The MCG always has been a very popular venue for concerts.Soon after the MCC was granted tenure of the MCG in 1853 it became the social centre of the city, a favoured place for the ladies to “promenade”, and soon a band rotunda was erected on the arena perimeter.
The MCG has seen a number of modern-day concerts at the venue since David Cassidy first graced the stage on March 10, 1974.
In 1978, David Bowie held a concert there and Linda Ronstadt followed suit in 1979.
In 1993, Paul McCartney (March), U2 and Madonna (both November) held concerts, each drawing crowds between 40,000 and 55,000.
The Rolling Stones held concerts in 1995, Michael Jackson toured in 1996 as part of his “History” tour, the 3 Tenors (Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti) performed in 1997, while Elton John and Billy Joel provided a compelling double act in March, 1998.
In November, 1998 more than 55,000 people filled the MCG to watch more than 60 artists performing for nine hours to celebrate Australian music at the Mushroom Records 25th anniversary concert. Artists included Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Hunters ‘n Collectors and Jimmy Barnes.
On Australia Day in 2008, the MCG hosted its first concert in almost a decade when The Police Reunion Tour, supported by Fergie and Fiction Plane, played in front of 30,000 fans.
On March 14, 2009 a crowd of 80,518 people braved wet conditions to help raise more than $7 million for those affected by the Victorian bushfires, as music icons such as Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Hunters and Collectors, Kings of Leon and Split Enz put on the Sound Relief concert at the MCG.
On February 14, 2017, US rock band Guns N' Roses performed in front of 73,756 fans - the then-third highest MCG concert crowd in history. Guns N' Roses returned to play the MCG on December 3, 2022.
On February 24, 2019, Eminem performed to 80,708 fans during his Rapture tour, a record attendance for both Eminem and the MCG.
Billy Joel performed his 'for one night only in Australia' show to one of his largest ever crowds on December 10, 2022.
Across two shows on March 2 and 3, 2023 as part of his Mathematics Tour, Ed Sheeran performed in front of more than 215,000 fans to make history at the MCG. A total of 108,000 fans attended his first concert at the ‘G, a record he would go on to break the following night, playing in front of the largest crowd of his career – a record breaking 109,500 fans for his second and final show in Melbourne.
Playing in the round of the MCG, Ed Sheeran surpassed the MCG's previous highest concert crowd record set by Eminem in 2019.