The Greatest Non-Baseball Events in Dodger Stadium History

Dodger Stadium | Photo courtesy of southerncal88, Flickr
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The inaugural NHL Stadium Series is taking place at Dodger Stadium in Downtown LA, featuring the Los Angeles Kings facing off against the Anaheim Ducks at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. The game will be the first outdoor regular season National Hockey League game played in California. After its debut in LA, the series moves on to New York and Chicago. Buy Tickets →

Ski Jumping Exhibition (Oct. 25-27, 1963)

In its early years, Dodger Stadium hosted numerous non-baseball events, including Sports Car road races on Mar. 2-3, 1963 and a night of championship boxing on Mar. 21, 1963. As part of the 1963 Giant International Ski Show and Grindelwald Ski Swap, a 165-foot ski jump was built in right field. The jump hill was 28 stories high, nearly twice the height of Dodger Stadium. Manufacturers, retailers and area ski operators showed their wares at the event. Other highlights included slalom racing, fashion shows and celebrity appearances.

Harlem Globetrotters (Feb. 2, 1964)

The only basketball game ever played at Dodger Stadium took place on Feb. 2, 1964, featuring the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters playing on a court laid out on the infield between home plate and third base. A crowd of 12,405 fans watched the Clown Princes of Basketball defeat the Atlantic City Seagulls, 46-35. A bonus exhibition game preceded the main event, featuring the 1963 World Champion LA Dodgers against the NFL’s World Champion Chicago Bears.

Elvis Presley (Mar. 9-11, 1966)

Dodger Stadium has made numerous film appearances, from the first Naked Gun film to Transformers and Superman Returns. In March 1966, Elvis Presley visited Chavez Ravine for three days to film scenes for his 22nd movie, Spinout. The stadium’s parking lot stood in for the start and the finish line of the “Santa Fe Road Race.” Look closely and you’ll see the King drive past one of Dodger Stadium’s distinctive parking lot signs, an orange globe with baseball stitching.

The Beatles (Aug. 28, 1966)

The Beatles at Dodger Stadium playbill | Image courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

The first rock concert ever held at Dodger Stadium featured the Beatles in their penultimate concert on Aug. 28, 1966. The stage was set up at second base. The Fab Four played a 30-minute set, which could barely be heard over the deafening noise of thousands of screaming teenage girls. After their brief performance, the lads from Liverpool had to escape in an armored Brink’s truck after their adoring fans stormed the field and blocked their limo’s exit. After the Dodger Stadium show, the Beatles would perform live for the final time the next night, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Elton John (Oct. 25-26, 1975)

Elton John at Dodger Stadium | Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers

On Oct. 25 and 26, 1975, Elton John performed two sold-out shows at Dodger Stadium, the first time a pop music act had performed at the ballpark since the Beatles in 1966. Each night, John performed for over three hours in front of 55,000 fans. During his second set, John wore a sequined Dodger uniform designed by Bob Mackie, complete with LA baseball cap and “Elton” and the number "1" on the back. In his review for the Los Angeles Times, pop music critic Robert Hilburn called John “the biggest star in pop music” and described the second show as John’s “finest hour.”

The Jacksons Victory Tour (Nov.30 - Dec. 9, 1984)

Michael Jackson on stage at Dodger Stadium | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

The Victory Tour was the first and only tour that featured all six Jackson brothers. The Dodger Stadium concerts were the final shows of the 1984 tour, taking place on Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, and Dec. 7-9. The set list featured songs from the Jacksons’ albums, Destiny and Triumph, as well as Michael’s solo albums, Off the Wall and Thriller, which was dominating the pop music world at the time. At the end of the final show, Michael announced that it would be the last time they would all perform together. His brothers were reportedly shocked at the announcement, and plans for a European leg were cancelled.

Pope John Paul II (Sep. 16, 1987)

Pope John Paul II at Dodger Stadium | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

During a two-day visit to LA in 1987, Pope John Paul II said Mass for an audience that was estimated at 63,000 - to date it’s still the largest crowd to attend an event at Dodger Stadium. The Papal Mass began with a 90-minute program hosted by actor Ricardo Montalban, and featured USC students performing an original fanfare. The Pope also led a seven-mile parade, and visited numerous locations throughout the city, such as the LA Coliseum, St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, the Japanese Cultural Center, and Universal Studios Hollywood.

The Three Tenors (Jul. 16, 1994)

José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti first performed together as The Three Tenors at the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy, on the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final. Zubin Mehta conducted the orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the orchestra of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Four years later, the superstar trio reunited with Mehta on Jul. 16, 1994 for a performance at Dodger Stadium. Mehta helmed the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the concert, which once again coincided with the FIFA World Cup Final. The song selection featured opera arias, a pop song medley, and “A Tribute to Hollywood,” including My Way and Singin’ in the Rain (Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly were in the audience). The concert was documented on the CD and DVD, The Three Tenors in Concert 1994.

Madonna (Nov. 6, 2008)

Madonna at Dodger Stadium | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

Madonna played a sold-out show at Dodger Stadium on Nov. 6, 2008 during her Sticky & Sweet Tour. After taking the stage two hours late because of lighting issues, the 50-year-old Material Girl wowed the crowd with her lean physique, spectacular staging, and 120 minutes of hits and dance numbers. Fans were treated to two surprise guests: Britney Spears joined her during Human Nature, and later on Justin Timberlake sang with Madonna on their duet, 4 Minutes.

Guinness International Champions Cup (Aug. 3, 2013)

Eight powerhouse soccer teams participated in the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup: Real Madrid, Valencia, Chelsea, AC Milan, Everton, Inter Milan, LA Galaxy and Juventus. The tournament began in Spain in July 2013, and the final was held in Miami in August. The first semi-final took place at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 3, the first time a soccer match was held there. The doubleheader featured Real Madrid of Spain defeating Everton of England, and Juventus of Italy losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. Real Madrid went on to win the championship, defeating Chelsea in the final.


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