1st Mariner Center (Baltimore Civic Center), Baltimore, MD

The 1st Mariner Center was opened to the public in 1962.  First known as the Baltimore Civic Center, it was renamed the Baltimore Arena in 1986 after a major renovation, only to be rechristened with its current name in 2003. As with many arenas today, it is named after a bank, the Baltimore-based 1st Mariner Bank.  Don’t you miss the days when venue names were interesting, had some meaning, and didn’t change every 5 minutes?  Yeah, me too.  Anyway, the venue has been in continuous use since its opening, hosting a variety of events from car shows to sports events.  It has also hosted a number of great musical acts.  The Beatles played twice in 1964.  Led Zeppelin played the venue several times in the 1970s, using footage from the arena in The Song Remains the Same.  Then there was this other band that played there a few times, the Grateful Dead.  The band played the venue only throughout its time as the Baltimore Civic Center, beginning in ’72 and alternating between it and the Capitol Center in Landover (with the exception of one gig at the University of Maryland) before switching over exclusively to the Cap and the Merriweather-Post Pavilion in Columbia during the early part of ’82.  The September 17, 1972 gig from the Civic Center was released as Dick’s Picks Volume 23, included in it an epic 40 minute long version of The Other One.  In The Deadhead’s Taping Compendium Volume I, Robert Goetz reports that, “[a]fter inspecting and locating alien lifeforms Garcia begins communication” and “upon reentry into the Baltimore Civic Center Lesh lets rip a massive blast of feedback,” during the song.  Take that Edgar Allen Poe!  In the first photo, we see the main entrance of the venue, the pointed roof sprouting above.  The new name does fit the architecture, as the roof resembles sails of ships (Ship of Fools?) in the nearby Inner Harbor.  The second photograph depicts a side view of the arena, providing another view of the roof and most unfortunately, the large distasteful billboards that line the outside building.  There has been talk among the city fathers about replacing the current structure, but mostly due to the poor state of the economy, these plans have been placed on the back burner.  So, until things turn around, we can enjoy this interesting and historic structure that housed so many great moments in Grateful Dead touring history.  Before I close, I must thank my Cousin Tammy and Aunt Jackie for navigating the wilds of downtown Baltimore with me just so I could get these pictures for my blog—love you guys!   


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ac34sf
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 16:58:56

    Where I saw Furthur last fall. I believe.


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