Reason #89 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'


By Emil Tiedemann

Imagine 60,000 rapturous men, women, and children - most at variant stages of drunkenness - pounding their soaked fists into pouring skies and chanting, “Oi! Oi! Oi!.” Picture a darkened football stadium full of adrenaline-hyped rock fanatics begging for 54-year-old Angus Young to strip off his trademark schoolboy uniform to bare his AC/DC undies! 

Now try to imagine lightning bolts criss-crossing the ominous skies as Brian Johnson screams, “I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring lightning flashes across the sky”! I have no need to imagine such things, because I lived it when the band played the packed Commonwealth Stadium in the summer of 2009. That was an experience anyone there that night couldn’t possibly forget, and that was just one night! 

Commonwealth has hosted many major concerts over the years, including Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Taylor Swift, U2, The Police, Willie Nelson, Genesis, Tim McGraw, David Bowie, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Beyonce, One Direction, and Lilith Fair. 

It’s Edmonton’s biggest venue, and so the biggest names in the music industry turn to the Commonwealth when they’re looking to sell 60,000 tickets. But, of course, it’s not just concerts that take over the open-air stadium on Edmonton’s north side. 

The Commonwealth is home to the Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League team, and has been since construction on the stadium was completed in 1978, as a replacement for the next door Clarke Stadium (which is now used by our soccer team, FC Edmonton). 
U2 plays the Commonwealth Stadium in May 2011.

It was also built to host the 1978 Commonwealth Games, its namesake, in which Canada took home more medals than any other nation, with 109. The City expanded on the Stadium ahead of the 1983 summer Universiade, bringing its total capacity up from 56,302 to 60,081. Since then, the Commonwealth has anchored the Canada Cup, World Championships in Athletics, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, four Grey Cups, three Churchill Cups, and numerous FIFA Men’s & Women’s tournaments. 

One of the most memorable sporting events held on the Commonwealth field was the inaugural Heritage Classic outdoor NHL game on November 22, 2003, in which the Montreal Canadiens beat the Oilers 4-3 in front of over 57,000 fans. It was the first-ever regular-season NHL game to be played outdoors, and has since become a popular tradition in the league in cities across the continent. 

In other words, there’s been many precious memories made within those concrete walls and colourful plastic seats of the Commonwealth, over plenty of spilled beers and raucous cheers. #commonwealthyeg


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