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Concert Venues :: Riverfront Coliseum


Now Known As U.S. Bank Arena
Date Opened 1975
Venue Capacity 17,000
Venue URL
Venue Address 100 Broadway Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Venue Information

U.S. Bank Arena (known originally as the Riverfront Coliseum, and known later as The Crown and the Firstar Center), is an indoor arena located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio near the Ohio River next to the Great American Ball Park. Completed in 1975, the arena seats 12,823 for ice hockey. It was the home of the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA from 1975-1979. Since then, the arena has hosted another minor-league hockey team and various concerts, political rallies, tennis tournaments, figure skating, a Billy Graham Crusade, and other events. The facility's longest-serving tenant was the men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnati, which used the arena from its completion until 1989, when U.C. built an on-campus facility (Shoemaker Center), now known as Fifth Third Arena. The arena building was heavily renovated in 1997, and still is in use.

On December 3, 1979, the arena was the site of one of the worst rock concert tragedies in United States history. Eleven fans were killed by compressive asphyxia and several dozen others injured in the rush for seating at the opening of a sold-out concert by English rock band The Who. The concert was using "festival seating", (also known as "general seating" or "stadium seating"), where the best seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the festival seating, many fans arrived very early. When the crowds waiting outside heard the band performing a late sound check, they thought that the concert was beginning and tried to rush into the still-closed doors. Some at the front of the crowd were trampled as those pushing from behind were unaware that the doors were still closed. Only a few doors were in operation on the night of the tragedy, and there are reports that management did not open more doors due to the concern of people sneaking past the ticket turnstiles.

As a result, concert venues across North America switched to assigned seating or changed their rules about festival seating. Cincinnati immediately outlawed festival seating at concerts, although it overturned the ban on August 4, 2004. The ban was making it difficult for Cincinnati to book concerts since many music acts prefer festival seating because it could allow the most enthusiastic fans to get near the stage and generate excitement for the rest of the crowd. Some performers and bands insist on a festival seating area near the stage. The city had made a one-time exception to the ban before August 4, 2004, allowing festival seating for a Bruce Springsteen concert. Cincinnati was, at one time, the only city in the U.S.A. to outlaw festival seating altogether.

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