10 incredible bucket-list venues from around the world

These places are must-see

A band is always going to be more important than the space you see them in – but that doesn’t stop some venues being far superior to others. Here are 10 of the most iconic bucket list venues to work into your musical travels.

1. Madison Square Garden, New York

New York’s most high-profile venue is this multi-purpose sporting arena, with its 20,000 seats focussed on a central stage. This is where Kanye West debuted his seventh album ‘The Life of Pablo’; it’s where LCD Soundsystem had their ‘last ever’ gig in 2011 before reuniting in 2015; and Madonna has played it more than 30 times.

2. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado

The history of Red Rocks as a music venue stretches back to 1906, when a guy called John Brisben Walker set up a funicular to the area, and a temporary platform for performance; the amphitheatre itself was completed in 1941. In its time, the eye-popping open-air venue near Denver has played host to legends including Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Depeche Mode, with recent gigs from artists including Gorillaz, Chance The Rapper and Fleet Foxes.

3. Paradiso, Amsterdam

This gorgeous multi-tiered Dutch building was once a church, and latterly a squat, before becoming a music venue in the late 60s. Everyone from Adele to Joy Division has played here – and the crowdsurfer in this pic is at a Specials gig.


4. Sydney Opera House, Sydney

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 44 years old in October. It’s one of the busiest performance centres in the world, with over 2000 shows over 363 days per year. Far from just catering to opera fans, this venue hosts plenty of gigs here from the likes of Bon Iver, The National, and Aussie punk-rock dudes Royal Headache, the latter of whom in 2015 encouraged the crowd to leave their seats and mosh onstage, prompting security and police to bring the show to a halt.

5. L’Olympia, Paris

One of Édith Piaf’s regular haunts, this 1888-founded music hall also played host to The Beatles many times in the 60s, and nowadays it hosts the likes of Lana Del Rey and Arctic Monkeys.

6. Slane Castle, County Meath, Ireland

The green grounds of this venue slope to form an awesome natural amphitheatre. It’s played host to concerts since the early ’80s – this Bob Dylan concert is pictured from 1984 – and recent gigs there have included Guns N’ Roses, Foo Fighters and The Rolling Stones.

7. Harpa Concert Hall, Iceland

This trippy building in Reykjavik was only opened in 2011 but has already featured gigs by huge artists across its various stages, including Björk, James Blake and De La Soul – the latter two as part of Reykjavik’s Sónar Festival. The cavernous, multi-level seated concert space inside was designed for classical music, as shown in season 1 of Netflix series Sense8.


8. Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

Sat behind this truly iconic open-air venue is the Hollywood sign, providing the 17,500 members of its audience a picturesque view while they take in music from artists that in 2017 have encompassed Solange, New Order and Fleet Foxes. It’s been going since 1922 and everyone who’s anyone has played it.

9. Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

Originally built for Olympic judo competition in the 1964, this arena was first used for musical performance by The Beatles in 1966; and since then has welcomed Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Oasis, Ozzy Osborne and Aerosmith, all of whom have released live recordings from the venue. Its 2017 performers have included The Stone Roses, Paul McCartney and Duran Duran.

10. O2 Academy Brixton, London

Once known as the Astoria, the Sundown Centre and The Fair Deal, the O2 Academy Brixton is a former cinema and theatre that opened in the 1920s. Known as the Academy since 1983, it’s among the biggest non-arena venues in London with a capacity of just under 5,000, and in recent months it’s been used by The Killers, Lana Del Rey, Mac DeMarco and Gorillaz. Since 1994, it’s won venue of the year 12 times at the NME Awards. Additional fun fact: The Mighty Boosh and The xx share the record for consecutive nights played at the venue – both have done seven in a row here.