Former Beatle Paul McCartney will return to perform in Baltimore this summer for the first time since 1964, playing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, according to sources with knowledge of the arrangements.
McCartney will be the second performer ever to headline a stand-alone concert in the ballpark since it opened in 1992.
The team has scheduled a “major announcement” for Friday morning to be attended by Orioles CEO John Angelos and Mayor Brandon Scott. While the team’s advisory did not disclose details, two sources told The Baltimore Sun that McCartney was including the stadium among his stops on a summer tour but did not provide a date.
Representatives of the Orioles and the mayor’s office declined Thursday to disclose the details of the announcement.
The news comes amid the ongoing Major League Baseball lockout, which could lead to the alteration of teams’ regular-season schedules. It’s unclear how such a change would impact the timing of McCartney’s concert.
McCartney, 79, will be the next chapter in the ballpark’s foray into musical entertainment. The stadium’s first such concert — a sold-out appearance from Billy Joel in 2019 — went off largely without a hitch, though complaints surfaced about the event’s bag policy and heavy foot traffic into the infield. Joel set up shop in center field, where large white floorboards protected grass and dirt.
It represented a shift for Camden Yards. The ballpark, which turns 30 this year, had balked at hosting concerts before.
A 1994 effort from the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Orioles’ landlord, to book a concert featuring Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones didn’t receive approval from team owner Peter Angelos. Van Halen filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Orioles in 2004, claiming the team backed out of an agreement for the band to play the ballpark’s first concert.
John Angelos, one of Peter Angelos’ sons, has since taken control of the team’s operations, serving as the Orioles’ chairman and CEO.
The Orioles have made postgame concerts a regularity in recent seasons through the Birdland Summer Music Series, which typically features up-and-coming artists. In September, fans waited out a rain delay not to watch the Orioles, but to see folk rock band The Avett Brothers perform after an extra-inning walk-off win over the New York Yankees. An announced crowd of more than 20,000 fans attended the game, the Orioles’ largest weekday draw since July 2019.
Amid a rebuild that has seen the Orioles lose at least 108 games in each of the past three full seasons, attendance has dwindled to among the lowest in MLB. While waiting for the team’s performance to begin drawing fans back to Camden Yards, the organization has planned concerts and other events to attract crowds, a trend that will continue even if winning baseball returns to Baltimore.
McCartney’s last performance in the city, alongside Beatle bandmates John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, set off a near-unsurpassable furor. On Sept. 13, 1964, thousands of fans — many of them teenage girls — descended upon the Baltimore Civic Center (now called Royal Farms Arena) for back-to-back half-hour concerts, parts of which could scarcely be heard above the din. Each show drew 13,000 people. Meanwhile, the Orioles, playing that afternoon at Memorial Stadium, had about 3,000 fans in attendance.
Concertgoers paid just a few dollars for the 1964 shows. According to Sun archives, fans tried every manner of trickery to sneak backstage, or into the Holiday Inn on Lombard Street to catch sight of the boy band. After the shows, the foursome held an all-night party atop the hotel, at the revolving restaurant La Ronde.
Despite the splash, those concerts marked the Beatles’ — and McCartney’s — only show in Baltimore. In 1976, McCartney performed in Maryland with his band, Wings, at Landover’s Capital Centre, which was demolished in 2002. In 2009, he performed at FedEx Field in Maryland.
McCartney has played baseball stadiums previously, including Nationals Park in Washington in 2013 and Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium, San Diego’s Petco Park and the Texas Rangers’ then-home of Globe Life Park in 2019.
Baltimore sports radio station 105.7 The Fan first reported Thursday afternoon on McCartney’s planned appearance.
Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this article.