Sayonara, Silverdome! Here’s Your Top Eight Silverdome Moments [Video]
The Silverdome will be partially imploded this coming Sunday, and then the rest of it will be dismantled by machinery and men in a boring fashion.
Sad to see it come to this, because the old, concrete block building gave us so many great memories.
10. Led Zeppelin's 1977 concert begins the 'Stadium Show' era of rock music -- In 1977, concerts in football stadiums were more of a rarity than a reality. But with a ticket price of a whopping $10.50, 77,000 Zep heads filled the balloon on April 30, ushering a new era of rock concert. "It was surreal," Page told Detroit radio station WCSX. "We played to massive crowds on the outside, but that reminded us of 'A Clockwork Orange' or '2001.'
8. The Pope says Mass in before 94,000 faithful Catholics. What do you get when you combine the most popular Pope in history, Pope John Paul II and an area full of people of Polish extraction who loved the first Polish Pope? The largest crowd in Silverdome history.
7. The Dick Vitale era of the Detroit Pistons. You know the loudmouth old guy who hyperventilates while spewing off basketball commentary on ESPN? He used to be a NBA coach. Yup, and when he coached the Pistons, they played their games in the late '70s in front of mostly nobody in the cavernous Silverdome. The team sucked. But a few years later, when they started making the playoffs, he would dance on the sidelines wearing goofy hats. I'm not kidding.
6. Wrestlemania III 1987. Prior to the Pope's appearance a few years later, this event held the record for the largest Silverdome (and any indoor arena event worldwide) crowd ever at just over 93,000. Hulk Hogan topped Andre the Giant in the main bout of the night.
5. Iggy Pop gets booed off the stage, 1981. The hometown star, who had yet to have a breakout hit but had long been simmering in the background of the underground music scene, was invited by the Stones to open a few dates on their Tattoo You tour. Three songs in, the crowd began booing. According to a witness on a concert forum web site, "Iggy maybe got 3 songs in before he left the stage after being insulted and pelted with bottles, cans, rocks, etc. His parting line was great though----'I'm from Detroit, I don't know about you guys.....'" Iggy shouldn't feel too bad, a young Prince was booed off the stage in LA on the same tour.
You can watch the entire Stones set below.
4. The Jacksons Victory Tour, 1984. At the height of his fame, Michael Jackson's dad bullied his son into taking his now not-so-famous brothers out in tour with him. The tour became a debacle when it became clear that the brothers brought nothing to the table, and Michael walked away from it before the European leg started. The Silverdome show was marred by a stage panel that fell mid-set, startling Michael.
Here's a great review of that night from the web site gloriousnoise, including this wonderful truly '80s moment, "We dropped an 11 or 12 year old girl off in the evening to wait in line all night long with a bunch of strangers? With $120 in cash? Her parents let her do this? Really?"
3. The Barry Sanders era of Detroit Lions football -- One of the most frustrating things about being a Detroit Lions fan is how close they should have been to greatness, but never quite made that step. The era of electrifying Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders was one of those times. It was then that the Lions called the Silverdome home, where they were known for their deafening crowd noise (see below). They were so close to being good, but never crossed that threshold, although it was the last time they won a playoff game.
Later, Sanders signed a urinal from the slowly decaying SIlverdome and it fetched $3000 at auction.
2. The 1994 FIFA World Cup. Soccer's quadrennial tournament to determine a world champion came to Pontiac, featuring a surprising US National Team who tied the Swiss 1-1 before 77,000 at the Dome. Another memorable moment came during a wonderful 1-1 Group B tie between Sweden and eventual runners up Brazil, when Brazilian samba dancers marched up and down the Silverdome steps during the game.
Because of this, The Silverdome will live on forever on the FIFA WC94 video game.
1. Super Bowl XVI 1982 -- After a series of non-competitive Super Bowls, this one came down to the wire when Joe Montana led his San Francisco 49ers to the first of five Super Bowl titles, holding off a late rally from the Cincinnati Bengals to win 26-21. Detroit did not receive rave reviews for being the first cold weather host for the game, as an ice storm and the distance between Detroit and Pontiac made the Press Corps cranky. It would be 25 years before the Super Bowl would return to the Motor City, this time at downtown's Ford Field.