Now a humble parking lot, the Washington Coliseum has seen a lot in its days. Malcolm X once spoke there, circus lions jumped through hoops there — and on 11 February, 1964, The Beatles played their first-ever U.S. concert there.
Photographer Mike Mitchell was photographing that day.
He was 18 years old, he recalls in an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, and couldn’t afford a flash for his camera.
He took concert photos using only the available light.
“I had to take my cues from what the light was doing,” Mitchell said. “And the light was very kind.”In the 50 years since that day, a lot has changed.
The building fell into disrepair after being sold, and for 10 years was a transfer station for Waste Management”.
The Coliseum for a very long time was a vacant shambles compared to its former glory. (NPR).
Still, on any given day, beautiful shafts of light can been seen spilling through the circular windows in the vaulted ceilings onto the abandoned clusters of stadium seating lurking in dark corners along the walls.