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Probably the first sold-out rock concert in Las Vegas history. The Beatles played two shows at the old Convention Center Rotunda on Paradise Road (where the current Convention Center complex is located) on August 20, 1964.




A couple years after the "Ice Palace" opened where the Commercial Center now stands, the up and coming rock bands of the day would stop in. The tours that made it here included Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and as you can see here, the Dead and Santana. Cream were scheduled to play on their only U.S. tour but canceled.






One of the most infamous of all Las Vegas rock concerts was the Deep Purple show at the Convention Center rotunda in 1974. The band canceled at the last minute, causing a near-riot. After The Beatles made history there, the venue hosted some of the top rock acts of the day, including The Kinks and Journey during the Steve Perry days.

There was a cool club scene happening in the early 1980's, with the Moby Grape still thriving on Tropicana. On Industrial Road, the Troubadour hosted the likes of The Romantics, Greg Kihn, The Damned, and pictured here, George Thorogood in December 1981 as part of his "50 States in 50 Days" tour.



The Thomas & Mack Arena opened in 1983 on the campus of UNLV. Do you need any other proof of the year, than that the first rock band ever to play there was Loverboy? In the ensuing years similar-sized arenas were built at the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay hotels, with a fourth major arena under construction on the Strip as of 2015.

The venerable Huntridge Theatre at Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway. After a long and storied life as the valley's premiere movie theatre, rock concerts gave it extended life through the 90s, but it came to the brink of the wrecking ball before a group of backers raised funds in 2013 to begin rebuilding it.





Someone had to do it. In 1993, the valley's all-time leading Classic Rock Station presented the first of many annual festival concerts known as "Junefest." The top headliners of the day, cheap tickets, and tyou could only get 'em from us. The original series of concerts at the soccer fields near Sam Boyd Stadium ended in 2002. "Often imitated, never duplicated."


Beginning in 1991, the Grateful Dead would come to play Sam Boyd Stadium for three days, always bringing opening acts that were so good, you had to get there early. We're talking Santana, Steve Miller, Sting, and that time a reformed Traffic gave us all a chance to dance to "Gimme Some Lovin'" in the 112 degree heat. Ah, how we miss ye, Jerry...




Live rock in Vegas underwent a rennaissance when the first Hard Rock Hotel opened in 1995. The Joint concert hall brought in many of the top acts in the world, including the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Oasis. It eventually closed but a new "Joint" was built in the hotel's east parking lot in 2009.


It's always fun to look back at when Las Vegas was just cutting its major-concert teeth, and the good folks at Las Vegas Weekly have asked Dennis Mitchell to pen a series of columns about just that. We'll link you to the latest "Sonic Flashback" article with a link on the pic and right here.


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