Paul McCartney plays final concert at Candlestick Park


Paul McCartney took the stage at San Francisco’s historic Candlestick Park Thursday, Aug. 14.

As several generations of fans would agree, McCartney’s performance attested to his constant musical energy and vigor, even at the ripe age of 72.

That being said, this was no ordinary performance. After 54 years, this was the final show to ever be performed at Candlestick Park.

On Aug. 29, 1966, The Beatles performed to an enormous crowd at Candlestick Park. This concert not only left an impression on music history, it also marked the last live show the Beatles would ever perform together.

One can practically picture the scene: the wide-reaching stage, hysterical fans and a raspy out-of-date sound system.

In a promotional video for his Out There tour, McCartney stated he had some, “very special memories,” playing in Candlestick Park, holding dearly the memory of the last time The Beatles would take the stage live. As monumental as the venue was, all good things must come to an end.

Paul McCartney performs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, July 31, 2011. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Paul McCartney performs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, July 31, 2011. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

“It’s sad to see the old place closing down,” McCartney told fans in between songs. “But we’re going to close it down in style.”

Dr. John McHale, a professor in the School of Communication, wholeheartedly supports the decision to have McCartney play the final show.

“It is very fitting that Paul McCartney should be the last performer to play Candlestick Park,” he said.

“The Beatles final live performance at Candlestick was a momentous turning point for the history of modern music. The Beatles were pushing musical boundaries in the studio that could not be adequately replicated on the stage.”

During the recent concert, several photographs from the historic 1966 performance were shown on screen behind McCartney and his band.

Even prior to the concert’s beginning, collages of nostalgic photos were shown onscreen throughout the stadium. Most photos displayed the fab four themselves, while also including photos with other musical icons like Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger.

The set list for Candlestick’s final show contained several famous tracks, including Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally,” the last song the Beatles performed at the 1966 concert.

“The Beatles’ last live performance at Candlestick Park marked a turning point in their evolution as a cultural force,” said Dr. McHale.

“They were now free to explore the new territory in sound in ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album and songs like ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ or ‘Penny Lane.’”

Up until AT&T Park was built in 2000, Candlestick Park, also refered to as The Stick, was the main venue for San Francisco’s concerts and sports teams.

As difficult as it may be to let this historic venue go, it seems only appropriate to have had McCartney blow out the final candle.

“I am personally a huge Beatles fan and in general, the Beatles are one of the greatest bands in the world,” said junior English major, Paige Domantey. “I wouldn’t want any other artist closing out Candlestick Park than Paul McCartney.”

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