Photos: Concerts held in CFB stadiums

ByDane Beavers ESPN logo
Monday, May 25, 2015

To celebrate The Rolling Stones' summer tour -- the band's stops include the stadiums of Ohio State, Minnesota, Georgia Tech and NC State -- and Taylor Swift's show at LSU's Tiger Stadium last week, we're taking a look back at and highlighting photos from a few concerts that have been held inside college football stadiums.

We're omitting some of the more recent shows -- sorry Jason Aldean, seen here at Georgia's Sanford Stadium in 2013 -- and leaving out shows at bowl games or Super Bowls that were held in stadiums also used for college teams.

Aerosmith, Van Halen, more at USC, UCLA

On April 7 and 8, 1979, when USC and UCLA both still played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the Bruins moved their home games to the Rose Bowl in 1982), the stadium hosted the California World Music Festival, which featured Aerosmith, Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Toto, Eddie Money and many other bands. The Coliseum has hosted several other shows throughout the years, including The Rolling Stones (check below for more), Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, U2 and The Who.

Farm Aid at Illinois

The first Farm Aid concert, which was organized by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Cougar Mellencamp and featured performances from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and more, took place at Illinois' Memorial Stadium on Sept. 22, 1985. (Check out Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings performing "Folsom Prison Blues" here.) The show raised more than $9 million for American farmers. A few other Farm Aid concerts have been held inside college football stadiums, too, including Nebraska in 1987, Iowa State in 1993, Louisville in 1995 and South Carolina in 1996.

Alabama at Alabama

The band Alabama performed in Bryant-Denny Stadium after Alabama's annual A-Day spring game on April 11, 1992. The concert was held to celebrate 100 years of Crimson Tide football and featured a ceremony honoring Bama's team of the century. Check out this picture of then-Alabama coach Gene Stallings talking to lead guitarist Jeff Cook (photo courtesy of Kent Gidley/UA Athletics).

The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac at Colorado

The Beach Boys (first photo, May 13, 1978) and Fleetwood Mac (May 1, 1977) are among the bands to play Colorado's Folsom Field. The Fleetwood Mac show, which also featured Bob Seger, John Sebastian and Boulder's own Firefall, still holds the stadium record for largest crowd (61,500), according to Colorado football sports information director David Plati. Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones (check out this photo of the band's stage, courtesy of Michael Goldman) and the Grateful Dead have also played Folsom Field.

Metallica at Rice

The Monsters of Rock tour made its way to Rice Stadium in Houston on July 2, 1988, featuring Metallica (pictured above), Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdom Come. The tour also included a show at Akron's former stadium, the Rubber Bowl.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers at San Diego State

Yes, San Diego State shares its stadium with an NFL team -- and, at the time, an MLB team -- but we're going to count this concert any way because the photo's so good. George Thorogood and the Destroyers (pictured above), with headliner The Rolling Stones, played in Jack Murphy Stadium (now called Qualcomm Stadium) on Oct. 7, 1981. U2, Eagles and Metallica, among many others, have also played the Aztecs' home stadium.

The Who at Arizona State

The Who played at Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 31, 1982 in what was billed as the band's final tour (they would reunite -- the first time -- in 1985). The Who also made stops at Colorado's Folsom Field, San Diego State's Jack Murphy Stadium, USC's Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Syracuse's Carrier Dome on that tour. Sun Devil Stadium was also the site of Super Bowl XXX on Jan. 28, 1996, which featured a halftime performance from Diana Ross.

Winter Olympics opening, closing ceremonies at Utah

Utah's Rice Stadium, which was demolished after the 1997 football season, once hosted shows from The Rolling Stones/Seal and U2/Rage Against The Machine, but the Utes' new stadium had concerts on a much larger scale in February 2002. Rice-Eccles Stadium was the main site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. The closing ceremony featured performances from KISS (pictured above), Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera and others.

Grateful Dead at San Jose State

It should be no surprise that the Grateful Dead, one of the most prolific touring bands ever, has visited a few college football stadiums. The photo above is from the band's visit to San Jose State's Spartan Stadium on April 22, 1979, but the Grateful Dead has also played Oregon's Autzen Stadium, NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium and UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium, among others.

U2 at UNLV

The Grateful Dead is far from the only band to play UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium, which opened in 1971 as Las Vegas Stadium. Pictured above is U2 from April 25, 1997, but The Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys and Santana are among the acts that have played at the home of the Rebels.

The Rolling Stones at USC/UCLA, Ohio State

We'll end with two photos of The Rolling Stones, who have already been to several college football stadiums throughout the years. The first photo is from the band's stop at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1981. The Rolling Stones, along with The J. Geils Band, George Thorogood and Prince, actually played shows on Friday and Sunday (Oct. 9 and 11) in the stadium -- here's a photo of Mick Jagger with the crowd in the background -- and USC played Arizona on the Saturday in between. Despite eventual Heisman winner Marcus Allen rushing for 211 yards, the top-ranked Trojans were upset by the Wildcats, 13-10. After the game, then-coach John Robinson told reporters it was "one of the worst offensive performances I have ever seen as a coach."

The second photo is from the band's stop at Ohio State's Ohio Stadium on Sept. 27, 1997. Jagger & Co. went to a few other college football stadiums on that tour, including Oklahoma's Memorial Stadium, Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium and Hawaii's Aloha Stadium.