Who’s played at Petco Park before Garth Brooks? Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Metallica and more
The coming seven months will see performances by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Bad Bunny at the downtown ballpark
Petco Park hit a grand slam with its first concert in 2005 — a year after the downtown stadium opened — thanks to an especially rousing performance by the Rolling Stones.
But the only four artists to perform full stadium concerts there over the next 10 years were Madonna (in 2008), Paul McCartney (in 2014) and, separately, the Stones and Taylor Swift (both in 2015). (Other acts followed. See the list below.)
That makes 2022 a banner year for the sprawling ballpark, which is the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team.
Saturday’s sold-out performance by Garth Brooks is the first of five scheduled full-stadium shows there between now and September, when Puerto Rican reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny will become the first artist to do back-to-back concerts at Petco.
“We’ve never had more than three full-stadium concerts at Petco in a year before,” said Padres CEO Erik Greupner. “This year, we’re already up to six” — one of which has not been announced yet — “and could add more during the off-season.”
The Padres’ busy schedule averages more than 80 home games here per season. That can make scheduling concerts tricky, especially since setting up the stage, sound, lights and on-field seating for full-stadium shows can take up to several days and a day or two to take down.
Even so, the tally of concerts held in the ballpark is larger than first meets the eye.
That’s because the stadium is a popular location for private events hosted by companies holding annual meetings at the nearby San Diego Convention Center, as evidenced by the invitation-only Petco Park concerts by such varied acts as Aerosmith, Luke Bryan, Deadmau5 and blink-182. Last May saw Petco become the first Major League ballpark in the nation to hold socially distanced stadium concerts (by the Beach Boys and Ziggy Marley, respectively).
In addition, there have been numerous performances at the ballpark’s Sycuan Stage in Gallagher Square — a smaller outdoor venue located just beyond the outfield — that can accommodate up to 10,000 people. It was built in partnership with concert industry giant Live Nation, but is no longer exclusively booked by them.
As for the future, two acts top Padres’ CEO Greupner’s wish-list.
“I’d love,” he said, “to have U2 and Pearl Jam play at the ballpark.”
Past Petco Park full-stadium concerts
Nov. 11, 2005: The Rolling Stones
Nov. 4, 2008: Madonna
Sept. 28, 2014: Paul McCartney
May 24, 2015: The Rolling Stones, Gary Clark, Jr.
Sept. 29, 2015: Taylor Swift, Vance Joy, Shawn Mendes
May 14, 2016: Billy Joel
Aug. 6, 2017: Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Gojira
Sept. 22, 2018: Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Doobie Brothers
Sept. 23, 2018: Def Leppard, Journey
June 22, 2019: Paul McCartney
Aug. 29, 2021: Green Day, Weezer, Fallout Boy
Upcoming Petco Park full-stadium concerts
Saturday: Garth Brooks
July 27: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Haim, Thundercat
Aug. 28: Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison
Sept. 17 and Sept. 18: Bad Bunny
5:16 p.m. March 4, 2022: Gallagher Square, the concert venue located behind the outfield at Petco Park, is no longer exclusively booked by Live Nation.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.