Shea has taken a beating over the years for its outdated infrastructure, overflowing toilets and the occasional malodorous fumes wafting in from Jamaica Bay.
But we challenge you to name another structure in the history of architecture that can boast hosting as many culturally powerful events as Shea. Such as:
The Beatles - August 1965. The Fab Four played an outdoor concert at Shea, the first time a pop group ever played in a sports stadium. The Beatles only played for about 20 minutes and could barely be heard over the orgasmic wails of the almost entire female audience. Nevertheless, they made a ton of money and set box office records. As a result, the show changed the nature of outdoor concerts forever.
The Stones, 1989. - The greatest rock and roll band in the world played several nights at Shea in October 1989 as part of their Steel Wheels tour.
The Who - played the stadium in 1982, on the first of many farewell tours. The opening act: The Clash. I can personally attest to the fact that this show was audible from 10 miles away.
I don't know of another intact building in which all three icons of British Rock played. But wait, there's more:
Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. Did a string of dates in the fall of 2003. I scored a floor seat and plucked some outfield grass for souvenirs. I can also now say I went to the bathroom on the pitcher's mound of Shea (that's where they put the portapotties). Not that I ever have occassion to mention that fact. Also, the show I saw was the tamborine debut of Al Leiter.
The Police, with Joan Jett and REM – August, 1983. The Police were imploding at the time but still managed to squeeze 70,000 fans into Shea. I’m not a big fan but it would have been cool to see Joan Jett and the virtually unknown REM trying to attract attention as the opening acts.
Grand Funk Railroad - Yes kids, there was a time when GFR could sell out Shea. I am thankfully too young to remember 1971, when the Railroad did the locomotion on the Shea infield.
Pope John Paul II. That was a weird day. My grandparents and Aunt (who was a nun) scored tickets to the Pope's Shea appearance on his 1979 U.S. tour. It rained all day, as we huddled under tarps up in the Mez section, drinking hot cocoa. Minutes before the PopeMobile arrived, the rain stopped the sun came out and a rainbow appeared out past left field. If I was Pope, that is EXACTLY the kind of entrance I would make every time. Impressive stuff.
Sports overdose. In 1975, Shea became the only sports complex ever to be the home stadium for 2 professional baseball teams (The Mets and Yankees) and 2 professional football teams (Jets and Giants) for an entire season.
Pro wrestling. Shea has hosted several WWF pro wrestling bouts, which served as the precursors to the great Wrestlemania series.
Game 6. 'Nuff said. Honorable mention: Game 7.
A case could be made for designating Shea an historic landmark...Possibly even sacred ground.
Sadly, someday people will be parking their cars on that sacred ground.
Here's hoping the ancient spirits of long expired Grand Funk Railroad fans will rise from the hallowed dirt and haunt those future CitiField tailgaters and parking spot hunters
Ah what am I saying... Grand Funk Railroad will never die!!!
About Loge13: Tracking the last days of Shea
Shea: The Man Behind The Name
April 16, 1964: The Day Before The Creation
When The Shea Walls Come Down