Capital Centre

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Capital Centre
Cap Centre
The Cap
Capital Centre satellite view.png
Former names Capital Centre (1973-93; 1998)
USAir Arena (1993–96)
US Airways Arena (1996-97)
Location 1 Harry S. Truman Drive
Landover, Maryland 20785
Coordinates 38°54′9″N 76°50′49″W / 38.90250°N 76.84694°W / 38.90250; -76.84694Coordinates: 38°54′9″N 76°50′49″W / 38.90250°N 76.84694°W / 38.90250; -76.84694
Broke ground September 1972
Opened December 2, 1973
Closed 1999
Demolished December 15, 2002
Owner Washington Sports & Entertainment (Abe Pollin)
Operator Washington Sports & Entertainment (Abe Pollin)
Surface Multi-surface
Construction cost $18 million[1]
($101 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Shaver Partnership[3]
Structural engineer Geiger-Berger and Associates[3]
General contractor Clark Construction[4]
Capacity Basketball: 18,756
Ice hockey: 18,130
Tenants
Washington Bullets/Wizards (NBA) (1973–1997)
Washington Capitals (NHL) (1974–1997)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1980–1997)
Washington Warthogs (CISL) (1994–1997)
Washington/Maryland Commandos (AFL) (1987–1989)
Washington Wave (MILL) (1987–1989)

The Capital Centre was an indoor arena located in Landover, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Completed in 1973, the arena sat 18,756 for basketball and 18,130 for hockey.

In 1993, the air carrier USAir purchased the naming rights for the building and the arena became known as USAir Arena. After the airline rebranded itself in 1996, the name changed to US Airways Arena. The arena reverted to its original name of Capital Centre after the airline dropped its naming rights and its primary tenants moved to the MCI Center (now named the Verizon Center) in downtown Washington. Most TV and Radio crews broadcasting from the venue referred to it by its nickname "Cap Centre". The venue was demolished in 2002.

As a sports venue[edit]

The arena was the home of the Washington Bullets of the NBA from 1973–97, the Washington Capitals of the NHL from 1974–97 and the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team from 1981–97. The Washington Wizards were known as the Bullets until 1997, and played the first 5 games of the 1997–98 NBA season at the old arena. All three teams departed for the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) just north of The Mall in D.C. when it opened on December 2, 1997. The Capital Centre hosted its first NBA game exactly 24 years earlier on December 2, 1973, with the home team defeating the same visiting team, the Seattle SuperSonics. During November 1973, the Capital Bullets held their home games at nearby Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park.

The arena hosted games of the NBA Finals in 1975 when the Bullets played the Golden State Warriors and again in 1978 and 1979 vs. the Seattle SuperSonics.

The ACC men's basketball tournament was held there in 1976, 1981, and 1987. The 1980 NBA All-Star Game and 1982 NHL All-Star Game were held there, as was the WWF's Survivor Series 1995.

The arena also was home to a few epic NHL Playoff games, including the 1987 Easter Epic.

The Washington/Maryland Commandos of the Arena Football League also called the arena home from 1987 to 1990. The Maryland Arrows, Washington Wave and Washington Power lacrosse teams used the arena, as did The Washington Warthogs professional indoor soccer team.

A boxing World Heavyweight Championship bout took place at the venue on April 30, 1976, with Jimmy Young challenging the champion Muhammad Ali. The fight went the full fifteen rounds and was awarded unanimously to Ali.

Footage of past Washington Bullets games held at the Capital Centre were used in the 1979 comedy film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.

As a concert venue[edit]

The first concert ever held at the Capital Centre was the "Allman Brothers Band" on December 4, 1973. They were backed up by the James Montgomery Blues Band who played from 9 P.M. until Midnight. The Allman Brothers played until 3:30 A.M.

Elvis Presley performed for two shows there on Sunday June 27, 1976 to a total audience of nearly 38,000. Both shows sold out in one day. Ticket prices were $7.50, $10.00 and $12.50. His last concert at the Capital Centre was on May 22, 1977, during his second to last tour, which included 13 other venues. June 26, 1977 in Indianapolis, would be his final concert performance. His only other concert in the Washington D.C. area was on September 27 & 28, 1974 at nearby University of Maryland's Cole Field House, also in Prince George's County.[5]

Complete Unused Grateful Dead Concert Ticket from August 31, 1980

The arena was outfitted with a sophisticated in-house video system, technology not yet common in most 1970s-era arenas. As a result, a number of videos and concert recordings, many of them bootlegged, have been released over the years.

The arena was home to several Toys for Tots concerts in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The last time that Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin sang in concert together was at the arena.

The first two volumes of KISS' retrospective DVD series Kissology included bonus discs of late-1970s shows videotaped at the arena.

Chicago's performance recorded live at Capital Centre, Largo, Maryland, June 24–26, 1975 was released in 2011's Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75. After releasing its eighth consecutive gold album in just six years, Chicago embarked upon a massive stadium tour in 1975 that's considered to be one of its finest.

Concert videos by Van Halen (a popular bootleg recorded on October 12, 1982) and Blue Öyster Cult on December 27, 1976 ("Live 1976" DVD) and on the Some Enchanted Evening Legacy Edition CD) from the arena have also been released.

The Eagles' performance from March 1977 was released in 2013's History of the Eagles.[6]

AC/DC has performed several concerts of their tours in the arena such as: Let There Be Rock Tour (1977), If You Want Blood Tour (1979), Back in Black Tour (1980), For Those About to Rock Tour (1981), Flick of the Switch Tour (1983), Blow Up Your Video World Tour (1988) and The Razors Edge World Tour (1990). The shows of December 20–21, 1981 were filmed and several tracks from these shows are included in their DVD set, Plug Me In.

A recording of The New Barbarians' concert on May 5, 1979, during the band's only concert tour ever, was released as Buried Alive: Live in Maryland.

The Rolling Stones played three sold-out shows at the arena on December 7–9, 1981. Their 1982 live album "Still Life" (American Concert 1981), included three songs taken from the Largo concerts, "Let Me Go" (December 8), "Twenty Flight Rock" and "Going to a Go-Go" (December 9).

The cult video documentary short Heavy Metal Parking Lot was shot by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn on May 31, 1986, in the arena's parking lot, comically documenting thousands of heavy metal fans as they partied before a Judas Priest concert (with special guests Dokken). (The parking lot itself was divided into four sections, with patriotic emblems, to aid patrons in remembering where they parked after an event: Liberty Bell, Capitol, Eagle and Stars and Stripes.)

The Grateful Dead recorded and released three shows performed at the arena; Dick's Picks Volume 20, on September 25, 1976, Terrapin Station (Limited Edition), on March 15, 1990, which took place on bass guitarist Phil Lesh's 50th birthday and Spring 1990, on March 16, 1990, the next night.

The Smashing Pumpkins played their last concert, with late touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, at the arena.

Due to their overwhelming popularity in the African-American sections of Maryland and Washington D.C., Parliament-Funkadelic performed numerous sold out shows at the venue.

The arena also hosted family friendly events, such as the Harlem Globetrotters, Circus America and Ice Capades, as well as numerous graduation ceremonies for high schools in Prince George's County.

Parliament-Funkadelic has performed numerous sold out shows at the venue, mainly during the years 1976 to 1983.

Demolition[edit]

The arena was imploded on December 15, 2002, to make way for The Boulevard at the Capital Centre, a town center-style shopping mall that opened in 2003.

Legacy[edit]

The Capital Centre was the first indoor arena to have a video replay screen on its center-hung scoreboard. The four-sided video screen was known as the "Telscreen" (or "Telescreen") and predated the DiamondVision video screen at Dodger Stadium by seven years. It was also the first arena to be built with luxury boxes and a computerized turnstile system.

The Centre also had one of the NBA's most notorious fans, Robin Ficker, who for twelve seasons sat behind the visiting team's bench and heckled opposing players.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roylance, Frank D. (November 30, 1997). "Capital Centre Blown Away". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b http://www.arcaro.org/tension/album/usair.htm
  4. ^ Clark Construction - Sports (archived)
  5. ^ ELVIS, HIS LIFE FROM A TO Z. Wings Books. 1992. pp. 338–340. ISBN 0-517-06634-3. 
  6. ^ "History Of The Eagles". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first venue
Home of the
Washington Capitals

1974–1997
Succeeded by
Verizon Center
Preceded by
The Forum
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

1982
Succeeded by
Nassau Coliseum