Rooftop Concert

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
It's Been Done.
George Harrison, on watching the Be Sharps' final performance

A band holds a free performance live from a rooftop in an urban area, often with a large crowd forming on the streets below and police seeking to shut the performance down.

The Trope Codifier, of course, is The Beatles' final live performance together on the rooftop of their Apple Corps building in London, which came to an end when police asked them to turn the sound down. Often seen imitated for a Shout-Out or Homage.

Examples of Rooftop Concert include:


  • The story of The Rutles, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, which serves as a parody of The Beatles, includes such a concert in which they are shown performing their song called "Get Up And Go," an imitation of The Beatles song "Get Back."
    • The band (minus Eric Idle) also held a rooftop concert in the mid-1990's to celebrate the release of their "greatest hits" album Archaeology, which coincided with the release of The Beatles Anthology.
  • The end of Empire Records features Coyote Shivers playing a concert on the roof of the record store, giving Gina the chance to fulfill her dream of performing with a band.
  • Across the Universe ends with one of these after all of the characters (minus Lucy) reunite.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You ends with the camera moving from Kate and Patrick's kiss to the band Letters to Cleo playing on top of Padua High School.

Live Action TV

  • Andre on Victorious sings a song on the roof of his school to get a deal with a record company.
  • On The Late Show with David Letterman a few bands have performed on top of the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre (where The Late Show is taped), including Paul McCartney and Phish (in what was their final TV performance before their 2004 split). Also Eminem and Jay Z performed on the roof proper.
  • Whenever MTV's annual Video Music Awards are held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, it's very common to see a band perform on top of the venue's marquee during the red carpet pre-show.
  • Ben Stiller parodied the U2 music video for "Where The Streets Have No Name" in one of his many segments as Bono on The Ben Stiller Show. Bono interprets an ordinary guy asking him to turn him sound down as someone trying to "shut him down" as nobody on the street below pays any attention to him singing from a building roof.

Music Video

  • U2's video for "Where The Streets Have No Name" sees the band draw a large crowd on the streets of Los Angeles while performing live on a rooftop. Meanwhile, the LAPD aims to shut them down. They do, but once they leave, they plug the power generators back in and continue playing.
  • Alien Ant Farm does something similar in their music video "These Days".

Video Games

Web Original

  • The New York City-based performance art group Improv Everywhere once had a cover band pretend to be U2 and play some of the band's songs on top of a Manhattan rooftop... until the NYPD shut them down.

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons saw Homer's barbershop quartet, The Be Sharps, reunite on the roof of Moe's Tavern for a performance. George Harrison, when passing by, comments "It's Been Done." Meanwhile, Chief Wiggum, the band's Pete Best, arranges for them to be tear gassed.

Real Life

  • Several Beatles cover bands are reported as having played on rooftops on January 30, 2009—the fortieth anniversary of The Beatles' own rooftop concert. In Seattle, local cover band Creme Tangerine has made it an annual tradition.
  • The Protomen once held a rooftop concert, much to the dismay of the band's drummer Demon Barber, who was terrified of heights.
  • Jefferson Airplane held a brief rooftop concert in New York about seven weeks before The Beatles did their more famous concert.
  • Pitchfork Media occasionally holds a series of performances for their website that they've dubbed "Don't Look Down", which features an artist or band performing on the roof of a Chicago building. Bands they've previously had perform include The Thermals, The Hold Steady and Yo La Tengo