Music News & Reviews

Shoreline Amphitheatre draws some of entertainment’s biggest names

The Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, which has a seating capacity of 22,500, hosted 39 Grateful Dead concerts.
The Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, which has a seating capacity of 22,500, hosted 39 Grateful Dead concerts. Live Nation

Fans across music genres can find something to get excited about at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheater, an outdoor venue that draws big names for its concerts.

Since it opened in 1986, the venue has hosted Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Elton John, among others. Shoreline offers everything from rock to country to comedy and attracts nearly half a million audience members each year, according to Live Nation vice president Aaron Siuda.

Siuda said Shoreline typically hosts 35 to 40 shows each year, including major annual events hosted by radio stations such as LIVE 105’s June BFD concert and KFOX’s Summer Send Off. Traveling music festivals Lollapalooza and Vans Warped Tour have also graced Shoreline’s stage.

Concert promoter Bill Graham, who worked with the city of Mountain View to build the venue, designed Shoreline to mimic the Grateful Dead’s iconic “Steal Your Face” skull logo from a birds-eye view. The Grateful Dead performed 39 concerts at Shoreline, Siuda said.

Michael Bernal, the amphitheater’s general manager, said that even though with the venue is big, with a capacity of 22,500, “anywhere you’re at, there’s a great seat in the house.” Accommodations include 6,500 reserved seats and room for 16,000 on the lawn, and Bernal said the Bay Area weather is one of the venue’s big attractions.

Five things to know

There are food trucks – Bernal said three to four food trucks are on-site for nearly every show. While the options vary by event, Judie’s Tacos Locos is almost always present. The venue’s barbeque stand also is popular, Bernal said, and the surrounding area boasts a number of restaurants, including Italian, American, Korean and Vietnamese.

You can bring your own water, food and gear for lawn-lounging – Shoreline allows patrons to bring backpacks, including food in plastic baggies and sealed or empty beverage containers up to one gallon. If you’re planning to watch from the grass, don’t forget picnic blankets or lawn chairs – but make sure the chair’s bottom doesn’t rise more than nine inches above the ground.

The well-known annual Bridge Concert is on hiatus – The long-standing benefit concert – a fundraiser for the Bridge School, which serves physically disabled children – attracted some of Shoreline’s most famous performers over its 30-year run. But musician organizers Neil and Pegi Young surprised fans this summer when they announced that “for personal reasons” they would not continue the tradition in 2017. Bernal said Shoreline hopes to bring the event back next year. Visitors can still take a look back at past Bridge Concerts and their famed lineups at a special tribute area at the amphitheater.

The amphitheater has seen its share of drama – According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the venue’s first season was disrupted by fires caused by methane leaks from the landfill on which it was built. Later, in 1996, a 10-hour manhunt for the perpetrators behind an armed robbery brought police and eight SWAT teams to the amphitheater. A 2009 concert left six people with stab wounds during brawls.

There’s plenty to do nearby – The amphitheater is named for its close proximity to the San Francisco Bay: Running along the coast is the San Francisco Bay Trail, a 500-mile walking and cycling path that passes through 47 cities. Shoreline also is near Shoreline Golf Links and a boathouse offering kayaking, sailing and more on Shoreline Lake. And downtown Mountain View and Palo Alto are just a short drive away.

Shoreline Amphitheatre at a glance


  • Muse with special guests Thirty Seconds to Mars, Friday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: The English rock band has won two Best Rock Album Grammys for “The Resistance” and “Drones.”
  • Jason Aldean, Saturday, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.: The country music singer’s top hits include “Dirt Road Anthem” and “Burnin’ It Down.”
  • Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.: The American rock band known for hit songs “Radioactive,” “Believer” and “Demons” released its third studio album, “Evolve,” this year.