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Sam Houston Coliseum At 801 Bagby St.


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from reading some of the posts, i think some people may not be clear on this:

the City Auditorium was a separate facility from the Coliseum/Music Hall. The City Auditorium was demolished in 1963 to make way for Jones Hall.

And its {City Auditorium} cornerstone is currently laid in the outside fore court of the Jones Hall of performing arts.

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I also saw the Beatles play at the Coliseum when I was about 8. It was an afternoon show. Never forget it. Cannibal and the Headhungers ("Land of 1,000 Dances") were one of the opening acts.

Now that is just so cool. I can hear that specific song in my head. (wanna dance now) :D

I vaguely recall tagging along with big sis at a Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey show. They would sell those little twirly birds sticks. Some had a little teddy bear or bird at the tip and when kids would whip around they would whistle. I must have been about 5-6 and really remember the neat carnival outside with the glaring neon lights, music and crowds. The ferris wheel was the highlight.

We kids were oblivious of how famous The Beatles were at the time.

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"...When I was 16 and 17 years old and a student at Robert E. Lee Sr. High I used to work as an usher at tons of rock concerts at the Coliseum and Music Hall. All you had to do was show up about an hour before the concert started wearing slacks, dress shirt, and a tie. You did not get paid. This was back in '74 and '75...."

I did the same thing in the early and mid sixties, when I was a student at San Jacinto College. A lady named Ruth Fredrickson, who worked for the Music Hall, I think, had the job of lining up ushers for all the shows and concerts. She put the word out to local colleges and high schools that students who would work as unpaid ushers could get in to see the shows for free. All you had to do was dress respectably and show up.

I ushered at a couple of dozen shows of all kinds between 1964 and 66. It was SO easy. Just escort people to their seats, and take your pick of the empty seats when you were done.

Most of the time, there would always be a bunch of empty box seats, and it was great to enjoy groups like the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and others from the high price boxes.

Edited by FilioScotia
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I've got a Beatles in Houston CD made in Germany. Not much to the actual CD, but the show was sponsored by KILT 610 AM radio and the emcee was Russ "Wierd Beard" Knight. I was not there but somehow wound up with a couple of ticket stubs. I believe the admission was $5.00.

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My two cents. Saw the Beatles at the Coliseum in 1965, the matinee of course, as I was only 12 at the time. Then later in the '60s, saw Nureyev at the Music Hall. Powerfull, but I think he couldn't figure out how he ended up in Texas. Neither could the Beatles.

Edited by missmsry
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  • 3 weeks later...

Houston was my home from birth (1963) until 1998, when I moved to Colorado. I saw the following shows at the Music Hall:

Peter Gabriel 1982

Phil Collns 1983

B-52's w/The Judys 1981/82

Basia w/Ottmar Liebert 1989 or '90

Van Halen 1979

Peter Gabriel was touring to support his 4th album entitled "Security", and was simply mesmerizing. I've seen over 100 concerts in my life and to this day Peter Gabriel '82 remains in my top five concerts of all time. Without rambling too much, here's what I remember: i believe there were two main aisles separating three sections: Left, Center, Right. I sat a few seats to the left of the aisle in the Left section. After the house lights went down, beating drums could be heard coming from behind outside in the concessions lobby area. Peter Gabriel and the band members began walking single file down the left aisle, each member carrying various drumsets strapped to their bodies. They finally go to the stage and took their positions with their instruments and Peter Gabriel climbed up a ladder to a platform 10-15 feet above the drumset and began primally wailing the beginning of "Rhythm of the Heat". Talk about goose bump material! Peter's face was painted like it is on the album cover of Plays Live, which was recorded during this '82-'83 tour. I have tried unsuccessful to get any video footage from this tour, and would love to get my hands on some. The bands' black and gray costumes along with Peter's makeup made this a very unique show...also Peter was one of the first performers to use the headset microphone system during this show, which also added a very different and unique sound to the vocals. In retrospect, it could've sounded better with better technology. Later in the show during "Lay Your Hands On Me" PG walked out into the audience, using the armrests as steps, while he beckoned the crowd to "Lay Your Hands On Me". More goosebumps. "San Jacinto" was also a highlight, when Peter uses a simple spotlight for dramatic effect while he stood upon a chair and pulling his face in and out of the light and shadows.

A great night, except after the show, i got pulled over on Louisiana St. near Brennan's Restaurant for driving all the way from the Music Hall without turning on my headlights!.

I had always heard that the Music Hall had the best acoustics of any concert venue in Houston. I've also seen a bunch of good shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum, but I'll list those in a different post.

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I saw the following shows at SH Coliseum:

Rush '81 (Moving Pictures Tour)

Jethro Tull w/Whitesnake '80 or '81

The Kinks '81

Van Halen '80

Van Halen '81

Jouney w/AC/DC '79

DEVO '81

It was delapidated and falling apart inside. Ceiling tiles in the corridors were literally hanging and peeling away from the ceiling. Journey and AC/DC were amazing. I can say that I saw AC/DC with Bon Scott...some people think that's pretty "cool". Rush for Moving Pictures was also memorable.

Anybody remember the Guardian Angels that would hang around after the shows to help keep the peace among the concert riff raff?

It was comforting to have them around ready to knock some skulls to protect the crowd.

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Let me reassure you that there was no "neat stuff" lost when the City Auditorium was demolished. It was simply a cavernous, all-purpose hall with plain plaster walls and proscenium. The main floor was flat, and seating down there consisted of folding wooden chairs that would occasionally collapse during a performance. A few steps up from the main floor was the "dress circle" which had upholstered seats with broken springs. Above this were the first and second balconies, which were reached by spiral ramps instead of stairs. As a kid, I loved running up and down those things at intermission!

The stage was large and had only basic overhead lighting. Acoustics were terrible, and the sound system was probably pre-WWII. There was no orchestra pit. The street-level lobby always smelled after stale beer.

It also had a rat problem. I need to post something about that, actually.

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I have never cared for Cynthia Woods. Houston is not the place for outdoor venues except maybe 2 or 3 months out of the year. Hell our sports teams even play under a roof the majority of the time.

I've seen some great shows at CM Woods Pavillion, and I think it's a fine venue. Before they added seats and moved the lawn back though. Now the lawn seats aren't nearly as good. I saw the following shows there:

Robert Plant '93 or '94

Elton John & Ray Cooper '93

David Bowie '90

Depeche Mode '91

Rush '97

Bonnie Raitt '93

R.E.M. w/Radiohead '95 (2 shows)

The Cure '92

Steely Dan '95

Sting '93

Sting '96

B-52's w/Ziggy Marley

Styx '96

Yes '91

Since moving to Colorado in '98, I've seen a few shows at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, which is an outdoor venue like CMW. Woodlands Pavillion is a superior venue with a much better atmosphere. I love walking through the woods from the "Green" parking lot.

Very nice.

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It also had a rat problem. I need to post something about that, actually.

The City Auditorium wasn't all bad. In fact, I have some very good memories of it.

In the mid 50s, I was there every Wednesday for rehearsals of the Houston Youth Symphony Boy's Choir. We rehearsed in the 2nd floor lobby behind the balcony seats. It was a large cavernous space with incredible acoustics.

The Houston Youth Symphony Orchestra also rehearsed there the same day right after the choir, and they were arriving as we singers were leaving. Naturally some friendships --and some lustful pursuits -- developed. Hotblooded 13 year old that I was, I was definitely interested in some of the nubile young orchestra members, especially one particular hot looking cello player.

She was also interested, so we would sneak off to some of the City Auditorium's many dark corners for some adolescent making out. Nothing more than some passionate necking and groping, regrettably, but it's where I got my first serious kiss. She was the teacher, and to this day, more than 50 years later, I can remember how those kisses tasted. Sadly, I can't remember her name.

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • 11 years later...

Reviving an old thread because such good memories! Here's a good resource for TX music venues, including these:




It's obviously not a complete list since I saw bands at the very end of these venues' runs that aren't listed at all like the Beastie Boys/Cypress Hill/Rollins Band in Nov 1992, Ministry in Dec of the same year, & the Black Crowes' High as the Moon show in '93. It was a really rough hall by that point, seriously felt like it would cave in on us at any moment. At one point in the Crowes show the monitor/speaker stack on one side of the stage fell into the first few rows of the audience prompting a huge apology from the band because it cut the show short (luckily by only a couple of songs) & a promise from Chris Robinson that they would be back ASAP & play for free to those of us that hung on to tickets stubs. That next free show ended up being the one that was broadcast live around the world &  ended up as the "High In Houston" bootleg CD from the radio recordings and now legally available as "Texan Tornado".  It was the very last show to be held at the Coliseum. There are a couple of videos on YouTube of the whole show, albeit shaky audience handheld ones, but historic nonetheless.


Edited by Kasper
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  • The title was changed to Sam Houston Coliseum At 801 Bagby St.
  • 10 months later...

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