The 10 Most Iconic Final Concerts
via TheBeatlesLyrics / Youtube
Whether driven by tragedy or creative change, a band’s final concert often becomes an unforgettable part of their legacy. Explore this list of some of rock history’s most iconic farewell shows.
1. Cream’s Surprise Farewell (Nov. 26, 1968)
Cream, comprised of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce, stunned fans with their final live performances in 1968. Although they later reunited in 2005, their initial breakup after just over two years together was unexpected. The show at London’s Royal Albert Hall featured opening acts Taste and Yes and was filmed for a BBC broadcast.
2. The Beatles’ Rooftop Surprise (Jan. 30, 1969)
The Beatles’ famous rooftop performance on the Apple office building in London in 1969 is legendary. The impromptu concert lasted 42 minutes before the police shut it down, and it was recorded for the Let It Be documentary.
3. Jimi Hendrix’s Final Gig (Sept. 6, 1970)
Jimi Hendrix’s last performance took place at the Open Air Love & Peace Festival in Germany, just 12 days before his tragic death. With his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he played classics and new material, and the entire set was officially released in 2005.
4. The Doors’ Chaotic Show (Dec. 12, 1970)
The Doors’ live reputation suffered during their December 1970 performance at the Warehouse in New Orleans. Jim Morrison’s erratic behavior and forgotten lyrics marked the show. Three months later, Morrison was found dead in Paris, leading to later disputes within the band.
5. The Band’s Star-Studded Farewell (Nov. 25, 1976)
The Band’s farewell concert at Winterland in San Francisco was a grand affair, featuring guest appearances by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and more. Martin Scorsese recorded and filmed the event, later releasing it as The Last Waltz. The Band briefly reformed in 1983 but continued without Robbie Robertson until Rick Danko’s passing in 1999.
6. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tragic Ending (Oct. 19, 1977)
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original lineup played their final show at South Carolina’s Greenville Memorial Auditorium just two days after releasing Street Survivors. Tragedy struck when their plane crashed, claiming the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and others. The surviving members reunited in 1987 with Johnny Van Zant as the frontman.
7. Led Zeppelin’s Last Tour (July 7, 1980)
Led Zeppelin concluded their Tour Over Europe 1980 in Berlin. Tragically, drummer John Bonham was found dead two months later. While occasional one-off shows occurred, the band resisted reunion tour offers.
8. The Eagles’ Explosive Split (July 31, 1980)
The Eagles’ tumultuous breakup unfolded during a 1980 Long Beach concert, marked by onstage disputes between Glenn Frey and Don Felder. After a dormant period, the band returned for the Hell Freezes Over tour in 1994, underwent lineup changes, and continued their journey despite Frey’s passing.
9. The Who’s Repeated Farewells (Dec. 17, 1982)
The Who’s pre-announced farewell concert in Toronto in 1982 marked the beginning of several reunion cycles, including Live Aid and the Brit Awards in the 1980s. Despite multiple farewell tours, they continued performing, with more shows following each time.
10. Guns N’ Roses’ Turbulent Transition (July 17, 1993)
Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion tour in 1991 saw internal tensions and lineup changes, with Axl Rose ultimately forming a new version of the band. In 2016, a successful reunion brought Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan back together.