Skip to content ↓
MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

The MIT Spring Concert by Matt McGann '00

An annual tradition bringing famous bands to campus.

Today is the official beginning of Spring Weekend at MIT. The highlights include the always-popular International Fair (“I-Fair“), the colorful Holi festival, AXO LipSync, and the Fierce Forever drag show.

But above all else, for most students, Spring Weekend means the Spring Concert. Every year, MIT brings to campus a national act to headline a big concert on campus. This year’s Spring Concert features Third Eye Blind and Howie Day.

Over the years, many awesome bands have played MIT’s Spring Concert. Here are some of the highlights from past years. In parentheses are the band’s most popular song (according to iTunes) and my favorite song from the band (if different). For some of these bands, choosing a favorite song was really hard; sometimes, it was a near coin toss.

1966: The Beach Boys (“Kokomo” / “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”)
1968: Jefferson Airplane (“White Rabbit” / “Somebody to Love”)
1969: Janis Joplin (“Piece of My Heart” / “Mercedes Benz”)
1971/1969: Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”)
1974: Aerosmith (“Dream On”)
1976: Don McLean (“American Pie”)
1982: The Ramones (“I Wanna Be Sedated” / “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”)
1984: Cheap Trick (“Surrender” / “I Want You to Want Me”)
1985: R.E.M. (“Supernatural Superserious” / entire album: “Life’s Rich Pageant”)
1987: Squeeze (“Tempted” / “Black Coffee in Bed”)
1989/1984: ‘til tuesday (“Voices Carry”)
1990: Psychedelic Furs (“Love My Way” / “Heartbreak Beat”)
1991: Jesus Jones (“Right Here Right Now”)
1992: Violent Femmes (“Blister in the Sun”)
1993/2000: They Might Be Giants (“Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” / “Birdhouse in Your Soul”)
1994: Belly (“Feed the Tree”)
1995: Sonic Youth (“Superstar” / “Kool Thing”)
1996: Soul Coughing (“Super Bon Bon” / “Screenwriters Blues”)
1999: Busta Rhymes (“Touch It” / “Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check”)
2001: The Roots (“The Seed (2.0)”)
2002: Sugar Ray (“Fly” / “Every Morning”)
2003: OK Go (“Here It Goes Again” / “Get Over It”)
2004: Live (“Lightning Crashes” / “Selling the Drama”)
2005: Fabolous (“Make Me Better” / “Can’t Deny It”)
2006: CAKE (“The Distance” / “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”)

Here is a somewhat complete list of the history of MIT Spring Concerts:

2008: Third Eye Blind / Howie Day
2007: Ying Yang Twins / Ozomatli
2006: CAKE / matt pond PA.
2005: Fabolous / Lloyd Banks
2004: Live/ Slick Rick
2003: Jurassic 5 / OK Go
2002: Sugar Ray / Spin Doctors
2001: The Roots / Blues Traveller
2000: They Might Be Giants / Reel Big Fish
1999: Busta Rhymes
1998: Maceo Parker / Fishbone / Five Fingers of Funk
1997: Battle of the Bands (no headliner)
1996: Soul Coughing
1995: Sonic Youth
1994: Belly
1993: They Might Be Giants
1992: Violent Femmes
1991: Jesus Jones
1990: Psychedelic Furs
1989: ‘til tuesday
1987: Squeeze
1986: Ministry / Face to Face
1985: R.E.M.
1984: Cheap Trick / ’til tuesday
1983: The Tubes
1982: The Ramones
1977: Aztec Two-Step
1976: Don McLean
1974: Aerosmith
1973: Sha-Na-Na
1971: Chuck Berry
1969: Janis Joplin / Dave van Ronk / Chuck Berry / Julie Driscoll
1968: Jefferson Airplane
1967: The Brothers Four
1966: The Beach Boys
1962: Dakota Staton
1962: The Four Preps

Which Spring Concert do you most wish you could’ve attended?

37 responses to “The MIT Spring Concert”

  1. Femgineer says:

    ’06 – who doesn’t love CAKE.

  2. fred '11 says:

    it would have been a coin toss between Sonic Youth and R.E.M. but even Jesus Jones would have made me happy.

    I can only hope we get at least ONE good band some time in the next three years…

  3. anon says:

    RAMONES !!!! The Others were great in their day, but the Ramones are timeless and classic.

  4. Piper '11 says:


    Sorry, had to go there.

  5. Jess says:

    Soul Coughing! And Sonic Youth. And Cake (wasn’t We Are Scientists there too?). And definitely The Ramones, and Violent Femmes.

    all of the above?

    I’m really disappointed with Third Eye Blind, though. We had SPOON on the list for possible bands this year. Seriously?? Does Third Eye Blind even exist anymore??

  6. Keri says:

    I’m convinced that Sonic Youth’s “Mary-Christ” is the best song ever ever ever.

    So now you know which concert I wish I could have attended. Jefferson Airplane would have been great, too.

  7. Lhydium says:






  8. milena '11 says:

    Hmmm Jefferson Airplane would’ve been really interesting.

    And I, too, am disappointed with this year’s choices. I haven’t heard of Howie Day in like a year and a half, and Third Eye Blind… I don’t know about that. If it really is true that We Are Scientists played it last year, this is a big downgrade.

  9. Chris '12 says:


    well…this is MIT, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe they built a time machine in 1988 solely for the purpose of having REM play for them in 1985.

  10. madmatt says:

    For me, there’s no question: 1985, R.E.M.

  11. Oasis '11 says:


    The students vote in January/February online who the Undergrad Association should invite, and the UA follows the results of that poll. I voted for Sean Kingston, but he ended up going to Wellesley instead, blah.

  12. Anonymous says:

    lol definitely the beach boys. Great music

  13. Paul says:

    I agree – R.E.M., no question. Although CAKE, Aerosmith, and The Ramones would have been pretty awesome as well.

    I would love if we had Counting Crows sometime. wink

  14. Laura says:

    Cake. Oh wait, I was here, just being lame and didn’t go. =(

    But honestly, if I had to pick, I’d say Third Eye Blind. (How convenient!) Because, just yeah. Awesome 90s music. I am not repeating my mistake from 2 years ago, so I’ve already bought my ticket. =)

  15. Fred '11 says:

    Ive been thinking about this. Sonic Youth performed at the ’95 spring concert. At the time, their newest album was “Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” which is one of my all time fav albums.

    so yeah… ’95 ftw!

  16. Chris '12 says:

    R.E.M. as long as they play “The end of the world as we know it”
    Third eye blind most definately,

    and my personal favorite-Reel Big Fish.

    This is reason #88 why I can’t wait to go to MIT!

  17. Jerome Baum says:

    1985: R.E.M.


  18. Ian says:

    ’68, Jefferson Airplane… Would have been neat to hear Grace Slick.

    I’ve seen the Roots play before, they are awesome.

  19. Isabel says:

    Sonic Youth. Definitely.

  20. Sh1fty says:

    I have to admit that I prefer their early ’90s work, so that concert probably wouldn’t be as much fun for me :D I’d definitely go to Ramones (’85), They Might Be Giants (’00, not ’93), The Roots (’01) and CAKE (’06).
    Who decides which band to invite?

  21. Sh1fty says:

    Chris ’12, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” was written in 1988, so they couldn’t have played it in 1985 :D

  22. Anonymous says:

    sean kingston is weak because his accent is fake. when he talks, he doesn’t have it.
    jefferson airplane or the roots.

  23. Anonymous says:

    omg kelly is coming to fierce forever? that is awesome. SHOES, betch.

  24. moose '12 says:

    REM all the way!! (they should play again… sometime in the next four years…) =D

  25. Anonymous says:

    Aerosmith, hands down. They were at thier best in the early seventies.

  26. youknow says:

    Jurassic 5. for sure. they broke up now and Chali 2na’s solo work is weak compared to the group.

  27. Anonymous says:

    J5 is the bomb i miss them ^

  28. E. Rosser says:

    There’s no question in terms of rock history: Janis and Chuck Berry in one place?!?! Let’s get on that time travel device, MIT…wink
    Although “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” is an exceptionally addicting song…

  29. KelseyK says:

    Oh my goodness. Can I just go to all of them? Even ’06! (I’ve already seen CAKE live – they’re amazing!)

    That’s sad that you couldn’t get Spoon – they’re a lot of fun live.

  30. Steph says:

    How did MIT get Ministry? That’s pretty cool.

  31. lulu says:

    uh, it would have been spoon. & they might be giants

  32. lulu says:

    chuck berry would have been totally cool, too. if only i were alive

  33. lulu says:

    and don mclean? hey!

  34. 2000 & 1993 of course
    They Might Be Giants all the way!
    with 2007 a *very* close second(third?)

  35. Jihad Dib says:

    woww great parties smile it’s really greatt !!! hope 2 be there smile