From the Stones to The Beach Boys: a history of rock shows at CSU

The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys and many other famous bands have played concerts hosted by Colorado State University and most owe these performances to Barry Fey.

Legendary in Colorado, Fey was an American rock concert promoter who brought in many of the acts that performed at Hughes Stadium.

In November of 1969, Fey suggested The Rolling Stones perform a “break-in” concert with B.B. King, in what was then known as Moby Gym, to kick off their first American tour in three years.

A couple years later, Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac and Long John Baldry took the stage in the original Lory Student Center ballroom.

“The Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac and Long John Baldry concert was a technical disaster but a musical success,” the Silver Spruce Yearbook wrote.

The Beach Boys made their first appearance at CSU Feb. 19, 1974, . The following year, they returned with Chicago to play at Hughes Stadium. During the performance, Elton John surprised the crowd by joining the concert.

Two weekends later, the stadium was packed again, only this time with Stones fans. There are 32,500 seats in Hughes, but that day about 39,000 people squeezed into the stands, some of who arrived at the stadium at 5:30 a.m., 11 hours before the show began. The Rolling Stones kicked off the show by flying in on a helicopter, according to Doni Luckutt, the director of marketing for the LSC.

The final concert organized at Hughes was a part of the Rolling Thunder Revue, a tour by Bob Dylan. The performances that followed were held at Moby Gym. Willie Nelson, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen and Frank Zappa all graced the stage there. Afterwards, Zappa distributed a CD of the live performance called “Let’s Play At Moby Gym.”

Although the revenue of holding shows at Hughes was tempting for CSU, nearby residents complained to the city about noise.

According to History of CSUPD, this resulted in a court order that limited noise level to 80 decibels, too low for an open-air concert to be held.

This article was published in The Collegian February 10, 2015.

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