Dilapidated, miserable, and drab are a few of the methods old-school Spokanites describe the burning, not-so-lamented, Spokane Coliseum. Some folks, nevertheless, look fondly on the Boone Avenue Barn, the nickname for the situation of the 5,400-seat enviornment.
The Spokane Coliseum was a second residence for Lorrie McLaughlin. When the longtime concert-mad North Aspect resident wasn’t attending reveals as a fan, McLaughlin labored in concessions from 1973 to 1976.
“I had a tremendous time on the Colosseum,” McLaughlin stated.
These experiences weren’t as a result of promoting popcorn and soda. McLaughlin’s mom, who labored together with her, allowed the then-teenager to attend performances whereas she held down the fort.
“It was okay for me to stroll away as a result of most individuals stayed of their seats as soon as the present began,” McLaughlin stated.
McLaughlin, 65, took sound checks and had entry to the Inexperienced Room for all however one present. “The one time I could not return was for Elvis, who had his personal safety,” McLaughlin stated. “However I used to be capable of come again for everybody.”
The late John Denver was particularly form to McLaughlin earlier than and after a two-show live performance on the Coliseum in August 1974.
“After I noticed John after the second present, he stated, ‘Lorrie, you modified your garments,'” McLaughlin stated. “I used to be shocked he remembered my title and what I used to be sporting. once we met a couple of hours earlier than. I used to be impressed. After I noticed him earlier I used to be sporting my Coliseum garments and after his second present I used to be sporting my road garments. John Denver was a really good man. I keep in mind being backstage with two guys who drew an image of him. They gave it to him and he appeared so delighted. It was so completely different from most rock bands enjoying on the Colosseum on the time. Many of the bands got here, performed and danced proper after the present.
McLaughlin has few photographs with artists who carried out on the Coliseum as a result of she was good sufficient to not harass expertise.
“If I had bugged everybody, which may have been the top for me so far as wandering the Inexperienced Room goes,” McLaughlin stated. “I by no means misplaced my entry.”
The icon that shocked McLaughlin was Bob Hope. Throughout a sound examine, the versatile entertainer, who was in seven movies with Bing Crosby, made eye contact with McLoughlin and struck up a dialog.
“I used to be simply across the stage ready to go to work when Bob Hope requested out of the blue what my title was and I instructed him and we had a unfastened dialog,” McLoughlin stated. “He stated, ‘You could have a very nice city. You could have good issues right here. He was right here on the Expo in 1974. I requested him for an autograph and he signed for me and I nonetheless have it.
Drummer Robbie Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive seen McLaughlin offstage through the Canadian band’s present in August 1974.
“I used to be dancing on the sting of the stage throughout ‘Takin’ Care of Enterprise.” After the present, Robbie got here as much as me and stated he noticed me on stage. He began asking me a bunch of questions on Spokane, after which somebody stated, “Hey Robbie, time to go,” and he left.
McLaughlin and her mom had a gathering with Karen Carpenter, who suffered from anorexia, earlier than the Carpenters efficiency on the Coliseum.
“My mother requested Karen why she all the time wore lengthy clothes,” McLaughlin stated. “She stated, ‘As a result of my legs are ugly.’ It is a disgrace as a result of her legs had been in all probability lovely.
McLaughlin by no means met Presley, however the King’s efficiency on the Coliseum left an indelible reminiscence.
“Elvis was so stuffed with vitality, and boy, did he know methods to carry out in entrance of a crowd,” McLaughlin stated. “He may have stood there and the ladies would have screamed, however he labored. What I keep in mind most is him wiping the sweat from his forehead with a shawl. He tossed the headscarf into the viewers and a catfight started. The ladies had been like a sea of piranhas combating for the headscarf. It was so humorous to me, since a lot of the ladies on the Elvis present dressed like they had been going to a rustic membership. They wore lengthy clothes and had their hair piled excessive on their heads. It freaked me out as a result of they seemed so lovely after which they had been combating over scarves within the Boone Avenue barn, which was something however fairly. It was sizzling, particularly through the summer time as a result of there was no air-con and it was simply this primary pile of concrete.
The Colosseum expertise was a household affair for McLaughlin.
“My mom and my brothers had jobs there, as did a number of aunts and cousins,” McLaughlin stated. “On the time, for those who knew somebody who labored there, you possibly can additionally discover a job there. I had a lot enjoyable working there and cherished seeing the live shows.
Alice Cooper was McLaughlin’s favourite present.
“I used to be blown away by the ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ present,” McLaughlin stated. “Cooper can placed on a present. It was macabre and it felt like Cooper was doing magic up there.
Chicago can also be excessive on McLaughlin’s checklist.
“The reveals they placed on had been nice and what I cherished about this group was that they got here to Spokane nearly yearly,” McLaughlin stated. “I believe they preferred Spokane a lot that they took a couple of days off right here. Some time again I noticed one thing on social media which I believe was posted by the spouse of (the late Chicago guitarist) Terry Kath (Camelia Kath) on Spokane and the way a lot they cherished it You may’t assist however recognize the bands which have returned to our metropolis like Chicago did since not everybody comes right here.
McLaughlin loved watching the Spokane Flyers, which had been a neighborhood franchise from 1949 to 1980, a lot that she realized to play hockey and joined a ladies’s league. McLaughlin performed for Joe’s Rainier Jets in 1976. The spotlight was enjoying on the Coliseum.
“We beat a Calgary group earlier than an elders sport,” McLaughlin stated. “I had a good time watching the Flyers play and we frolicked with the hockey gamers afterwards. It was a lot enjoyable.”
When pressed to speak about her most indelible reminiscence, McLaughlin famous that the small, uninteresting inexperienced room was etched in her thoughts.
“It was this crummy little piece that was 10 x 12,” McLaughlin stated. “It was painted inexperienced. There was sufficient area for folding tables and chairs. The locker rooms, which measured about 8 x 10, had been smaller than a jail cell. They had been like cabinets. The Colosseum was stripped.
When the Colosseum, which opened in December 1954, was razed in 1995, McLaughlin shed a couple of tears, however she by no means stopped going to live shows.
“I’ve seen so many reveals right here in Spokane and different cities,” McLaughlin stated. “There’s nothing like a live performance. I simply purchased VIP tickets for the Peter Rivera present (Friday on the Martin Woldson Theater on the Fox) and I am unable to wait. However I suppose my love for live shows began with the Colosseum. Folks like to speak concerning the horror of the Colosseum, however I’ve fond reminiscences of this place.