The Coolest College Concerts Of All Time

Jimi Hendrix – Monterey Peninsula Community College (The weekend of June 16 – 18, 1967)

The Monterey International Pop Music Festival took place in Monterey, California in June of 1967, drawing in crowds of over 80,000 people. However, with crowds that large, a lot of people missed out on the chance to catch The Jimi Hendrix Experience perform. So Hendrix, alongside Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, crossed the U.S. Highway 1 interchange for an impromptu performance at a local community college’s stadium for a very lucky crowd. Unfortunately, there’s no available footage from the concert.


Grateful Dead – Columbia University (May 3, 1968)

In May of 1968, Columbia University students protested their university’s support of the Vietnam War, as well as their concern over a potentially segregated gymnasium being built on campus. The protest ended with violent police interactions which injured approximately 148 individuals. So a few days after all of that happened, the Grateful Dead appeared on Columbia University’s campus to perform a free show for students. That’s pretty incredible.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Southern Methodist University (Aug. 3, 1968)

To make up for the lack of media from Jimi Hendrix’s MPCC performance, we’ve got another Jimi Hendrix show for you. The Jimi Hendrix Experience stopped in University Park, Texas to perform on the campus of Southern Methodist University on August 3 during their 1968 Fall U.S. Tour. Here is some audio from the show, the incomparable classic “Purple Haze.”


Bruce Springsteen – Michigan State University (April 4, 1976)

The Born to Run Tour had Bruce Springsteen performing in 119 cities across the world. One of these cities was East Lansing, Michigan, home of Michigan State University. On April 4, 1976, Springsteen graced audience members with a performance of 23 tracks, including every song off of Born to Run.


KISS – University of South Florida (Aug. 4, 1990)

The Hot in the Shade Tour brought KISS to the sunny city of Tampa, Florida to perform at the University of South Florida. The USF Sun Dome had plenty of KISS fans in attendance on Aug. 4, 1990.


Nirvana – University of Akron (Oct. 31, 1993)

Nirvana celebrated Halloween at the University of Akron in 1993. The legendary rock band dressed up in Halloween costumes for their performance at James A. Rhodes Arena. The lineup featured Kurt Cobain as Barney, guitarist Pat Smear as Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Dave Grohl as a mummy and Krist Novoselic as “the opposite of Ted Danson.”


Pink Floyd – Syracuse University (June 6, 1994)

Pink Floyd hit the road to promote their album, Division Bell, in 1994. They visited the campus of Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York on June 6 to put on an always incredible show at the Carrier Dome.


Red Hot Chili Peppers – University of Virginia (Jan. 26, 2007)

The University of Virginia was visited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Jan. 26, 2007. The band performed to a crowd at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia during their Stadium Arcadium Tour.


Nas – University at Albany (April 4, 2009)

The SEFCU Arena was graced with the presence of Nas on April 4, 2009. The University at Albany in Albany, New York welcomed Nas onto campus for Parkfest, a rap concert event put on by the UAlbany Student Association.


Drake – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Nov. 13, 2011)

Pre-“Hotline Bling” Drake was still talking about personal phone calls during his Club Paradise Tour in 2011. Just two days before his sophomore album Take Care was released, he visited The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. On November 13 he performed for an audience at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois.


Passion Pit – Birmingham University (May 5, 2012)

Passion Pit headlined Binghamton University’s Spring Fling concert on May 5, 2012. The band performed at the Binghamton University Events Center in Vestal, New York with The Cataracs and Timeflies as their openers.


Sigur Ros – The University of Central Florida (Oct. 8, 2013)

The ethereal Icelandic band known as Sigur Rós put on a show at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida as part of their Kveikur Tour. The group performed at the CFE Arena on Oct. 8, 2013.


Elton John – Saint Louis University (Nov. 24, 2013)

The myth, the man, the legend Elton John went on his international The Diving Board tour in November of 2013. He stopped in St. Louis, Missouri to put on a show for concertgoers at the Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.


Sam Smith – Temple University (Jan. 13, 2015)

North Philadelphia fans made their way to the Liacouras Center on Jan. 13, 2015 to watch Sam Smith perform at Temple University. The performance was one of 117 shows part of the In the Lonely Hour Tour.


The Rolling Stones – The Ohio State University (May 30, 2015)

Earlier this year, The Rolling Stones embarked on their Zip Code Tour. The Stones stopped in Columbus, Ohio to perform for fans on the campus of The Ohio State University. Mick Jagger led the Ohio Stadium crowd in the “O-H-I-O” chant during their cover of “Hang On Sloopy,” followed by “Paint It Black” on May 30, 2015.

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Sami Fisher

Editorial Contributor, Bowling Green State University Major: Multiplatform Journalism Her heart belongs to: bulldogs, music, craft beer, FKA twigs and figure skating You can find her: if she gets off the couch, she’s probably in class, on the ice or on an adventure

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