Paul McCartney will bid farewell to Candlestick in final concert at the park 

click to enlarge Paul McCartney
  • mike koozmin/2013 S.f. Examiner file photo
  • British singer Sir Paul McCartney performs at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park.
In a statement published on his website, Paul McCartney announced that he will return to San Francisco to play a final concert at Candlestick Park on August 14.

"This once in a lifetime occasion is sure to be doubly bittersweet as Paul closes the same iconic venue where The Beatles played their final concert date on August 29, 1966," the statement reads.

Tickets for McCartney's Farewell to Candlestick show will go on sale May 5 at 10 a.m. PST, according to his website. American Express cardholders will get early access to tickets starting May 1.

The announcement comes after months of speculation that the pop star and member of the Beatles would perform in San Francisco in a tribute to the closing of Candlestick Park.

According to those involved in the talks, Live Nation had attempted to have McCartney play in the new 49ers stadium new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. But word came early Thursday morning that McCartney decided to play Candlestick under an agreement between McCartney and Another Planet Entertainment, which last year brought the former member of The Beatles to the annual Outside Lands concert in Golden Gate Park.

“We are thrilled. This was something that the mayor set in motion many months ago,” said Phil Ginsburg, head of the Recreation and Park Department, which manages and maintains Candlestick Park. “There was some discussion about them going south [to Levi's Stadium]. We are thrilled that Mr. McCartney and his team made the decision to play at Candlestick. It is a decision that means so much to San Francisco and to San Franciscans. It’s sad saying goodbye to Candlestick and we really believe there is no more perfect way to punctuate the end of this era than with a performance from Mr. McCartney, Sir Paul. That will be the final public event at Candlestick.”

Gregg Perloff, head of Another Planet Entertainment, said that he had been working on the event since August. Perloff was seemingly well positioned to help bring McCartney to the venue. He had worked with the ex-Beatle to perform at Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium in 1990 during McCartney’s first US tour after a 14 year break, promoted his 2010 show at AT & T Park and booked him for the company’s Outside Lands concert last year.

McCartney was last in San Francisco to perform at Outside Lands in 2013. Mayor Ed Lee said that McCartney approached him before his Outside Lands performance and proposed the idea of a Candlestick farewell concert. "And it was him who made the suggestion," Lee told the Chronicle. "Believe me, it wasn't something I, or anyone else, was expecting."

Lee celebrated the announcement Thursday. “This is really the proper way to close out the ‘Stick’ and I am thankful to Sir Paul McCartney, someone who is truly a class act," the mayor said. "I’m thrilled that we are adding this historic show to the roster of great events that the public can enjoy.”

Candlestick Park is scheduled to be demolished sometime at the end of this year or early next year to make way for San Francisco-based developer Lennar Urban's plans for a mixed-use housing and commercial development on the site.

Kofi Bonner, regional vice President of Lennar Urban, said the company is currently working with the Recreation and Park Department on demolition plans, which will likely include a combination of wrecking ball and explosive devices and take place between December and February. Following the demolition, work is expected to begin right away on new roads for the area. The stadium site itself is slated to become a mix of commercial and retail space with hotel and office space around it. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

The San Francisco 49ers, who have played at Candlestick since 1971, are moving to the new $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara for the upcoming NFL season.

Candlestick Park opened in 1960, which was the same year The Beatles were formed. The Beatles played their final public concert at Candlestick on August 29, 1966. According to the website, “The Park’s capacity was 42,500, but only 25,000 tickets were sold, leaving large sections of unsold seats. Fans paid between $4.50 and $6.50 for tickets, and The Beatles’ fee was around $90,000.”

Ginsburg said that financial arrangements this time around remain under discussion, but noted, “This is really not about the money for the Recreation and Park Department. The primary financial terms are between the concert promoter and McCartney. We will certainly cover our costs. There will probably be some revenue, which we plan on reinvesting back into our programs.”

Former Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally, who has attended countless baseball and football games at the stadium, said he was “very pleased” the event will take place. He noted that McCartney’s statement back in August about playing the venue was “a kind of sincere, slightly sentimental statement” that often in the music industry won’t materialize when the mangers get involved. But now that it has, he said, “I’m very pleased for rock 'n’ roll history and San Francisco history.”

McNally said Candlestick “has a lot of memories, many of them quite fond. It’s very cool to give it a proper send off and Paul’s the guy for it and bless him for coming through.”

Joel Selvin, the former music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, said it was a “surprising sentimental gesture by a Beatle not known for it.”

Selvin added that people really shouldn’t be too broken up about the razing of Candlestick. “I also have a hard time with anybody feeling too terribly nostalgic about that old concrete monstrosity, which, I think, hosted a grand total of four music concerts in its blighted lifetime,” Selvin said.

The McCartney concert will officially mark the end of Candlestick.

Despite being one of the biggest concert promoters, Perloff said he has very little rock memorabilia in his home. But what he does have is a photograph by the legendary music photographer Jim Marshall of The Beatles about to take the stage at Candlestick. What he finds most striking about the image is “the joy in their eyes.”

“This is just so exciting,” Perloff said.

Coming to an end

The Recreation and Park Department on Thursday announced a series events at Candlestick Park this summer that will mark the end of the stadium, which is slated for demolition at the end of the year or early next year.

May 27: U.S. men’s pro soccer match

July 12: Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino flag football game

Aug. 14: Paul McCartney performance (The Beatles, for which McCartney was a member, performed their final public concert at Candlestick on Aug. 29, 1966)

To be determined: Free Community Open House to bid farewell to the Stadium

Source: Rec and Park

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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