The Corn Exchange celebrated its 25th anniversary since its reopening in 1986 with a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gala performance.
Pop, Rock, Classical Music, Dance, Comedy and more: The stellar list of Corn Exchange performers. Over the years the Corn Exchange has brought some of the biggest, most exciting, popular and inspiring names in music, comedy and dance to Cambridge.
A pre-stardom (and Ziggy Stardust-dom) David Bowie appeared with his band The Buzz in 1966, followed three years later in March 1969 by The Who. Queen spread some of their glam sparkle over the venue in 1974, while the following year saw the distinctly more prosaic pub-rock of Dr Feelgood. Take That – first time around – made fans swoon in November 1992, contrasting with Britpop stars Oasis, who played in 1994. Acclaimed company Theatre de Complicité brought their production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle to delight theatre goers in 1997, while Eddie Izzard’s surrealistic stand-up arrived the same year. In the audience for Eddie’s show was Jimmy Carr – then a student in the city – at his first ever comedy show. This was to go on to inspire him in his own career, and he has now appeared at the Corn Exchange 25 times himself!
Dance fans have been well served by the venue too. The Royal Ballet performed in December 1997, with Darcey Bussell appearing two years later in Dance Bites. The late 90s also saw an appearance from quirky Icelandic superstar Bjork (1998), one of the last appearances by Ian Dury of Blockheads fame, in 1999 just a year before his death, and a wonderful performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in April. 1999. They returned in March of the following year, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
The 21st century saw appearances from old musical legends like Van Morrison, Chuck Berry and John Martyn, as well as young upstarts like Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse. More of the biggest names in comedy continued to play Cambridge, with both Lenny Henry and Russell Brand starring in 2007. Bands that were booked for the following year included The Manic Street Preachers, Elbow and Primal Scream, while pop fans were well-served by the likes of Sugababes. The venue had quite a coup in 2010, when Radiohead’s Thom Yorke chose the Corn Exchange for a one-off solo show, to raise money for the Green party.