Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, Los Angeles, CA



Capacity 6189

The Universal Amphitheatre is a theatre located in Universal City, California, USA. It was originally built in 1971 as an outdoor venue.

Opening in the summer of 1973 with a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, it was extended until cold weather forced the show to close.[1]

It is the third-largest theatre in California, behind the Shrine Auditorium and Nokia Theatre, two other Los Angeles venues. The theatre is best known for its acoustics and its sightlines, considered the best of any theatre in North America.
It's located right next to Universal Studios Hollywood and the popular Universal CityWalk.
Owned by MCA Inc. which owns Universal Studios.

In 1975, neighbors started to complain about noise booming into their nearby homes. MCA made acoustical modifications  such as a sound wall and stone block wall on the south side of the theatre.  More walls behind the doors, sound panels over the speakers and pads to cover empty seats. MCA worked hard to avoid lawsuits.
Donna Summer with President and Mrs. Gerald Ford, October 13, 1977, Universal Amphitheater, photographer unknown

Elton John, September 27, 1979 Universal Amphitheater, photographer unknown


At the end of 1979, Universal Amphitheater was at a crossroads. It was either going to get a roof, get out of the concert business are stay as it was.
MCA wanted to bulldoze three surrounding hills for  more movie making, tram route and tour parking.  The Regional Planning Commission approved the project but wanted the Amphitheater permanently enclosed.

Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli at her concert, 1980, Universal Amphitheater, unknown photographer
Blues Brothers August 1, 1980, Universal Amphitheater. Not only was this the last night of the Blues Brothers 22 show summer tour, this is the LAST concert John played with the band before his untimely death. This was the ONLY time the band performed the cover of the Rascals hit, "Come On Up."

On stage that evening: John "Jake" Belushi, Dan "Elwood" Akyroyd, Steve "The Colonel" Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Paul "The Shiv" Shaffer, Steve "Getdwa" Jordan, Tom "Bones" Malone, Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin, Tom "Triple Scale" Scott, "Blue" Lou Marini and Murphy Dunne.




Frank Sinatra, August 6, 1980, Universal Amphitheater, unknown photographer

The Amphitheater closed for remodeling in September 1980. John Denver and George Burns September 25-28, 1980 performed the last outdoor program at the Amphitheater.

Neil Young performed here on 1/22/83.

The facility was redesigned from the ground up. The venue is now enclosed.  The capacity increased to 6,200, no seat is more than 150 away from center stage. Each seat has been uphostered in theatrical style and all aisles are now carpeted. Venue will now be opened year round.
A roof had to be put on the Amphitheater because of redevelopment of 70 acres on the Universal City lot.  Without the roof, the theater would no longer be able to comply with county noise abatement standards.

August 24, 1989

In early 2005, naming rights were acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.[2]

On December 6, 2011, it was announced that Gibson Amphitheater would be demolished to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area.[3]







Jerry performed here on
6/29/73 Grateful Dead
6/30/73 Grateful Dead
7/1/73 Grateful Dead
5/22/89 Jerry Garcia Band
7/29/92 Jerry Garcia Band





1.)^Link, Tom (1991). Universal City-North Hollywood: A Centennial Portrait. Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications. p. 87.
2.)^http://www.calendarlive.com/music/78786,0,52956.location
3.)^Nakashima, Ryan (December 6, 2011). "Poof! Harry Potter park to appear in Hollywood". USA Today.

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