Mention the Philadelphia Spectrum, and there is a good chance it will trigger an endless list of hard-to-forget moments. The building that was known as “America’s Showplace” came crumbling down in 2010, but for more than four decades, this venue hosted it all. The Philadelphia Flyers called it home during the 1974 and ’75 seasons — the Stanley Cup championship years. The Sixers enjoyed a crowning moment, too, back in ’83 with the likes of NBA greats Julius Erving and Moses Malone leading the charge.
But this building, which opened on Oct. 19, 1967, is filled with so much history that there should be a special edition of Trivial Pursuit. When Elvis left the Spectrum on May 28, 1977, it would end up being his last live performance. Four years later, Bruce Springsteen headlined eight soldout shows there. The Boss would end up making 40-plus appearances at the Spectrum over the course of his career. In terms of the most number of appearances, the distinction belongs to The Grateful Dead with 53. But the Spectrum was really a place where fans would be entertained by a who’s who list of musical acts. We are talking Billy Joel, Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Who, and this is just a small sampling. Pearl Jam ended up being the final act in the fall of 2009.
But a conversation about the Spectrum would not be complete without mentioning the visionary behind it all — the late Ed Snider, who was the chairman of Comcast-Spectacor. While all that remains is a parking lot for patrons of Xfinity Live! or the Wells Fargo Center, the memories will last a lifetime.
Remember When …
Remember When is a new feature that will be appearing regularly in the South Philly Review. We welcome readers to share stories and photos of old venues, events or games. E-mail editor Bill Gelman, email@example.com.