With the wrecking ball looming, Candlestick Park is being remembered for hosting dozens of legendary sporting events -- and one historic concert. Come Thursday, a second concert may join the list.
There have been many more music events in the chilly park's tenure, of course, from Metallica and Van Halen to Jay Z and the Rolling Stones. But all of that pales next to The Beatles' final concert, which took place Aug. 29, 1966.
Now, the 'Stick is set to host one more show -- which doubles as the last public event at the 54-year-old former home of the San Francisco 49ers and Giants. And, in a delicious twist of fate, the performer is none other than Sir Paul McCartney himself, some 48 years to the month later. That Thursday night's event will have its own place in history has not been lost on local fans. The show sold out in blinding speed, with every one of the roughly 50,000 available seats snatched up in just a couple of hours.
"There's just a huge demand for this show -- certainly the biggest demand I've seen in many years," said Gregg Perloff, CEO of Berkeley's Another Planet Entertainment, the promoters of McCartney's Candlestick show.
Another Planet is the same group that puts on the annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which had McCartney as one of its headliners in 2013. It was there the idea was hatched for Sir Paul to return in 2014 to perform the final show at Candlestick. But there was no guarantee he'd come.
"McCartney is very careful with how often he comes back to a market," Perloff said. "The chance of him coming back a year later was pretty remote. Luckily, everything just came together."
Perloff said McCartney's connection to the Bay Area -- and to Candlestick in particular -- played a big part in the quick sellout.
"Absolutely it did," he said. "I mean, come on -- people around the world know (Candlestick hosted) the last Beatles concert."
Many of those who were part of that iconic performance say it's something they'll never forget.
"It changed my life," said Marlene Kinley, of Dublin, who will be returning to Candlestick on Thursday. "I wouldn't have traded that moment for anything."
In fact, the final Beatles performance is still so famously remembered, it tends to overshadow all the other significant concerts held there.
"If it hadn't been for the Beatles show, I don't know that anyone would even remember that it was used for (concerts)," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert industry publication Pollstar.
Perhaps that's because Oakland Coliseum (now O.co Coliseum), with its more temperate weather and better public transportation options, served as the primary home for stadium shows in the Bay Area for decades thanks to Bill Graham's famed Day on the Green concerts, which turned the Coliseum into a hotbed of musical activity from the early '70s to the early '90s.
Then AT&T Park opened in 2000, offering great views of the bay as well as plenty of bells and whistles, and the aging Candlestick was knocked even further down the pecking order. Still, Candlestick has nabbed its share of memorable music over the years. There was Ray Charles and his legendary songbook in 1962 and the Beach Boys twice in the '80s. And people still talk about the Rolling Stones' two shows in 1981.
Local legends Metallica have rocked the venue a few times, and just last year, Candlestick hosted Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's co-headlining Legends of Summer tour. The show drew some 53,000 fans to the infamously cold, windy and outdated stadium to witness what this newspaper ranked as the region's top concert of 2013.
"People like to pick on Candlestick for the wind and small concourse and things like that," Perloff said. "But Candlestick is actually a really wonderful place to see concerts. ... It's actually very warm and inviting. Some really significant, great rock and roll shows have played there."
And the forecast calls for one more Thursday night.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Tickets: Sold out, www.ticketmaster.com