Monday, August 3, 2009

Hollywood Sportatorium - Rush and Yes 1988

How many venues have featured Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin in its history? A small arena in Hollywood, Florida did exactly that. The Hollywood Sportatorium was a major events facility for Southeastern Florida in the 1970's and 1980's, and at the time was the only venue of its kind in Broward County. Built in 1969 and opened in September of 1970, it had a concert capacity of 15,500 seats. It was located at 16661 W. Hollywood Blvd. (later renamed Pines Boulevard) in what was then Unincorporated Broward County. It was built adjacent to the Miami-Hollywood Motorsports Park, built just four years earlier. At the time, Pines Blvd was a small two lane road.

In addition to Elvis and Led Zeppelin, the Hollywood Sportatorium was host to Van Halen, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, U2, Rush, Yes and Aerosmith just to name a few great bands and artists. After living in Florida for a very short time, I did get to experience a concert at the Hollywood Sportatorium in 1988. I saw Aerosmith on April 17th, 1988 on their "Permanent Vacation" tour with some friends. It was a fantastic concert! Unfortunately the newly built Miami Arena at the time took away all the business from the Hollywood Sportatorium and it was forced to close in October 1988. It was later torn down in 1993.

The Hollywood Sportatoriium was not only known for great rock concerts in the 1970's and 1980's, but also for Star Trek conventions. The acoustics were notorious for being poor and the building was basically cement and metal; nothing sexy about it at all. Billy Joel at one of his concerts, dealt with echoing sounds by yelling, “This place sucks!”. It is the memories and the experiences that were created along with the great bands who played there is why we want to remember the Hollywood Sportatorium. - Kenny Leibow

Sources: http://www.classics-rock-concerts.com

Below are audience recordings from the Hollywood Sportatorium, Hollywood, Florida of "Yes" and "Rush" concerts. By watching these videos, you can get a sense of the experience from inside the Hollywood Sportatorium. Listen to the crowd go wild when Rush starts to play "Tom Sawyer".

Audience recording of "Yes" from the Hollywood Sportatorium, Hollywood, Florida, Sunday, January 24, 1988.

Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart



Yes - And You and I



Yes - Love Will Find A Way




"Rush" playing at the The Sportatorium in Hollywood, Florida, USA, on February 13, 1988, as part of the Hold Your Fire tour.


Rush - YYZ / The Rhythm Method / Red Lenses 2-13-1988



Rush - Closer To The Heart 2-13-1988



Rush - Limelight 2-13-1988



Rush - Tom Sawyer 2-13-1988

6 comments:

Marcus Morgan said...

Growing up as a teenager in the 80's,I spent many,many nights at the Sporto...great memories...I wish I could find more pix on the web...I have been trying to find video for years also...especially of the parking lot scene...I know some exists somewhere...it's cool this Yes and Rush footage appeared...here is hoping for more...

Rachel said...

Hey guys funny I went to both of those shows-did you shoot those vids yourselves?? Video cams were giant back then we had a Sharp hell the battrey weighed a pound!

thx this a great sight!

Kaptk said...

I have great memories of the Hollywood Sportatorium. Back in the 1980s I didn't have much money to buy things like a video camera. I am glad I was lucky enough to find someone who did drag in their video equipment and record these legendary performances. - Kenny Leibow

Danny said...

Worked there FULL TIME ie: on a 40 hour regular schedule and OT for concerts from 1974 ( yes it waqs being rebuilt at that time) until 1985. Had all stage access and backstage all access. Saw and met EVERYONE !! Shook hands with Elvis in 77. Got my head split open from a rock when Neil Peart showed up late one night for a Rush show!! It was the best times of my life without a doubt.

Tim Cotter said...

I was just looking at my collection of concert tickets and it looks like I went to 28 concerts at the "Hollywood Sportatorium". My first concert there was AC/DC in January of 1982 and my last concert there was Judas Priest in September of 1988. It was a great place to party and feel free to enjoy the concert, and it's social surrounding. Beer at that time was inexpensive and the sportatorium was a place most everyone smoked pot without feeling restrained. The roof leaked at times and the acoustics were not great but the atmosphere of the Hollywood Sportatorium has never been duplicated by any of the concert venues I have been to; and I have been to nearly 100 concerts in my lifetime. I still wish someone would have taken me to see Led Zeppelin there in 1971 when I was 5 years old, and to see Elvis Presley there in 1977; 6 months before he died.

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