Friday, November 03, 2006

Memory Lane

I was reflecting on Marc's post at Uncommon Sense about Van Halen vis-a-vis the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and I began to feel a little nostalgic. I was thinking about the venue where I saw Van Halen perform twice, The Hollywood Sportatorium. Some dubbed the venue 'The Hollyweed Snortatorium" because of all of the drugs that must have been consumed there during the 70's and 80's.

The Sportatorium was located on Hollywood Blvd. in western Broward County. That was considered the boondocks for someone coming from SW Miami-Dade County, like me. I was probably 13 or 14 years old when I attended my first concert at the venue. For me it was a new experience, going to a rock concert with my older sister and her friends. Beer, cigarettes, Rock music: we were being rebellious teenagers.

From a practical standpoint going to see a band at the Sportatorium sucked. There was one two-lane highway in and out. The Sportatorium itself was on the other side of a canal from the highway which meant you had to enter the parking lot (a weed and gravel covered field) by going over one of the two or three bridges that allowed access. The problem was when everyone was trying to get out you'd have a tremendous bottleneck and you could easily sit in your car for a couple of hours. A Sportatorium veteran would never park in the lot but instead on the edge of the highway even if you had to walk a couple of miles. You'd save time on your way out.

Anyway my memories of the Sportatorium are good ones. It's kind of sad to look at this picture of the rinky dink auditorium taken on a cloudy day because on concert night it was a place where you expected and often were treated to musical magic.

8 comments:

The Universal Spectator said...

SrCohiba must remember the gig played there in 1984 or 5 with American Excess, the prize in a Battle of the Bands contest they won. I also saw Rush, featuring the super-human Neal Peart, and Sting's jazz band after he left he Police, featuring the also super-human Omar Hakkim. Nice memories...

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

George,

I went to that Sting show too, that was in support of the Dream of the Blue Turtles LP.

I had the pleasure of seeing the police in their last tour in 1983. The played at the Orange Bowl and The Animals and The Fixx opened up for them.

Val Prieto said...

I too saw Rush there and Van halen, among a few others. I didnt drink or smoke back then, but man, the air was always heavy with many aromas. You always left there a little lighter on your feet.

And Henry, i was at that Sincronicity tour at the OB. One of the best concert experiences Ive enjoyed. first the animals came ourt and rocked, then the Fixx rocked even more - hard to believe even that the Police would surpass the fixx show, but they did.

Nowadays most concerts are up in Palm beach - a nice venue - but still a drag to drive up to especially if youre going to have a few beers during the show. the Mrs and i just rent a room locally and stay the night when we go take ina concert.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Val,

I think we are going to see a lot more concerts a lot closer now that the Seminole Hard Rock's arena is open. It's a nice venue and not too far away. I'm going to see Def Leppard/Journey there on Tuesday.

Robert said...

I never had the pleasure of attending a concert at the Sportatorium, but it was THE place for concerts back in the day.

I was too reclusive as a teen. Instead, I stayed in my room secretly listening to LPs and cassettes from all the aforementioned bands.

Uncommon Sense said...

Def Leppard AND Journey? How can you stand it?
Saw Def Leppard on TV recently, and man, they are old! They do have some good tunes, however, (Of course, one of the last big shows I saw was the Rolling Stones in 2003 in Reliant Stadium in Houston, so I am not one to talk.)

As for Journey, the only way I want it is no way at all.

The Universal Spectator said...

I saw The Police at the bowl too. And, of course, The Boss.

Srcohiba said...

I saw everyone there. I saw Rush 3 times including one time where I got tear gassed. I've seen Clapton, B. Joel 3 times there, Doobies, Boston, REO, Journey 3 times; Sting, Halen 2 times; Billy Idol, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Yes, Styx, Kansas, Police (ghost in the machine tour I believe); Aerosmith, and so many others...too many to recall...

And George is right, I played there in the summer of 1985 as opening act for Rick Springfield.