You could call it a bad omen that the roof blew off the five-month-old Spectrum during the Ice Capades in 1968, but I think the arena was just asserting itself. I mean, the frickin’ Ice Capades? To paraphrase Jurassic Park: The Spectrum doesn’t want to be fed — it wants to hunt. Sure, it could handle circuses and soft stuff like that, but it was built for the hard-checking Flyers and hard-dunking Sixers. It was the city’s main arena during the heyday of big, ballsy arena rock. It was the loudest place in town.
My first in-person/non-Prism Spectrum memory is my dad taking me to see the Flyers versus the Russian Red Army in 1990. It wasn’t quite as tense as the infamous bloodbath of ’76, but the walls shook with chants of U-S-A and hilarious obscenities. American flags waved. Scuffles broke out in the seats. Fights broke out on the ice. Yeah, the Flyers lost, and Hexy didn’t play, and we had obstructed seats way up in the nosebleeds. But the atmosphere was intense, insane, awesome.
Last week, the bloodthirsty and suddenly venerable old coliseum said goodbye with a series of epic concerts. Next year they’re gonna blow it up. Below are links to our lists of the Spectrum’s top moments in sports (by me) and music (by A.D. Amorosi who, legend has it, simply materialized from the ether during a Bowie show). Weigh in with your own at citypaper.net/spectrum.