A look back to when Bruce Springsteen christened the Brendan Byrne Arena
The Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands opened on July 2nd, 1981, with the first of six shows by Bruce Springsteen. The arena was originally built to accommodate the move of the NBA’s Nets from Long Island to New Jersey and the NHL’s Devils (nee Colorado Rockies) moved in the next year.
Springsteen told Rolling Stone after opening the venue, “that was the best show ever” and the Asbury Park Press reports that the Boss debuted a cover song that night: “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits. The Boss played the arena numerous times, including a 1984 performance that was released as a live album in 2015, and he started “The Rising Tour” with a 15 show run in 2002. Virtually every major musical act on tour made a stop there over the years, including artists like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi (who sold out every show he did there), Queen, and the Grateful Dead (16 times).
The Brendan Byrne Arena’s name was changed in 1996 when the naming rights were sold to Continental Airlines and then again to the Izod Center in 2007. It was closed as a public venue in 2015. The Nets had moved to Brooklyn and the Devils had relocated to the newer Prudential Center in Newark. It is still used for a variety of reasons, including as a rehearsal hall for big name acts before they go on tour.
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