Janis Joplin's Harvard Stadium Concert, 45 Years Later

Download Audio

Forty-five years ago today, Janis Joplin played her last live performance to a crowd in Boston.

Joplin's show at Harvard Stadium was only supposed to be for a crowd of 10,000. Instead, almost 40,000 fans packed in to see that performance.

Nobody there knew it would be her last concert. The iconic singer died from a drug overdose a little less than a month after the Aug. 12 show.


Ed Symkus, music and film critic of Gatehouse Media and The Boston Globe.

Didi Stewart, associate professor of voice at Berklee College of Music.


The Artery: Newly Found Photos Show Janis Joplin's Final Concert — 45 Years Ago At Harvard

  • "The evening of Aug. 12, 1970, was a warm one. Harvard Stadium had been transformed into a concert arena with the addition of rows upon rows of seats onto the field. An estimated 40,000 spectators were crammed inside. After it was discovered that some sound equipment had been stolen, the show was delayed."

The Boston Globe: Janis Joplin’s Final Concert Captured In Photo Collection

  •  "In the spring of ’70, Janis had kicked her drug habit, and she was exalting in being straight and on top of everything," Cooke says. “She had a better relationship with Albert Grossman [her manager] than ever before. They had put together this band, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, and musically she was very happy. She loved being onstage. She was correctly quoted as saying, ‘Man, I put up with 23 hours of the day for that hour onstage.’”

This segment aired on August 12, 2015.


More from Radio Boston

Listen Live