JFK, The Stones...U2

July 1, 2011


As one of the world’s top rock bands prepare for a sold-out show at Vanderbilt Stadium, the city of Nashville is buzzing for U2’s first trip to the Music City in 30 years as part of its 360 Tour, now the highest-grossing concert tour in history.

The setting for the concert has transformed the Commodores’ football home into an unrecognizable spectacle to fans that fill the venue for games in the fall.

As the show nears, here’s a look at some other-non football related events that’s gone on at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Dave Matthews Band – April 25, 2009

One of the nation’s top touring acts for the last 15 years made a visit to Vanderbilt Stadium and attracted a sellout crowd in the spring of 2009.

The Rolling Stones – October 26, 1997
The Stones hit Nashville with the Bridges to Babylon Tour and played their biggest hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It), “Tumbling Dice”, and “Honky Tonk Women”. The Stones surely did not disappoint.

Pink Floyd – May 8, 1994
According to Tennesseeconcerts.com, “41,000 fans packed into Vanderbilt Stadium to see Pink Floyd. They experienced a once in a lifetime event in Nashville with the latest in lasers, lights, sound, & pyrotechnics.”

Billy Graham – September 19, 1954 & June 24-27, 1979
The event, which drew over 65,000 people to the old Vanderbilt Stadium, is known as the event that brought lights to the venue. Also, according to Kara Furlong of the Vanderbilt News Service, “it was one of Graham’s first officially desegregated crusades in the South following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in May of that year.”

Graham returned in 1979 for a four-night stand at Vanderbilt Stadium, where he drew 40,000 people per night to the stadium. Here’s a link to a three-minute video of Graham at the stadium – notice that the field is open, compared to his earlier visit in 1954 (see below), when the entire place was crammed with people.

(Photo by Gerald Holly. Image courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections & University Archives)

John F. Kennedy – May 18, 1963
(Photo Courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives)
President John F. Kennedy spoke at the 90th Convocation of Vanderbilt University on May 18, 1963 and attracted over 33,000 people to the stadium.

From the Nashville Scene:
“The Banner, the conservative afternoon newspaper, wasn't inclined to exaggerate on Kennedy's behalf, so when it published an estimate of 150,000 spectators along the streets, plus the 5,000 or so at the airport and 33,000 in Vanderbilt Stadium, the staggering number were all that more believable. Nashville's population in 1963 was 400,000, meaning that almost half of the city got a glimpse of the president that day.”



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