City’s historic live music project is just the ticket: Beatles backstage at Odeon- Credit West Yorkshrie Archives

02 Jan 2024

City’s historic live music project is just the ticket

Libraries Arts

Generations of musical memories are being captured for a new project in Leeds which is reliving some of the city’s most iconic gigs.

Hundreds of tickets which once secured entry to memorable live performances by a host of music legends including The Beatles, Elton John and U2 have been collected for the Leodis online archive.

And gig-goers of all ages are being encouraged to add their own stories to the site in a bid to build a permanent record of what is a key part of the city’s illustrious musical heritage.

Among the landmark occasions commemorated in the archive is the night Beatlemania came to Leeds, an event which saw the Fab Four mobbed by fans as they played at The Odeon Theatre on The Headrow.

The concert was the third time John, Paul, George and Ringo performed in Leeds, a fact which didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of their legions of fans, who gathered in their thousands outside the venue to try and get a glimpse of their idols.

Black and white images, also part of the Leodis archive, show the lucky ones who made it inside screaming and cheering as the group performed.

Also part of the collection is a ticket to Elton John’s gig at The Queens Hall on June 19, 1984. Formerly a tram and bus depot, the hall became venue for a number of huge events, and hosted the legendary Rocket Man as part of his European Express tour.

One attendee, who has added their story to Leodis, said: “It was the day I finished my O-Level exams, and I went with a school friend who had been given the tickets last minute by somebody who couldn't go.

“The Queens Hall was a complete dump and got so hot during the gig that condensation rained down on us from the ceiling. Elton was mind-blowingly good - the voice, the acrobatic piano playing, the goose bump inducing songs! My dad arrived to pick us up and Elton was still performing but security let him stand at the back, so he also ended up seeing about an hour of the show.”

Other tickets which feature in the collection include a stub for U2’s concert at Elland Road, which saw the band take to the stage in the sweltering heat of a summer evening in 1987, and Bruce Springsteen’s unforgettable performance which officially opened the First Direct Arena in 2013.

Louise Birch, Leeds Libraries senior librarian, has been collating the ticket collection, and hopes they will inspire others to submit their own tickets and share their stories.

She said: “The project came about as I was going through some of my own ticket stubs that I’d collected over the years, and I realised that many venues don’t actually issue physical tickets anymore.

“Leeds has hosted some of the biggest names in music over the years along with a thriving local gig scene and some incredible venues that have become a huge part of the city’s story.

“Every single one of these tickets also represents a unique memory for the person who went to that gig and what we really want is for people to share those memories and experiences and help us build a living, constantly evolving archive of live music in Leeds.”

Music-lovers are being asked to scan or photograph their tickets and submit them to or to add their comments to images on the Leodis website.

Librarians are particularly on the lookout for any tickets to:

  • Roundhay Park Concerts including The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna
  • The Who, Live at Leeds, 14thFebruary 1970 
  • Jimi Hendrix, The Odeon – 5thApril 1967 
  • The Sex Pistols at Leeds Polytechnic - 6thDecember 1976 
  • Nirvana, at The Duchess, 25th October 1989
  • Oasis, at The Duchess, 12th April 1994
  • Tom Jones, at The Brudenell, 31st August, 2021

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “Leeds has a proud and illustrious musical heritage which has seen the city host countless memorable gigs by some renowned performers.

“It’s fantastic that our library service is preserving that legacy so people can relive their experiences and so they can be shared with future generations for many years to come.”

Run by Leeds Libraries, Leodis is an online photographic archive which features more than 68,000 images of Leeds taken over the centuries.

The archive is free to access and can be searched at:


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team