February 24, 2018

Municipal Auditorium turns 75

Vintage postcard showing the WPA-era building.

The magnificent Art Deco Municipal Auditorium, which will host a 75th birthday party Thursday, Oct. 13, has been the site of much Kansas City Rock History. Elvis Presley played three concerts there – May 24, 1956; Nov. 15, 1971; and June 29, 1974.

An ad for Elvis' 1956 concert at the auditorium.

Other notable shows include the Jimi Hendrix Experience Nov. 1, 1968, and the Rolling Stones (with Stevie Wonder opening), June 22, 1972.

Ticket stub from Elvis' 1974 show at the auditorium

I saw several great rock shows at Municipal — Frank Zappa (12/5/81), Prince (3/19/83), Willie Nelson (2/25/79) — and one I recall as a disappointing snorefest (Eric Clapton, 2/20/78).
How about you? What shows do you recall attending at Municipal Auditorium? Post your comments below.
The public is welcome to attend a free luncheon (hot dogs and popcorn) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Municipal Auditorium Arena, 301 W. 13th St. In addition to an ETA (That’s “Elvis Tribute Artist,” for the uninitiated) actors portraying Harry and Bess Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and basketball inventor James Naismith, plus Shriner clowns and members of the KC Roller Warriors will be on hand to add to the festivities.

JoAnn Streever will display her Elvis scrapbooks at the 75th birthday party.

As part of the display of historical photos, the folks who run the Auditorium have invited JoAnn Streever, a member of the local Stuck on Elvis fan club, to display some of her memorabilia, which includes clippings and tickets stubs from the Elvis concerts she attended in KC, including his 1974 concert at Municipal.


  1. Mike Epstein says:

    I saw Hendrix, Donovan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young with opening band Linda Ronstadt and I’m pretty sure Jethro Tull the first time, also in the Music Hall, David Crosby and Graham Nash and Dan Fogelberg.

  2. Perry Bradshaw says:

    Thx Rick,maybe it was the Elvis Mem hall Show @74,i saw? juz a Kid,did see many at the Hall..but for Me,the Thin Lizzy @76-77 Jailbreak tour..was it. prob 15,my Buds sister took us, The Radio was full of their Tunes,they were a Flashy but Fun Show,maybe it was the late great Phil Lynot that night that lead me to become a Bass Player myself,will nvr forget he the way he played.

  3. I was at the Hendrix show and the Donovan show mentioned above. I also attended the “Crown of Creation” Jefferson Airplane tour show there along with the later “Volunteers” tour show at Mem Auditorium in KCK.

    I also saw numerous Big 8 B-Ball games there and marched around the floor a few times as a Boy Scout.

    When Jose Iturbi performed there, I went backstage with my mother who wanted to get his autograph. My father remained at the back waiting for us as Harry Truman made his way past him on his way home.

    Missed: the notorious James Brown show.

  4. Sonny Dryer says:

    I saw lot’s there too….Hendrix, Eagles, Jethro Tull, Stones, Areosmith, last show I went there was Tom Petty…. The acoustics were always Horrible,,,,

  5. Charles Purvis says:

    I saw Paul Revere and the Raiders at Municipal Auditorium. Had to have been mid-60s. Opening act was a local band called The Chessmen. I am sure this was not in the Music Hall, though. The Stage and folding chairs were set up on the main floor where they had basketball games.

    Also saw Kareen Abdul Jabbar (he may have been Lew Alcindor then) when he played for the Milwaukee Bucks at Municipal Auditorium, along with numerous Shrine circuses and car shows.

    Bartle Hall should never have been built.

  6. Rick… I saw James Brown in either 1970 or 1971 at Municipal Auditorium I scrolled through all the concerts that listed many concerts there but can’t find the date listed when I saw him…I don’t remember the month or day & there weren’t any riots unless they took place after we left…I also saw Frank Sinatra there with my Dad because my mom who was the big fan wouldn’t go she never told me why she wouldnt go, so I did, that was October 12, 1981, there were lots of flashes going off in the audience…I handed Sinatra a long stem yellow rose but can’t find anyone that took photo’s…I realize a lot of the people there my dad’s age are probably no longer alive but there were all ages there but I haven’t had any luck searching on line for info or pictures…any suggestions how I can find pictures of the Sinatra concert??

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