In pictures: A look back at Dundee’s concert history over the years

Radio 1’s Big Weekend is coming to Camperdown Park, from May 22 – 24 this year. The annual music festival will bring a host of huge acts into the city this summer, but what about some of the other mega-acts that have performed in the city over the years? We thought we’d turn back time and look at some of the famous musicians that have graced Dundee’s stages throughout the decades…

Tom Jones – 27/7/2019, Slessor Gardens

What’s that Pussy Cat? It was Tom Jones, and though there were some sound issues and rain to contend with, that didn’t stop 8,000 people descending on Slessor Gardens to sing and dance to songs by the legendary Welsh singer including Delilah, It’s Not Unusual and The Green Green Grass of Home. 

Simple Minds – 9/9/2018, Slessor Gardens

Simple Minds took to Slessor Gardens in September 2018 as part of their Grand Slam tour. The band were joined by The Pretenders and KT Tunstall, who went to school in the city. Fans certainly won’t forget about this gig quickly!

Rita Ora – 28/7/2018, Slessor Gardens

The heavens opened at the Slessor Gardens Rita Ora concert in July 2018. The rain may have poured but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the fans who piled into the Waterfront restaurants and bars to warm up.

Olly Murs – 20/7/2017,  Slessor Gardens 

Olly Murs grooved his way into Dundee in July 2017 and charmed the masses. Miraculously, the rain stayed at bay and the X-Factor runner-up hinted on Twitter that he would be back…

Little Mix – 29/6/2017, Slessor Gardens

Little Mix took Dundee by storm in June 2017 when 11,000 people packed into Slessor Gardens as part of their Glory Days Tour. The rain stayed off and the confetti canons poured down on the crowd, who were giving it their all to hits like Black Magic, Wings, and Shout Out to my Ex.

Rod Stewart – 7-8/1/1977, Caird Hall 

Rod Stewart’s arrival in Dundee saw the Caird Hall transformed into a world of white. The stage, the background, and even the piano were draped in white, which only made the colourful costumes on stage stand out even more. The visit was part of his Foot Loose and Fancy Free Tour, which saw an electric atmosphere and crowds getting so excited that seats were knocked over.

Queen – 13/12/1975, Caird Hall

Queen were the masters of drama, and when they invited fans to the Caird Hall in 1975 for ‘A Night at the Opera’, they certainly made an entrance. Picture it: the signature high notes of Bohemian Rhapsody emanating from the darkness, followed by a thundering guitar solo and flash bombs exploding as the band took to the stage. Supposedly the music was so loud that it could be heard from Reform Street, and Rhapsody was such a hit that it received two encores.

David Bowie – 17/5/1973, Caird Hall

Another sell-out show for Dundee’s Caird Hall, this time by Ziggy Stardust. Fans had to queue from 6am to nab themselves a ticket for this gig. The crowds were surprisingly well behaved until the last few songs when ‘Bowiefever’ took over and they started to surge towards the stage. Bowie had to be rescued by his security and was whisked away to The Angus Hotel. He was one of many superstars to stay at the hotel on the Nethergate (now Debenhams) which was Dundee’s premier hotel at the time.

The Beatles – 7/10/1963 & 20/10/1964, Caird Hall

The Beatles played at the Caird Hall twice in their career, the first time coining the term Beatlemania when the box office had to open up at 3am to prevent queues from blocking the street. During their second visit, they had barely played for five minutes and already 50 women had to be carried out due to the excitement. The crowds were so loud that no one could actually hear the music, and following the concert, the musicians had to be smuggled out of the venue to avoid frenzied fans.

Dundee has welcomed many iconic acts over the decades, and it’s no wonder given its fabulous event spaces. We’re looking forward to see what future Dundee gigs will bring, with Radio One’s Big Weekend in May and the Pussycat Dolls in July.

Rebecca Brown