Over the years, many awesome bands have played MIT’s Spring Concert. Here is a somewhat complete list of the history of MIT Spring Concerts:
MIT Spring Concerts
2011: Jason Derülo / Janelle Monáe
2010: N.E.R.D. / Super Mash Bros.
2009: Ben Folds / Sara Bareilles
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
1993: They Might Be Giants
1992: Violent Femmes
1991: Jesus Jones
1990: Psychedelic Furs
1989: ‘til tuesday
1986: Ministry / Face to Face
1984: Cheap Trick / ’til tuesday
1983: The Tubes
1982: The Ramones
1980: Battle of the Bands (no headliner)
1977: Aztec Two-Step
1976: Don McLean
1975: The James Montgomery Blues Band
1971: Chuck Berry
1970: The Grateful Dead
1969: Janis Joplin / Dave van Ronk / Chuck Berry / Julie Driscoll
1968: Jefferson Airplane
1967: The Brothers Four
1966: The Beach Boys
1965: The Rooftop Singers
1964: Maynard Ferguson
1962: Dakota Staton
1962: The Four Preps
There are two concerts at MIT (one listed above) that are particularly impressive, each deserving their own section:
Nirvana Played MIT.
Perhaps MIT’s most (in)famous party is Steer Roast. Each spring for nearly half a century, the residents of MIT’s Senior Haus dormitory throw a big party; dorm alumni from decades past return for the event.
Sometimes described as “an extreme barbecue” or “a 3-day bacchanal,” Steer Roast is a celebration of mud, meat, and music. Mud, because of the mud wrestling pit and matches. Meat — well, that’s obvious from the name of the party, “Steer Roast.” And music: because (IMHO) Senior Haus residents tend to have the best taste in music on campus, they tend to get the best bands.
Perhaps the best example of Senior Haus being ahead of the (music) curve is Steer Roast 1990. That year, for a mere $1,000, they brought an up-and-coming three-member indie band from Seattle to play.
Nirvana played Steer Roast in 1990.
Here’s the contract:
One report says that “during the show, Krist [Novoselic, the bassist] ripped one or two bones off the wall from a sign spelling out ‘Sport Death’ (a Senior House motto) and used one to play half of a song on his bass.” Apparently, the concert happened in the dorm basement, as rain prevented the band from using the outdoor stage that had been built for the performance.
Anybody have audio or pictures of this concert? Would love to hear it / see it…
The Grateful Dead Played MIT.
On May 6th and 7th, 1970, the Grateful Dead played at MIT. Somehow, I had missed this. Luckily, my MIT contemporary, Joel ’99, dropped me an email to let me know about this glaring omission. Here’s the story, as I have come to understand it:
The Grateful Dead were scheduled to play MIT’s Spring Concert on Thursday, May 6th. Here’s the promotional poster:
Note the Great Dome in the background. The small text at the bottom reads:
LSC Presents The Grateful Dead in concert May 7 1970
MIT Armory 8:00 p.m. $3.00 $3.50 at the door
LSC is the Lecture Series Committee, an MIT student group. The MIT Armory is now called duPont Athletic Gymnasium (W31). And yes, that really does say a ticket is just $3! (Even considering inflation, ~$16 is still quite a bargain!)
Recall that during the 1969-70 academic year, student unrest about the Vietnam War was at a peak. Just three days before the scheduled MIT Spring Concert, the Kent State massacre occurred. On the same day, according to The Tech, “Well over 1500 members of the MIT community, most of them students, voted overwhelmingly to strike ‘in solidarity with the national university strike.'” The next day, the faculty met to affirm the community’s desire for a strike. The ~700 professors at the faculty meeting voted (again) overwhelmingly to cancel classes.
Wednesday, May 6th was the first day of canceled classes — the strike — at MIT. With the Grateful Dead already in Boston, they came to MIT a day early to perform a free outdoor concert, joining in the student protest (although, cheekily, the “schedule of events” listing in that day’s special issue of The Tech said: “2 pm – There will not be a free concert by the Grateful Dead today.”). The band set up on the Student Center steps, with the crowd all across Kresge Oval:
The Grateful Dead returned to MIT the following night to perform the Spring Concert. Once again, the MIT radio station was able to patch in (and archive.org has the audio):
Would you have rather been at the Nirvana show or the Grateful Dead show?
Which Spring Concert do you most wish you could’ve attended?