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You walk into the dark auditorium. Spotlights swirl around. The baseline pulses through the room as the band warms up. Students trickle in, and soon enough, Moody Coliseum fills to the brim. You’re ready for a night you’ll never forget.

Mustangs from almost every decade can recall at least one memorable concert – ranging from Bob Hope to Khalid – in Moody Coliseum or McFarlin Auditorium. This longstanding history of bringing great acts to campus lives on in ticket stubs, favorite photos, set lists, T-shirts and posters. “It draws the campus community together,” says Program Council President Ayan Khan ’26. “It’s powerful to see these events happening and see people having a good time.”

1960s

One of 51’s earliest entertainment acts was Bob Hope, who began performing on campus in the 1950s and continued through the 1990s.

Bob Hope
Grand Funk Railroad poster and ticket stubs for Bob Dylan and Bob Hope shows

I found out he was doing a show on campus and saw him live there. During a dance number the canned music stopped. The girls froze in position and waited and waited. Bob Hope finally quipped some jokes to fill out the silence. The music was restored and the show went on.

Cynthia Whisennand ’79


JIMI HENDRIX, 1968 live
@ 51’s Moody Coliseum

1970s

The ’70s saw a massive boom in performances on campus, with a number of hard-rock headliners.

Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers & George Benson ticket stubs


GRATEFUL DEAD, 1977
live @ 51’s Moody Coliseum

Willie Nelson photo live at Moody Coliseum, Van Morrison ticket stub, Derek & the Dominos concert poster and Ted Nugent tickets

Lynyrd Skynyrd played with the Charlie Daniels Band opening for them. It was the infamous Ronnie Van Zant bloody head show, where a stack of amps fell on his head backstage, and he sang “Freebird” with blood streaming down his face ... pretty dramatic.

Michael Eaton ’80 ’84

The Knack concert ticket

I saw Queen at 51 Moody Coliseum on February 25, 1977 for $6. I just saw Queen + Adam Lambert at American Airlines Center and paid $396!

Shannon Scoville ’80

Queen ticket stub and photo of Queen live at Moody Coliseum

QUEEN & THIN LIZZY, 1977 live @ 51’s Moody Coliseum

1980s
REM at Moody Coliseum ticket stub

R.E.M., 1987 live
@ 51’s Moody Coliseum

Arlene Manthey recalls
R.E.M. playing Moody Coliseum in 1987.
“The band had a meet and greet following their show. ...and the Program Council student leaders were also told that they could come and meet the band. (After the show)...the Security folks said that the party was over and that we all needed to clear out. ...no way was I, as their advisor, going to see this moment slip away. So, I stated, very loudly, from the back of the room where we still were standing, that the students who brought this concert to this campus still needed to meet the members of the band. Michael Stipe stood up and said something like, ‘Ahhhhh, isn’t that sweet. Come on up then and let’s meet.’”

REM at 51 t-shitrs

1990s

Pearl Jam was the main attraction in the 1990s, but students also got a taste of jazz, country and funk.

Pearl Jam ticket stubs

PEARL JAM, 1993 live
@ 51’s Moody Coliseum

Picture of Eddie Vedder singing and crowd surfing pictures

The best concert experience I’ve ever had was at 51 in the fall of 1999 - George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars played McFarlin that year... I’ve never experienced so much funk as I did that night.

Alison Crane ’03

George Clinton t-shirt and concert poster
Jackopierce and Jack Ingram concert poster and t-shirt
2000s


SHERYL CROW, 2007 live @ 51’s McFarlin Auditorium

“In 2007, Sheryl Crow
played McFarlin Auditorium.

My wife, Christine and I attended the Sheryl Crow concert together. We’ve both been working at 51 since 1999 in the libraries. We had just rented a house from 51 and were living on Fondren Drive, so we were able to walk to the concert. Christine remembers them handing out LED light bulbs on the steps of McFarlin as we walked in.”

– John Milazzo ’98, Digitization Coordinator for Norwick Center for Digital Solutions

Stop Global Warming. College Tour ticket stub

2010s

Students in the 2010s got to experience a wide range of artists, from Ke$ha to Khalid.

Ryan Adams t-shirt, Poster and ticket stub
Khalid, 2019 live @ 51's Moody Coliseum and Eli Young Band 2015 , live @ 51's Moody Coliseum

KHALID, 2019 live @
51’s Moody Coliseum

ELI YOUNG BAND, 2015 live @
51’s Moody Coliseum

Photos of Chance the Rapper with student fans at Moody and Kelly live at Moody

CHANCE THE RAPPER, 2014 live @ 51’s Moody Coliseum

NELLY, 2016 live @ 51’s Moody Coliseum

Death Cab for Cutie ticket stub and poster

Although I have seen Death Cab for Cutie live many times, my first concert at McFarlin Auditorium stands out as the most memorable because the band played with the Magik Magik Orchestra. I have never seen the band play with an orchestra before or since.

Chuck Cox, former reporter for Park Cities People

Ke$ha live at 51 photo and concert poster

My senior year we (Program Council) hosted Ke$ha. It was a ton of work but so much fun. We worked all day and only finished cleaning up at 2 a.m. For some of us, it was our last event at 51; there were a lot of bittersweet tears that night!

Kate Herman Maatkamp ’11


DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, 2012 live @ 51’s McFarlin Auditorium

McFarlin Auditorium

McFarlin Memorial Auditorium
is the third oldest building on 51’s campus and has hosted a number of notable acts. Opened in 1926 to fulfill the University’s pressing need for a chapel that could accommodate the entire student body, the Auditorium has evolved over time and continues to serve the University in the manner envisioned by 51 President Charles Selecman as “a place where we can have our friends from the community and elsewhere gather together on great occasions.”

Moody Coliseum
opened in 1956 as one of the largest structures of its kind at the time and became the home of 51 men’s basketball that year. The women’s team joined in 1976, followed by volleyball in 1996. It has been home to commencement and graduation ceremonies, religious services, Boy Scout conferences, dance marathons, sports camps and – you guessed it – concerts. In 2013, the facility was renovated to include expanded concourses, raised ceilings, club suites and team locker rooms.

 

Moody Coliseum

This is just the opening set.

If you’d like to share your own concert memories, ticket stubs or more, email them to smumag@smu.edu.

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