Ever since legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky launched their landmark concert series at the Ford in 1961, the Ford Theatres has been known as the place to experience world-class performances in a serene, outdoor setting. But don’t let the classical music and the pastoral façade fool you—the Ford has hosted some of the biggest, and rowdiest, names in rock.
Back in the late ’80s, the Ford served as a launch pad for an impressive lineup of LA-based rock superstars including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who, newly reorganized, performed one of their first shows ever on our stage in October 1988.
Guitarist Dave Navarro came back the following year with Jane’s Addiction, who played a string of seven sold-out concerts at the Ford in April 1989, a series that the local band still sites as a seminal moment in their rise to rock stardom.
In fact, in 2011, lead singer Perry Farrell traded his leather corset for a suit and wingtips during two anniversary concerts commemorating the band’s original run at the Ford. Similar to the 1989 gigs, the concert included a pre-show drum circle on the Ford’s Edison Plaza. Check out this video documenting the performance here.
The late ’80s also saw a sort of punk renaissance at the Ford with bands like The Meat Puppets, X, Social Distortion and The Pogues rocking out on the Ford’s stage.
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