Sometimes, once just isn’t enough.
In the case of these 12 classic rock bands, just one concert at the old Boston Garden wasn’t close to enough to satisfy the fans and themselves.
Here’s 12 classic residencies at the old Garden between 1972 and 1993, some of which you may have attended.
12. Billy Joel plays 3 nights in a week in ’93
The above video comes straight from one of the actual shows Billy Joel played in 1993 in support of his album River of Dreams, released earlier that year. The album went 5x platinum in the U.S. and landed four Grammy nominations. The album is also notable for its cover.
11. Allman Brothers play 2 nights in ’74
The Allman Brothers Band played Boston in 1974 during a time of turmoil for the band. Tension rose due to clashing of personalities and drug abuse, all of which were very public issues. That did not stop the band from headlining the Garden for two straight summer nights.
10. Bruce Springsteen plays 2 nights in ’80
While Bruce Springsteen didn’t have nearly as deep a well of material to draw from for his Garden shows 32 years ago, that just means the sets were riddled with classic after classic. Springsteen’s 1980 double-album The River proved he was for real as an artist, and his two-night stay at the Garden that same year gave more evidence of his mastery of live shows.
9. Bob Seger plays 3 straight nights in ’80
The above video depicts a record player spinning Bob Seger’s 1981 live album Nine Tonight, part of which (including the above clip of “Old Time Rock & Roll”) was recorded at one of his three Boston Garden shows in October 1980. The mere fact that a live album was recorded at the old Garden proves the crowd energy brings out the best in the performers. Only one other location recorded the show, Cobo Hall in Seger’s hometown of Detroit. That’s an impressive achievement for Boston concerts.
8. Fleetwood Mac plays Halloween ’87
When it comes to the success of Fleetwood Mac albums, it’s pretty much Rumours and everything else. The second-most popular album from the band was 1987’s Tango in the Night, the final record from the classic Buckingham-Nicks-Fleetwood-McVie lineup. They supported the album with two consecutive shows at the Garden, the second of which took place on Halloween night in 1987.
7. Journey plays 2 straight nights in ’82
Back in 1982, Journey were at the peak of their powers in the Steve Perry era. “Don’t Stop Believin'” was already on its way to becoming an iconic classic and their album Escape burned up the Billboard charts. Fans who saw the band for one of their two nights in 1982 at the old Garden were lucky enough to see the band arguably at their best.
6. Chicago play 2 nights in ’73
In 1973, Chicago had already garnered plenty of acclaim for their live shows. So it should surprise no one that their stop in Boston in the summer of ’73 included two shows in as many nights. They performed in support of Chicago VI, about two weeks before the album was first released.
5. Aerosmith play 2 nights in ’75
The above video is actually an audio cut from Aerosmith’s show at the Garden in November 1976, which was also a two-night stop. The two shows in ’75, however, came on the heels of the band officially establishing themselves as rock superstars with Toys in the Attic, which includes the classic singles “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.” The “Bad Boys of Boston” signified their arrival with two consecutive nights at the Garden.
4. J. Geils Band play 3 nights in ’82
Not to be outdone by any band playing two shows at the Garden, Peter Wolf and the rest of the J. Geils Band actually played three shows in four nights back in February of ’82. The shows came hot off the heels of the immense success of “Centerfold,” which first came out in 1981 and remains the band’s biggest hit single.
3. Grateful Dead play 6 shows in 7 nights
The above video comes from one of the actual shows the Grateful Dead played at the Garden in 1991. And there are a bunch more on Youtube to check out. The Dead played a staggering six shows in seven nights, far more than any classic rock group could claim to have played at the Garden within one week.
2. Rolling Stones play 2 straight shows in ’72
The Rolling Stones had just released the now-all-time classic Exile on Main St. in May of 1972, propelling the band to even greater heights than they had already achieved. One show simply was not enough for them when they arrived in Boston for two consecutive nights, the 40th anniversary of which is fast approaching.
1. U2 supports Joshua Tree with 2 shows
The above video is a raw, grainy clip of one of the actual shows U2 played in 1987 to support The Joshua Tree. The album announced U2’s arrival as a band to be reckoned with, and as one of the better live acts in all of music. Nearly three decades later, Joshua Tree remains a classic and the band’s two straight shows at the Garden in the fall of ’82 stand as one of the most memorable residencies in the venue’s history.
Join the conversation!
Were you at any of these shows? What are your favorite memories from concerts at the Boston Garden? Share your memories and any concert residencies we missed in the comments below.