2003 – Bruce Springsteen
With a brand new ownership team onboard, the Boston Red Sox opened a unique doorway to Fenway Park that displayed a different aspect of entertainment, music. The regime headed by John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner decided that they were going to try something new, and took a big gamble when they announced that during the summer of 2003, Fenway Park would host a Rock and Roll concert. The headlining artist would be none other then ‘The Boss’, Bruce Springsteen.
When news of the concert hit the streets, fans were surprised and excited because nothing like this had ever been done before at Fenway. The shows sold out very quickly, and at the time became the hottest ticket in town. Everyone wanted to be inside of Fenway when ‘The Boss’ preformed on the hallowed grounds.
On the day of the shows, the energy around the historic ballpark was like that of a Red Sox vs. Yankees series. Fans lined up hours in advance to get inside and have a Fenway Frank and cold beer before the show started up. The anticipation made it seem like the show was Springsteen’s last, but of course it was just Boston fan’s being Boston fans – very passionate about whatever they watch.
The show was a huge success, and the ownership team decided that they would make Fenway Park the home to a new concert every single summer.
2004 – Jimmy Buffett
Year one of the Fenway Park concert series was a huge success, which put a lot of pressure on the second year performing act. The Red Sox front office team knew this and selected a performer with one of the largest national followings in the country. Knowing they couldn’t go wrong with their pick, they selected Jimmy Buffett. The fun loving and outgoing performer would be perfect for the Fenway Park venue.
Buffett attracted his “Parrot Heads” from all around the world to Fenway to make his two shows an unforgettable experience. Vendors were selling grass skirts and Hawaiian t-shirts while the beverage stands had a special selection available on the performance nights, margaritas.
Fans on the field seating sections were up and dancing the entire show and of course when Buffett played his famous song Margaritaville, the entire ballpark erupted in song as one. Once again, the Red Sox had hit a home run with their concert selection and everybody had high hopes for the 2005 summer show.
2005 – The Rolling Stones
The Boston Red Sox were the reigning World Series Champions and the pressure was on to bring in a big act to please the Fenway Faithful. The front office once again stepped up to the challenge and delivered with one of the greatest Rock and Roll bands of all time, The Rolling Stones. The show at Fenway Park kicked off their last ever tour called, A Bigger Bang.
Mick Jagger and the crew rocked out on a stage that towered high over the Green Monster wall in left. The stage was said to be close to 60 feet in height, and stretched from the manual scoreboard in left field to the bullpens in right field. One feature that made this structure so unique were the built in box style suite seating, right in the stage. Roughly 200 fans were up on the stage in the suites to enjoy the festivities of the Stones at Fenway.
Another neat feature about the stage was the moveable front console. Band members took position towards the front of the stage midway through their set and on a moveable track, the stage slowly made its way towards the infield, totally surrounded by screaming fans.
The Rolling Stones tour, A Bigger Bang, would go on to become the highest grossing tour of all-time making over $558 million dollars in total revenue.
2006 – Dave Mathews Band
The Dave Mathews Band shows at Fenway Park felt like they were sold out before the concert dates were even announced. When you combine a great live performer and a historic venue, fans will make it their number one priority of the summer to see this show. To add to the overall concert, Sheryl Crow was named the opening act for the 2006 concert.
Dave made sure to play into the Red Sox crowd in attendance by including in his set his own personal rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline one night and then another personal rendition of The Standells’ Dirty Water the next. Both songs were a huge hit and had everyone singing along just as if they were at a Red Sox game.
Unlike the previous three concerts at Fenway, the Dave Mathews Band drew a much younger crowd. The band’s following is mainly made up of fans ranging in ages of 15 to 40. Most have seen multiple live shows, and enjoy the tailgating aspect of the concert. At Fenway it was tough to tailgate due to the lack of parking, so many used Crow’s set to enter the stadium and enjoy some food and drinks before Dave went on stage.
After the success of the Dave Mathews Band shows, it’s safe to say the Red Sox were 4-4 with a perfect batting average as far as the summer concert series goes.
2007 – The Police
It was not a surprise that when The Police announced a reunion tour in 2007 in honor of their 30th anniversary as a band, and also for the creation of the song Roxanne, that they would be a great choice to play at Fenway Park in the summer concert series. They fit the description of a world renowned band that would draw crowds in masses just like all the previous artists who had played there before.
Led by Sting on vocals and bass guitar, The Police brought a new level of energy to Fenway that no one expected out of men in their 50’s and 60’s. Their on stage performance compared back to the days in the 80’s when their record, Synchronicity, reached number one in the UK and US.
For those two nights in late July, Fenway Park was alive with excitement and fans couldn’t believe that they were hearing Roxanne performed live, 30 years after it had originally debuted. Once again, the Sox choice of performing artist scored big with the fans and again was a huge victory for the club
2008 – Neil Diamond
The Boston Red Sox organization announced that Neil Diamond was selected to be 2008′s featured performer at Fenway. Rumors of Neil playing the Fenway 8th inning staple “Sweet Caroline” in person had been going around for years, and finallycame true in August of 2008.
2009 – Dave Matthews Band & Phish
Dave Matthews Band headlined Fenway Park on May 29th and May 30th. Boston got a second chance to catch one of the biggest bands in the world at one of the most unique and historic venues. Jam band legends took advantage of Fenway being in “concert mode” and headlined a gig the day after DMB.
2009 – Paul McCartney
Former Beatle Paul McCartney Sir Paul made his first trip to Boston in years, touring in support of solo disc Memory Almost Full, and Fireman album Electric Arguments. McCartney played on August 5th and 6th, marking the record fourth and fifth shows at Fenway Park in the Summer of ’09.
Aerosmith and J. Geils Band were the perfect choice to play Boston’s most historic venue. The local stars had a blast with a great show on August 14, 2010.