Broward County is just over a hundred years old. In that time, there have been a lot of humdingers and hootenannies. There have also been monumental concerts. Some featured unforgettable musical legends at the heights of their careers; others featured titans who were not much longer for this world. Broward County concerts were also ground zero for the birth of the music festival and a First Amendment battle. Here are the ten most historic Broward County concerts.
10. Marilyn Manson at Sunrise Musical Theater, May 12, 1995.
Before Marilyn Manson's shock rock antics were outraging the rest of America, the Fort Lauderdale product caused controversy in his hometown. At a '95 show at Sunrise Musical Theater, Marilyn Manson was arrested and charged with exposure of sexual organs for pulling down his metallic jock strap onstage.9. Lynyrd Skynyrd at Hollywood Sportatorium, October 15, 1977.
One of the last concerts with the original lineup of the southern rock staple behind "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Freebird" was at the Hollywood Sportatorium. The Pembroke Pines arena saw many of your favorite classic rock bands in its confines from 1970 until it closed in 1988. The Skynyrd show was notable because it was one of the last chances to see the band's definitive lineup. The band's plane crashed five days later, killing three of its members.
8. David Bowie at the Chili Pepper, October 8, 1997.
At the site that now houses Revolution Live, Ziggy Stardust played his longest ever show. It wasn't quite five years, but at three-and-a-half hours and over three sets covering 36 songs, it deserved all of its fame.
7. Guns N' Roses at Hollywood Sportatorium, November 29, 1987.
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1987, Broward County was introduced to a young band called Guns N' Roses that played nine songs off a debut album titled Appetite for Destruction. They opened for Motley Crue, which apparently wanted to haze the new kids on the block. They increased the pyros that went off during "Welcome to the Jungle," startling the hell out of Axl and company.
6. Paul McCartney at National Car Rental Center, May 18, 2002.
McCartney's 36-song set chock full of Beatles songs was memorable enough that many of the songs were featured on his Back in the U.S. concert DVD. But that was not what made this Broward County stay for Sir Paul so memorable. During his two-night stand, McCartney stayed at Turnberry Isle resort and got in an argument with his then-fiancée, Heather Mills, who threw her engagement ring in disgust. After a day of beachcombing, the resort's employees found the ring. The relationship was not as easily salvaged.
5. Prince at Sunrise Musical Theater, March 9, 1980.
The Purple One played many South Florida shows, from Super Bowl halftime gigs to hush hush gigs in tiny clubs. His first South Florida appearance at Sunrise for his Fire It Up tour gave a hint of the greatness that was to come over the next few decades.
4. The Who at Code 1, March 23, 1968.
Perhaps the most legendary spring break show ever took place in a small Fort Lauderdale club called Code 1. At its psychedelic mod peak, a day after rocking the Miami Marine Stadium, the Who rocked the world of every spring breaker in attendance of the tiny room.
3. Led Zeppelin at Pirate's World, August 22, 1969.
Pirate's World sounded like a magical place. Opened in 1968 in Dania, it housed amusement park rides like a roller coaster, a log flume, and a pirate ship that swung back and forth. Most remarkable were the rock bands it attracted from 1969 to 1973. Everyone from the Grateful Dead to David Bowie to Black Sabbath played there. But the heaviest hitter of them all was a young Led Zeppelin making its South Florida debut months after its first album was released.
2. 2 Live Crew at Club Futura, June 10, 1990.
At three in the morning, the Broward Sheriff's office arrested Luther Campbell and Christopher Wongwo for performing songs off As Nasty As They Wanna Be. The album — with work like "Me So Horny" — had previously been declared obscene by a federal judge. The two Miami rappers had to spend the night in jail and began a long legal battle for the right to rap dirty words.
1. Miami Pop Festival at Gulfstream Park, May 18, 1968.
The Granddaddy of Woodstock, the Miami Pop Festival gave music promoters the idea that a multiday musical event could make big money. There were actually two editions: one held in May featuring Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Chuck Berry, and the second in December, which was even more jam-packed with legends including Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead, and Steppenwolf. The inaugural May festival gets the historic nod because the tropical weather inspired Jimi Hendrix to write the song "Rainy Day, Dream Away."
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