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Top Concert Venues

 The majority of  the "traditional" concert venues of the early Rock n' Roll era have been resigned to the pages of history, but some have survived, and others like the Fillmore East are being revived and revamped. The vast number of concert goers today would put a serious strain on the limitations of the older venues, and as a consequence, many concerts today are being performed at sports/multi purpose arenas. The following list is of the more notable venues, with the somewhat reluctant addition of the "multi-purpose" theaters,  as I feel that, while they are becoming the main arena for the majority of concerts today due to seating capacity, they are somewhat lacking in the acoustics, and ambience of the true concert halls. The list is a balance between sight and sound, ambience and acoustics.

 

Red Rocks

 Red Rocks Amphitheater is a rock structure in Red Rocks Park near Morrison, Colorado (west of Denver), where concerts are given in the open-air amphitheater. There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock angled outwards from stage right, several large boulders angled outwards from stage left and a seating area for up to 9,450 people in the middle. The amphitheater is owned and operated by the City and County of Denver, Colorado. Performances have been held at Red Rocks for over 100 years. Believed to have been used by the Ute tribe in earlier times, the earliest documented performance at the amphitheater was the Grand Opening of the Garden of the Titans, put on by famed editor John Brisben Walker on May 31, 1906.
 Red Rocks Park is a mountain park in Jefferson County, Colorado, owned and maintained by the city of Denver as part of the Denver Mountain Parks system. The park is known for its very large red sandstone boulders. Many of these formations within the park have names, from the mushroom-shaped Seat of Pluto to the inclined Cave of the Seven Ladders. The most visited rocks, around the amphitheater, are Creation Rock to the north, Ship Rock to the south, and Stage Rock to the east. The rocks were formed about 290-296 million years ago when the primeval Rocky Mountains were eroded away. Address; Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater , 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO 80465

Royal Albert Hall

 The Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings, recognizable the world over. Since its opening the world's leading artists from every kind of performance genre have appeared on its stage. Each year it hosts more than 350 performances including classical concerts, rock and pop, ballet and opera, tennis, award ceremonies, school and community events, charity performances and lavish banquets. Opened by Queen Victoria on 29 March 1871 the Royal Albert Hall has played host to a multitude of different events and legendary figures and has been affectionately titled "The Nation's Village Hall". The first concert at the Hall was Arthur Sullivan's cantata, On Shore and Sea, which was performed on 1 May 1871. Address; Kensington Gore, Kensington, London, SW7.

 

The Fillmore

The Fillmore West, (or Fillmore Auditorium), is a historic music venue in San Francisco, California, made famous by Bill Graham was named for its original location at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard. In 1968, Graham moved his concerts to a different venue at Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue (formerly The Carousel Ballroom and El Patio) which he renamed Fillmore West; the original Fillmore Auditorium continued under the name The Elite Club. Graham began presenting concerts at the original Fillmore Auditorium again in the 1980s, but it was closed due to earthquake damage in October 1989. After much structural work, in 1994 the original Geary Boulevard location re-opened as The Fillmore. The Fillmore Auditoriums, both east and west, became the focal point for psychedelic music and the counterculture rock movement, featuring virtually every big music act of the era.
 The Fillmore East was Bill Graham's late 1960s – early 1970s rock palace in the East Village area of New York City. Located on Second Avenue at Sixth Street, this venue provided Graham with an East Coast counterpart to his existing Fillmore West establishment in San Francisco. Opening on March 8, 1968, the Fillmore East quickly became known as "The Church of Rock and Roll," with two-show concerts several nights a week. Known as the Village Theater for most of its previous existence, the venue had been a mainstay of the Yiddish theatre circuit; it had also been a cinema and had fallen into disrepair before Graham's acquisition. Despite the deceptively small marquee and facade, the theater had a capacity of 2,700 seats. Address; West- 1805 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94115. East - Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, N.Y. NY, 10003.

 

Madison Square Garden

 Madison Square Garden, The World's Most Famous Arena, is located in Manhattan on Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, , often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, has been the name of four incarnations of the arena. The first two were located at the northeast corner of Madison Square (Madison Avenue and 26th Street) from which the arena takes its name. The third arena was the 17,000-seat Garden (opened December 15, 1925) and was built at 50th Street and 8th Avenue, the current Garden (opened February 14, 1968) is at 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.
 Today's Madison Square Garden is more than just the arena. Other venues at the Garden include: The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, which seats between 2,000 and 5,600 for concerts and it also occasionally hosts major boxing matches on nights when the main arena is unavailable. No seat is more than 177 feet (54 m) from the 30-foot (9.1 m)-by-64-foot stage. The 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) Expo Center (formerly known as "The Rotunda") is used for trade shows. A 9,500-square-foot (880 m2) terrace and two restaurants: the Garden Club and the Play-by-Play. Address; Four Pennsylvania Plaza, (7th Avenue between W 31st St and W 33rd St), New York, NY 10001.

 

The Hollywood Bowl

 The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States. Seating nearly 18,000 patrons, the venue has had four shells since its beginnings in 1922; the new shell becomes the venue's fifth. In 1922, the Bowl's first stage was constructed and consisted of a simple wooden platform with a canvas top. Patrons sat on moveable benches. In 1926, a cooperative society of 33 local Los Angeles architects, known as Allied Architects, built the Bowl's first arched proscenium. The curved wooden frame consisted of two different shapes: a low elliptical arch in the background with a circular arch inside, framing the musicians. The acoustic problems found in the design caused the shell to be torn down at the end of the season. Lloyd Wright, the eldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed two shells for the Hollywood Bowl. He was commissioned to design a shell for the 1927 symphony season after having designed several sets for theatrical productions at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1928, Lloyd Wright's second commission included the specific instruction that he was to design a circular music shell. Again, the architect tackled the dual issues of acoustics and aesthetics. The 1928 shell consisted of nine concentric, segmental arches, which could be "tuned" panel by panel.
 Numerous attempts to improve the 1929 shell's acoustics were undertaken over the years. In 1970, architect Frank Gehry and acoustician Christopher Jaffe devised an inexpensive, temporary solution by creating "sonotubes," manufactured cardboard forms that looked like concrete columns. Their arrangement of tubes inside the shell and extending along the outer wings enhanced the sound but altered the look of the shell, disguising the Bowl's famous curved shape. The sonotubes remained in place until 1980. In 1980, the sonotubes were removed and Gehry designed hollow fiberglass spheres which were hung within the Bowl shell in a carefully-calculated arrangement. While helpful, the spheres did not solve acoustical issues that continued to be problematic for the venue. Currently a new project is being undertaken that maintains the aesthetics of the original design and corrects the acoustical flaws. Address; Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90068.

 

Air Canada Centre

Air Canada Centre is built on the site of the Canada Post Delivery Building and still retains the east and south walls, setting the context for this 665,000 square foot facility. A conservation program was implemented during construction of the original building facade. Stonework, bas-relief plans, and historic window profiles were restored. The roof is 40 feet above the existing facades, and has a profile designed to be flat, giving the appearance of a hangar. This allows for better acoustics inside and a prominent city presence outside without blocking the view of other landmark buildings. Air Canada Centre is one of only two sports arenas in Canada to house a Rickards Brewhouse. Rickard's Red, Gold and Pale are brewed on site and served right here in Air Canada Centre.
 Over its ten-year history, Air Canada Centre has been recognized with more than 25 industry awards and as of February 2009, it has hosted over 26.8 million fans at close to 2000 events including Leafs, Raptors and Rock games, as well as concerts and live events. The center's capacity for concerts is 19,800 seats, and being primarily designed for sporting events, doesn't have the acoustic characteristics of a venue created specifically for music events. Air Canada Centre host the majority of the "large" rock shows, primarily because of it's capacity, whereas a more acoustically favorable location like Massey Hall in Toronto has a limited seating of 2,630.
Address; Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay Street, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2X2. Massey Hall is located at 178 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5J 2H5.

 

Tokyo Dome

The Tokyo Dome is a 55,000-seat stadium located in Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo, Japan, and is part of a greater entertainment complex known as Tokyo Dome City. The Dome is the largest concert facility in Japan, hosting an impressive number of famous concerts, if you tour Japan, you play here. The Tokyo Dome is an air-supported dome. Air is constantly blown into the dome by a pressure fan, keeping the air pressure inside the dome some 0.3% higher than that outside, thus holding up its covering membrane. This pressure difference is equivalent to that between the 1st and 9th floor of a building and is hardly detectable by the human body. In order to minimize the loss of air from inside the dome, revolving doors are used for all exits and entrances. Address; 1-3-61 koraku,Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8562.

 

 

Woodstock

 While Woodstock was a "one time" concert venue, it was an event of such historical significance, that has never been, or will likely be, repeated. I feel the list would not be complete without adding the "Aquarian Exposition" from "The Summer of '69", in Bethel, New York - August 15, 16, & 17 - 1969.

 Woodstock. Definitely the greatest concert event of all time. The Aquarian Exposition as it was originally billed, was held at a 600 acre dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur in the rural town of Bethel, New York from August 15 to August 18, 1969. Bethel, New York, (actually 40 plus miles southwest of Woodstock). Thirty-two of the best-known musical acts of the time appeared in front of nearly half a million concert goers.
  The performers at Woodstock were of very diverse styles; Richie Havens - Tim Hardin - Melanie - Arlo Guthrie - Joan Baez - John Sebastian - Country Joe Mcdonald - Santana - Canned Heat - Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band - Grateful Dead - Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Who - Jefferson Airplane - The Grease Band - Joe Cocker - Ten Years After - The Band - Blood, Sweat & Tears - Johnny Winter - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Jimi Hendrix - Sha-Na-Na - Ten Years After, and other lesser know acts.
 Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture, "Woodstock Ventures". It became a "free concert" only after it became obvious that the event was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Around 186,000 tickets were sold beforehand and the organizers anticipated that approximately 200,000 festival-goers would turn out. The fence was purposely cut in order to create a totally free event, prompting many more to show up. Tickets for the event cost $18 in advance and $24 at the gate for all three days. The shear number of concert goers to the rural concert site in Bethel created a massive traffic jam and closed the New York State Thruway. The facilities were ill equipped to provide sanitation or first aid for the number of people, and hundreds of thousands in attendance struggled against bad weather, food shortages, and poor sanitation, but with the unerring sense of camaraderie that was prevalent in the era these hardships were overcome. Unfortunately, somewhere in the '70s, this sense of belonging to a greater whole became diluted, and soon disappeared altogether.

 

 

  The Lists :
Unusual Musical Instruments | Worst Recording Artists | Best Concerts | Novelty Songs | Modern Day Minstrel
One Hit Wonders | Best Selling Albums | Best Electric Guitars
| Top Lyricists | Music Magz | Top Venues

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