Penn State Concert Countdown

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Penn State has proven time and time again that they seriously don’t mess around when it comes to bringing the world’s top artists to Happy Valley.

Justin Timberlake’s BJC performance last night has prompted VALLEY to take a trip down memory lane by ranking some of the best concerts that have been performed at Penn State in the past decade. From Lana Del Rey to Avicii to Kanye West, let the countdown begin.

10. Fetty Wap Monster Energy Outbreak Tour, spring 2016

Okay, even though Fetty Wap only actually came on stage for 40 minutes, VALLEY still has to give him the 10th spot. More credit should be given to his opening act, Post Malone, who at the time was known for his hit song “Congratulations” — #TBT — and was on the stage for almost double the time as Fetty. Post would go on to return to State College’s very own Tussey Mountain for Spring Fest, which would take place two months later on April 20.

9. The Chainsmokers Nittany Block Party, fall 2015

This one’s for the seniors. Who remembers when Penn State’s Student Programming Association brought The Chainsmokers to the Nittany Block Party at Penn State? That’s right, in the fall of 2015, before the Chainsmokers rise to fame, they stopped by our campus! They performed some of their hit songs at the time “#SELFIE,” “Roses” and “Kanye” — those were the good ol’ days. Little did they (or anyone else) know the path of fame they were about to embark on! The video below shows Drew Taggart casually dive into the crowd of hype students.

8. Lana Del Rey LA to the Moon Tour, spring 2018

Indie pop queen, Lana Del Rey, made a trip to State College this past spring, bringing her super talented friend and singer, Kali Uchis, along for the ride. Performing hit songs like “Summertime Sadness” and “Young and Beautiful,” her flower-crown wearing, glitter-covered fans packed the floor of the BJC, screaming in disbelief throughout the entire concert. 

7. Paul McCartney Out There Tour, fall 2015

Ex-Beatle and forever legend, Paul McCartney, came to Penn State for his first-ever central Pennsylvania performance in the fall of 2015. The show, which was completely sold out, went on for about three hours, packed with young and old fans alike. He ended the show with the classic “WE ARE!” chant, to which his audience of course responded “PENN STATE!” before bidding farewell to the artist.

6. Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road, fall 2018

This past September, the infamous British singer/songwriter/pianist triple threat returned to State College for his final tour ever, Farewell Yellow Brick Road, with the name acting as a tribute to hit studio album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Like McCartney did three years before him, Elton John completely sold out the show. He triumphantly entered the stage rocking a jazzy red and blue patterned suit, paired with his iconic colored lenses, performing hit songs like “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer” to name a few.

5. J. Cole KOD Tour, fall 2018

The OSU white out weekend couldn’t stop J. Cole from rolling through the Happy Valley! J. Cole, who has been prominent in the music scene since 2007, was sure to stop at the BJC to promote his new album “KOD,” which dropped this past April. Throughout the show, he performed hits from the new album as well as some of his most popular tracks from the past like “Work Out” and “Power Trip.”

4. The Weeknd Starboy Tour, fall 2017

Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd, proved that he wasn’t messing around for this tour by bringing his equally-talented friends Gucci Mane and Nav with him as opening acts. The grammy award-winning artist ran around on an L.E.D. stage that closely resembled a paper plane, belting hits from his new album at the time “Starboy,” as well as getting fans in their feels with throwbacks like “Wicked Games” and “Often.”

3. Avicii, Fall 2011

Though this concert was nearly ten years ago, we could never forget Avicii’s legendary PSU performance. Avicii, 22 at the time, came onto the EDM scene in 2011 with his infamous hit “Levels.” In the fall of 2011, he came to Penn State as the Bryce Jordan Center’s first electronic music show ever, paving the way for many more EDM artists to come in the future. During the show, he played his hit song “Levels” as well as “Zombie Nation,” aka the iconic anthem to the “We Are Penn State!” chant. Following the performance, he was eager to voice his support for Penn State amidst the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Rest in peace, Avicii.

2. Zedd True Colors Tour, fall 2015

German house music producer, Zedd, brought his True Colors tour to the BJC along with dubstep music producer Dillon Francis as an opening act in the fall of 2015. The artist was perched high up on the stage behind his DJ equipment, hyping up the crowd with every song he played, from top hit songs “Break Free” and “Clarity” to “Addicted to a Memory.” L.E.D. lights shot throughout the energetic crowd, ending with an explosion of multicolored streamers.

1. Kanye West St. Pablo Tour, fall 2016

Legendary rapper Kanye West takes the cake for our concert countdown. With a floating stage, what more could you really ask for? The non-traditional stage, which floated throughout the air as the concert went on, allowed some students on the floor to get within mere feet of the rapper’s face. Concertgoers came from near and far to witness the unreal show, and Kanye was poised to impress. The Saint Pablo tour performance at the BJC is talked about to this day, and most students who attended it still deem it the best Penn State concert of all time.


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