security company called them back. This time they’d be minding the Beatles at Dodger Stadium.

The show had nearly sold out and 45000 raging Beatles fans would be in attendance. Ticket prices ranged from $3 to an eye-watering $6 for the good seats. In one of the evening’s many disastrous miscalculations, the promoter hired a security force of just 102 people, including Christ and Moses. At the time, Jack’s sister Ann was the features editor at Tiger Beat magazine, and she documented much of what Jim and her brother experienced that hot, tumultuous evening.

Along with their supervisors, Moses and Christ drove out to the Beatles’ pad, where they found the Fab Four dining with David Crosby, press officer Tony Barrow and their road managers. The band were in good spirits and chatted amiably with the security detail. According to Jack, “They all seemed disappointed that they didn't get out more. They were extremely disgusted with the radio station that broadcast the address where they were staying! Their 'neighbours' were watching the house with telescopes!”

When it was time to leave for the gig, The Beatles remained behind while Moses and others piled into an armoured decoy car, followed by a limousine packed with security guards and some others from the house. Predictably, they were followed by a mad legion of fans, who chased the mini-motorcade through the city, nearly causing several accidents along the way. Finally, the team arrived at a designated rendez-vous point, where it was revealed to the pursuers that the Beatles were not in either vehicle. Incensed, but defeated, the posse left. Shortly thereafter, a ragged old Chevy van pulled up and out popped the Beatles, who jumped into the armoured car and off to the gig they went.

The Beatles playing live in the BBC studios in 1966

(Image credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

The show itself proceeded relatively smoothly, other than a pack of girls breaking through one of the gates upon the band’s arrival, much to George’s amusement. Inside the dressing room, Paul, John and George picked up their instruments, plugged into little practice amps and retreated to separate corners of the room to run through the night’s setlist. Christ recalled, "It sounded fantastic! They were just working out, it was groovy!"

The band were decked out in green sharkskin suits with bell-bottoms and as they waited in the tunnel to be called onstage, the compère introduced a seemingly endless parade of local DJs, which irritated John to the point that he started for the stage, only to be pulled back by Paul and George.

Finally they took the stage and worked through their eleven-track set, beginning with Chuck Berry’s Rock And Roll Music and ending with Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally a half hour later. Their set also included Day Tripper, I Feel Fine, Yesterday, Nowhere Man and Paperback Writer. During the show, the band would wave to various sections of the audience, who would respond with frenzied howls. Except, to John’s dismay, one particular section of fans who sat impassively as he relentlessly waved up to them. It was down to Jim, at side stage, to explain to John that it was a section of blind children.

Post-gig transportation was generally planned out in complex, well-oiled campaigns of subterfuge — decoy vehicles were crucial to the strategy. At Dodger Stadium however, the plan was for the band to pile into a limo straight away and leave through a gate in centre field, but as they began their exit, a throng of girls burst through the gate and descended upon the vehicle. According to Jack, “We were told to run alongside the cars, which we did. When they opened the gates, the cars couldn't get out because a bus and two cars were blocking the way. Then about 1,000 kids swarmed in and all around the car!"

As fans began climbing on top of the band’s limousine, the driver was forced to turn back, retreating to the dugout, where the band fled back into a locker room. Outside, police relied on brute force to control the surging crowds, clubbing away at fans attempting to charge through the wooden barricades, as bottles rained down upon them. The crowd remained in the stadium and as the clash with police wore on, the band’s prospects of escape progressively diminished.

According to Moses, the Beatles cracked open some Pepsis and shared cigarettes with the lads. “I walked over to John,” recalled Moses, “and said, 'I thought we'd be able to get you out of here.’ And he said 'Why is that?' I asked, 'Did you notice my name?' His eyes almost popped! I said 'If you think that's good, you ought to see Jim's!' "John got up and looked at Jim's name tag and he shouted 'It's Christ and Moses! I've been waiting to meet you both for a long time!' Then he turned to Jim and said 'I didn't mean it, I really didn't! I didn't mean a word of it!' Only a week prior, John had issued his infamous proclamation about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus, which had caused a terrific outrage in the US.

Paul looked over at Jack and cracked, “You should be able to get us out of Dodger Stadium since your great, great, great grandfather could part the Red Sea." John looked at Jim. "And how about you! Shouldn't you be getting some dishes so you can start breaking the bread and bringing on the wine?"

Meanwhile, the getaway car that they planned to use was severely damaged and worse, two girls had run off with the key as a souvenir. The band’s spirits lowered as each attempt at using a decoy limousine failed worse than the previous one. Finally, after two hours of their de facto hostage crisis, a plan was hatched. Guards leaked a rumour that a girl had fainted. The Beatles then lay down on the floor of an ambulance, but not before thanking Christ and Moses for looking after them so smartly. Impulsively, Jack gave John his “Moses” nametag, which utterly delighted him. “Look at this!” John said to Ringo. “You can bet I’ll wear this. Thanks!”

Though the band made it out of the side entrance, the ambulance crashed into a pile of broken fencing. Some sheriffs arrived, along with an armoured car, and the band were safely escorted back to their rental. The next night, the Beatles played their final live concert at San Franscisco’s Candlestick Park (discountring their surprise appearance in 1969 on the roof of the Apple building). In the wake of the San Francisco show, a backstage photo emerged that inspired wild speculation among fans as to the cryptic message that it contained. It’s a photo of John, smoking a cigarette and wearing a tag on his jacket that read, “Moses.”

Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.