Final Curtain: Last Gigs By Legendary Bands

2 May 2017, 19:36

The Beatles 1966

On May 2nd 1980 Ian Curtis, and his band Joy Division, played their last ever gig. But they're not the only band to bid farewell to the stage.

The Beatles - Monday 29 August 1966

This lacklustre end to a particularly gruelling US tour was The Fab Four's last PAYING gig, amid dwindling audiences and death threats from the Ku Klux Klan over those "bigger than Jesus" comments . They of course played on the rooftop of Apple Studios in January 1969, but that was for a laugh. The last song played at Candlestick Park was a cover of Little Richard's Long Tall Sally.

Joy Division - Friday, 2 May 1980

The band performed their last show at High Hall in Birmingham University. Singer Ian Curtis was ill and stumbled off stage after performing the song Decades live for the first and last time. Two weeks later, he had committed suicide at home in Macclesfield. He returned to the stage and the last song Joy Division ever played was their first track for the Factory label, Digital The gig was released on the 1981 album Still.

David Bowie - Tuesday, 3 July 1973

Bowie famously called time on the Spiders From Mars at the second of two nights at Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973. He'd not told the rest of the band that Ziggy was "retiring". He would re-emerge later that year with a new look for Aladdin Sane. His last public performance was on 9 November 2006, alongside Alicia Keys at the Black Ball, a New York benefit event for the Keep a Child Alive charity.

The Smiths - Friday 12 December 1986

This show at London's Brixton Academy was the band's last public show to date, apart from a TV appearance in Italy, which was mimed so they don't count. Bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce supported Morrissey at his first solo show in December 1988 at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall, but the original four members still haven't played together onstage.

Beastie Boys - Friday 12 June 2009

The tragically early death of Adam "MCA" Yauch in 2012 brought the career of the NYC hip hop trio to a premature end. Their last show was at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, where they ended their set with Sabotage, dedicated to MCA's cousin Eric Yauch.

Nirvana - 1 March 1994

A month before Kurt Cobain's death, the band bowed out forever with a performance of Heart Shaped Box at Terminal 1 at the old Munich Airport. Earlier in the gig, the power had failed, prompting bassist Krist Novoselic to comment: "Grunge is dead". Kurt had bronchitis that night and his voice was all but gone by the end of the show, which was curtailed. They cancelled the next night's gig and the singer was hospitalised three days later after a suicide attempt.


Sex Pistols - 14 January 1978

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" The famous last show with Sid Vicious was on 14 January 1978 at Winterland in San Francisco, which ended a turbulent and chaotic US tour. The original line-up - with Glen Matlock on bass - got back together for a reunion show on 23 June 1996 at Finsbury Park.


Oasis - 22 August 2009

V2009 - Could this be the last ever live performance featuring Liam and Noel together on stage? Only time will tell.