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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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The Ramones, who played at SDSU several times, were a favorite among the responses. The Ramones, who played at SDSU several times, were a favorite among the responses.

Rock Through the Ages

SDSU alumni share their favorite SDSU concert memories.
By SDSU News Team

In honor of the Backdoor Mural unveiling, we asked Aztecs to share their favorite concerts that took place at San Diego State University. 

Tod Petty, '94, Economics

Thankfully I have kept the concert ticket stubs from every concert I have been to.

The first show I went to was at the Backdoor to see the Inspiral Carpets in 1991. They were a new band. 91x was playing one of their songs, so I thought it would be fun to see them live. It was a great show and I went to Tower Records the next day to buy the CD.

I then saw Transvison Vamp a few months later at the Backdoor. That was another great show. The venue was so small you had a great view of the band no matter where you were standing. Then later that year, Stan Ridgeway (formally of Wall of Voodoo) was playing at the Backdoor, so I saw that show as well.

In 1992, Violent Femmes played at Monezuma Hall. I was a huge fan of them since High School, so I was so excited to see them live and on campus. Nothing is better than singing along to the songs you know all the words to.

A buddy of mine bought tickets to the recent Duran Duran concert at Viejas Arena. I had not been on campus in more than 20 years. I could not believe how much has changed since the early 90s. What a great show! This had to be the best show I have seen at SDSU. It was so cool to see the campus again and to reminisce about the amazing times I had at SDSU and all of the great bands I was able to see.

Patrick Bailey, '93, Speech Communication

My family moved to the SDSU area in 1976. I grew up on Campanile Drive. I started attending shows at The Backdoor, The Open Air Theatre (OAT) and Montezuma Hall in 1982. Some memorable shows at Backdoor include Husker Du in 1985; The Replacements in 1984; Violent Femmes in 1983; The Church in 1986; CH 3  in 1985; Leaving Trains in 1984; and  Minutemen in 1984. 

The shows I attended at Montezuma Hall include: The English Beat in 1982; Ramones in 1986; Echo & The Bunnymen in 1984; The Replacements in 1986; Green Day in 1992; X in 1984; and Big Audio Dynamite in 1990.

I went to several shows at the Open Air Theatre, such as UB40 and Midnight Oil in 1990; The Cult in 1988; Harry Connick Jr. in 1994; and 10,000 Maniacs in 1992 and 1993.

But my all-time favorite show was The Police, Madness and Oingo Biongo at Aztec Bowl on Labor Day Weekend in 1984. 

I think the fondest memory I have about the OAT was hanging outside during the show if we didn’t have tickets. The sound was always so good that we could hear everything. It was great atmosphere. I think the Joe Jackson show was one of the best. My friends and I didn’t have tickets, but we all hung out on the lawn. We had a great time.

David E. Wohl, ’86, Political Science

I went to The Police concert at the Aztec Bowl in ‘83, Ramones at Montezuma Hall in ‘84, Echo and The Bunnymen in and Dire Straits at the Open Air theater in ‘85, Ramones and Debbie Harry (Blondie) in 1990. I also went to many other smaller shows.

The best concert was probably The Police concert in 1983. They were huge at the time with the Synchronicity album having just come out. Oingo Boingo and Madness along with a couple other huge acts of that day also played. It was an incredible show!

The Ramones show at Montezuma Hall in 1984 was also memorable. I went there with two friends, one of whom was arrested during the show for disturbing the peace — at a Ramones concert! It did, however, give me incentive to become a criminal defense attorney — something I’ve been doing since 1989! Also, the show was on a Sunday and I was concerned because I had a big exam the next day. Turns out I aced the test — Ramones were good luck for me!

Also, my experiences at these shows gave me the incentive I needed to become the CBS 2 special Rock 'n' Roll correspondent at CBS Palm Springs.

Debi Marshall Pruitt, '95, Biology

I remember seeing Oingo Bongo in 1993 and Duran Duran in 1994 at the Open Air Theater. Both were awesome because the OAT was a great place to watch a concert — outside, not too big and fun atmosphere.

While at the Oingo Bongo concert, during one of the songs, a couple of the band members hid in the audience, and then ran on stage. The one hiding next to me was Danny Elfman, lead singer, who asked me if I was having a good time.

But the best was the Duran Duran concert, I was a huge fan growing up and wanted to marry John Taylor — and still do.  Before the concert started, my roommate and I went to the bathroom. While we were waiting in the long line, we could see the band's tour bus parked on the same side as us close to the library, and noticed several people coming out of the bus, headed our way. 

The closer they got, we realized it was actually them, with security of course. When they got to where we were standing in line, Simon LeBon stopped, looked over the concrete wall into the bathroom and said in his most awesome British accent, "Oh the loo", smiled at us all and then walked on. Leaving all us girls, speechless and questioning if we were all dreaming or did that really happen. Best night ever!