Rock on: epic concerts in San Diego history

Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Tina Turner each headlined America’s Finest City at some point in SD’s musical history.

SD Rolling Stones at Jack Murphy 1981

The Rolling Stones played this high-profile gig on Oct. 7, 1981, at The Murph.

Photo via San Diego City Clerk Archives

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We know San Diego rocks — and music’s biggest acts have proven this. Let’s tune into some of the most epic concerts to hit San Diego’s live music scene over the decades.

🎶 Hint: We’re “All Shook Up,” ready to “Come Together” to feel the “Good Vibrations” of these musical memories.

Elvis Presley, 1956

Before becoming The King, Elvis rocked San Diego Arena — and fans went wild. The icon would return in 1970 to perform to a sellout crowd at the International Sports Arena.

Did you know? Elvis sang “Heartbreak Hotel” at a live studio taping of “The Milton Berle Show” in 1956 aboard the USS Hancock, docked in San Diego.

The Beatles, 1965

During their US and Canada tour, the Fab Four added this last-minute performance for 17,013 fans at Balboa Stadium — their only show in San Diego. Tickets cost $3.50-$5.50 and 10,001 tickets went unsold. The 31-minute setlist included “Twist and Shout” and “Ticket to Ride.”

SD Beach Boys 1975

Beach Boys fans had “Fun, Fun, Fun” at this Balboa Stadium show on Aug. 10, 1975.

Photo via San Diego City Clerk Archives

The Beach Boys, 1975

Nine years after the infamous “Pet Sounds” album cover incident at the San Diego Zoo, the surf rockers headlined Balboa Stadium. The show featured Jesse Colin Young and Pure Prairie League, too.

SD Fleetwood Mac 1975

This all-day, multi-artist lineup — including Fleetwood Mac — rocked Balboa Stadium on Aug. 31, 1975.

Photo via San Diego City Clerk Archives

Fleetwood Mac, Loggins + Messina, Rod Stewart + Faces, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1975

General lawn admission to this jam-packed lineup at Balboa Stadium cost $7.50. Fleetwood Mac’s setlist included bangers like “Rhiannon” and “Station Man.”

The Rolling Stones, 1981

To the “Satisfaction” of nearly 70,000 fans at Jack Murphy Stadium, this was the biggest concert San Diego had ever seen. Tickets averaged $16, and this was the year’s highest-grossing tour. The Stones also played in SD in 1965, 1972, 1998, 2002, and 2005.

Tina Turner, 2000

She was simply “The Best.” The beloved late icon performed many times in San Diego, but her final local show was at Sports Arena in 2000 where her powerhouse vocals owned the stage.

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