Los Angeles Times readers remember the Forum

Share your memories, see archival reviews and revisit the Forum’s glory days.

From Cobain to KISS: Remembering the Forum

Kurt Cobain of the rock band Nirvana in concert at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Dec. 30, 1993. (Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times ) More photos

Ah, memories: Lost cars in the parking lot; trying to score a beer from Jim Morrison; attempting to sneak in with the limos; Springsteen singing in the nosebleed seats.


August 2, 2013

As part of The Times’ coverage on plans for the Forum’s comeback as a concert venue, we asked readers to contribute memories of their experiences at the storied Inglewood building. Check out some of what they’ve written -- lightly edited for length and clarity -- plus concert photos and reviews by The Times. And add your own memories here, and see even more archival Forum reviews here.

Jump to a review: Bob Dylan | Bruce Springsteen | Earth Wind & Fire | Elvis | Kiss
Led Zeppelin | Neil Young | Nirvana | Prince | The Eagles | The Rolling Stones

I remember seeing Nirvana there with Chokebore as the opener. I will never forget it! It was my first big arena-style show and I was blown away with how big everything seemed to be. Now I work in the industry, but that was where I got the taste to do lighting for big shows.

— Mike Davidson, Santa Barbara

I saw my first concert at the Forum, Neil Young, 1972 or ’73. I was 14 or 15, living in Glendale; went with my best friend and another friend who was old enough to drive. It was Neil Young, a guitar, a harmonica, and a piano. That’s it. He was incredible, audience captivated. Sounds cliche, but during the quiet parts, you could have heard a pin drop in that huge arena. I was only a kid, but I’d been listening to underground radio since I was 12; I knew it was something special.

— Anna Brooks, Santa Cruz

Read the review: ‘Young returns, enigmatically’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Neil Young in concert at the Inglewood Forum October 24, 1978. (Dave Gatley / Los Angeles Times)

I saw Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the Forum in the late 1970s. Loudest band I ever heard, the acoustics in that cavern were horrendous. Bad reverberation is always a hallmark of rock music in an arena like the Forum. See your favorite band at Gibson Universal, the Greek, or Hollywood Bowl instead.

— Richard Hubbard, Orange

My brother and I grew up going to concerts and, of course, the Lakers at the Forum. Sometimes we would sneak in through the bottom entrance with the touring buses and limos. The list included Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly & the Family Stone, and Parliament Funkadelic. The thing we always talk about and remember the most is, when the lights went off, the “aroma” would immediately change inside. Being two little young guys, that confused us at the time. The sound inside was incomparable!

— David Johnson, Los Angeles

Read the review: ‘Room at the top for E.W.F.’ By Dennis Hunt Photo: Earth Wind & Fire in concert at the Forum in December 1981. (Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times)

I saw ZZ Top in the late 1980s at the Forum. We sat in the nosebleed seats on the edge of the building and ZZ Top looked like ants. It could have been anybody down their since we could not see them and the acoustics were dreadful.

— Jeff McKinley, Perris, Calif.

My first concert, August 1977 (don’t remember the exact date), KISS and Cheap Trick. I was 9 years old and went with my brother, my parents, my cousin and his wife, and my best friend and his mom. We had dinner at the Sizzler across the street before the concert. I think my friend and my brother and I were the only kids not in makeup. (My parents were cool enough to take us to the concert but not cool enough to let us wear makeup. Still trying to figure that one out!) We were on the floor about halfway back from the stage. When the live album came out later we looked at the crowd shot on the back to see if we were in it. No such luck.

— Jeff, San Francisco

Read the review:‘Kiss to build a dream on’ By Robert Hilburn. Photo: Gene Simmons performs at the Forum in 1977. (Los Angeles Times)

Summer of 1986, the impotent new version of Van Halen stumbled onto the Forum stage. By-the-numbers Sammy Hagar and Eddie VH with his new haircut and sappy keyboard hooks absolutely disappointed my 19-year-old, guitar-obsessed self. To the rescue later that year was (then) former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth with arguably one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever assembled. It was loud, over-the-top and [freaking] fabulous! I witnessed Steve Vai stealing the guitar throne from Eddie Van Halen that night.

— Hoops McCann, Covina

Neil Diamond in the ‘90s. But with the loss of the Universal Amphitheatre, there is definitely a place for the Forum. Welcome back!

— Larry Weisberg, Pasadena

In ’76 or ’77 saw Rod Stewart there on his “Blondes Have More Fun” tour. My La Canada high school sweetheart and I had a blast. A lot of non-blonds showed up sporting blond wigs, or dyed their hair blond. Mine was already almost white blond, since I surfed everyday. The music was good too. Rod was awesome. Sounded as good on stage as he did on his albums.

— Mike Coleman, Monterey

Read the review: ‘Fans jam Forum for Elvis’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Elvis Presley in concert at the Forum in Inglewood on Nov. 14, 1970. (Harry Chase / Los Angeles Times)

Black Sabbath with Ozzy [Osbourne] and Grand Funk Railroad, February 1971. Black Sabbath opened and were amazing, but then Grand Funk came out and, surprisingly, blew them off the stage. I didn’t have my own car then, and I recall that five of us squeezed into a friend’s red Subaru 360, and slowly made our way up the 405 from Huntington Beach. We took the wrong exit and got lost in Inglewood or Lennox (not sure because we were lost). I remember the strange looks we received from those we asked for directions. After the show, I got separated from my group, including the girl I had asked to go with me. I ended up hitchhiking back to HB and got home about 2 a.m. All in all a great evening, with the exception of getting separated from my date.

— John Lai, Camarillo

I saw Diana Ross, when she introduced the Jackson Five! Who knew those five boys would make entertainment history. We couldn’t find our car afterward, for more than an hour, and finally we realized that it was parked in the lot across the street! I also have enjoyed Kurt Carr and Israel [Houghton]. Bootsy Collins’ concert was the best and most extraordinary, back in the day. I was so proud to be the “big sister,” and I took my younger brother to that concert. I’ll never forget how they used a big screen and a toilet flushing as part of the opening. It was incredible.

— Lynne Thomas-Perkins, Victorville

Prince, 1985, Purple Rain tour with Sheila E. Amazing! It was my first concert, and I’ve never forgotten it, even though we were in the nosebleed section. I still have the ticket stub somewhere (or at least a scan image of it). Someone offered to buy it even though it’s falling apart.

— Jorge Hernanadez, New York, N.Y.

Read the review: ‘For Prince concert, it’s a reign of rock’ By Richard Cromelin Photo: Prince performs at the Forum on March 29, 1983. (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times)

I lived on Manchester, so you could say my beloved Forum was my home away from home. I remember almost getting hit by soccer balls that were kicked from the stage by Rod Stewart & the Faces at the end of their performance. I still have the rose petals tossed by the hands of Jagger that I caught when I sat in the front row. I remember hanging out with the Aerosmith groupies behind the Forum at that sold-out show, hoping I could get in under cover of groupies, but I got spotted by the roadies at the last minute. I saw the very first so-called “supergroup,” Blind Faith, at the Forum. I remember a friend and I begging a roadie at the Doors concert for an empty Coors beer can that Jim Morrison had drank from. He wouldn’t give it to us.

— Steve Toth, San Diego

Saw Springsteen and other legends, but stopped going to the Forum because of the inadequate women’s facilities. The renovation MUST include upgrading of women’s facilities to even have a remote chance of wooing me back. Heck, the Forum was so bad a group of us gals got so desperate we stormed one of the men’s restrooms for relief, had a whole lookout system and routine going at one point with our boyfriends and hubbies so we all wouldn’t miss so much of the show. Funny how I remember that more than who we saw there.

— Kathleen Clark, Pasadena

Read the review: ‘Springsteen, the class of the field’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Bruce Springsteen drops to the floor during his July 5, 1978 concert at the Forum. (George Rose / Los Angeles Times)

Van Halen, the Scorpions, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi -- all the best ‘80s metal played the Forum.

— Rick Bredlau, Houston, Texas

First concert I went to at the Forum was Cream in 1968 -- we got what we thought were good tickets (I think they were $6), but the seats ended up being on the opposite side of the Forum and the band felt very far away. Still an awesome concert. My favorite all-time concert anywhere was Jimi Hendrix in 1970. This time we got seats pretty close up and being able to watch and hear Hendrix and his band play their hearts out is sealed in my memory forever.

— Michael Brown, Santa Barbara

Bob Dylan and The Band, February 1974. The last show of the tour. We had ninth-row seats thanks to my friend’s brother. No yellow-jacketed security or barriers back then, so I was right against the stage, with Dylan standing above me singing “Like a Rolling Stone.” Every time he sang the chorus, the house lights went on, and I saw 18,000 people singing along. Unforgettable.

— Paul Liebeskind, Tarzana

Read the review: ‘Dylan saves the best for last’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Bob Dylan performs at the Forum on Feb. 2, 1974. (Marianna Diamos / Los Angeles times)

I love the Forum. Jethro Tull, Dylan & the Band, New Barbarians, Elton John, Bob Seeger, Wings and more. The most memorable was Springsteen & E Street in ’78 for the “Darkness” tour. Opening with “Spirit in the Night,” Bruce climbed up to the top level while singing. He was surrounded by fans and when security tried to pull them off, the Boss said, “It’s cool, man. These are my friends.” He turned that place into a small club and rocked for hours.

— Rob Lawson, Glendale

I saw the Rolling Stones play there March 6, 2006, long after Staples was open. I particularly remember it because I had seats very close to the stage, and because the opening act, Queens of the Stone Age, was a piece of crap in my opinion.

— Ben Kalb

Read the review: ‘The Rolling Stones rock for charity’ By Robert Hilburn, Jan. 20, 1973 Photo: Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs at the Forum during a July 11, 1975 concert. (Los Angeles Times)

The first concert I ever saw was at the Forum -- the Eagles Greatest Hits Tour. I was in junior high then and returned several times for many other concerts when I was in high school, including the Eagles’ “Hotel California” tour. It is so meaningful to me, knowing that the Eagles will be re-opening the newly renovated Forum. Bravo!

— Yvonne Carlson Bell, Pasadena

Went with a few college friends to an Eagles concert in the spring of 1980. Roy Orbison was one of the opening acts. I guess he was making a comeback, as many of us weren’t familiar with him at that time. His performance was stunningly good. What a fabulous voice. The Eagles put on a great show but Roy Orbison alone was worth the price of the ticket.

— Andrew Robbins, La Jolla

Read the review: ‘Best of Eagles at the Forum’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Glenn Frey performs with the Eagles at the Forum, March 1980. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

It’s fitting that the Eagles will be the first band to play at the new Forum. They were the first band I saw there back during “Hotel California.” I saw many more great shows over the years, including Queen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Yes, Genesis and the Who. After making that list, it’s like a best of the 1970s arena rock.

— Mike Lew Lamar, Felton, Calif.

I saw Depeche Mode perform at the Forum in 1986. Black was the primary fashion choice for concert attendees. The performance was electric ... literally, and all left satisfied. I went with my boyfriend Steve. He was more the Michael McDonald type, but he embraced the experience and we were better for it. Later I had to go hear Patti LaBelle at the Hollywood Bowl for him. The things we do for love!

— Chris Becker, Los Angeles

As high schoolers, my friend and I drove from Taft to see Jimi Hendrix in 1969. A band we’d never heard of called the Chicago Transit Authority opened. Great show, Jimi was at his best. Upon leaving the show, we realized we had no idea where we parked. So we waited for about an hour and a half while the lot cleared and there were only a few cars left, one of them ours!

Bob Beyn, Sacramento

Read the review: ‘Zeppelin vies for rock legacy’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Guitarist Jimmy Page of the rock band Led Zeppelin performs at the Forum, June 26, 1977. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

May 16-17, 1995. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. I remember when “Song Remains the Same” came on, I jumped out of my chair, ripped off my shirt, sang and danced along. Don’t know why -- it just made me do it.

— Brian Murphy, San Diego

2/10/75 Jethro Tull, The Forum, Inglewood, CA: My little league baseball coach was a huge rock music fan. From our conversations, he knew that I was really curious about live music, yet hadn’t experienced it yet. Coach became my rock ‘n’ roll mentor by taking me to my first concert. Our seats were on the floor in the 30th row; close enough to see the stage antics of Ian Anderson, the strangely attired singer. His outfit looked medieval, complete with codpiece. Ian performed outrageously, and played his flute as a lead instrument, rather than background. For reasons unknown to me then, and even now, he stood on one leg quite a bit. But regardless of his theatrics, the band behind him rocked hard. Coach discreetly smoked something, and it didn’t smell like tobacco. In fact, it didn’t smell like much at all. He didn’t pass any my way, but I didn’t mind. The whole sound and vision package was enough.

— Milo Perichitch, Los Angeles

I remember seeing MC Hammer and TLC at the Forum. Hammer had like 263 fog machines, but it was awesome.

— Karim Akbar, Los Angeles

Read the review: ‘Smells like rock classics’ By Robert Hilburn Photo: Kurt Cobain of the rock band Nirvana in concert at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Dec. 30, 1993. (Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times)

I think my favorite Forum concert had to be Paul McCartney, back in ’89, when he and Linda toured again for the first time since “Wings Over America.” We were about halfway back in the loge seats, and I remember the blast of heat from the flashpots during “Live and Let Die.” It was also the concert tour when Paul chose to return to his Beatles roots and do a lot of the songs that I only got to see on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Great night.

— Beth Rayburn, Fullerton

I saw U2 play at the Forum on the “Joshua Tree” tour. Our seats were off to the side and behind the stage, but they were only a few rows back. But the Forum has always been somewhat “in the round” and Bono came over to the back of the stage to show those fans some love. And there he was just 10 feet away, Bono signing “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on the original “Joshua Tree” tour. I was 18 and it was just an unforgettable moment.

— Christopher Jones, Los Angeles

More Forum Coverage

The Forum aims to rock rival Staples with major renovation

The Eagles will kick off the Forum’s fresh look in January in a multimillion-dollar effort to entice music acts to Inglewood.

Photos: New life for the Forum in Inglewood

A multimillion-dollar revitalization of the Forum in Inglewood includes restoring the building’s Roman-inspired columns and repainting the metal panels “California sunset red.”

A ’60 Minutes’ story may have helped the Forum’s return

It’s entirely possible that the Forum arena in Inglewood narrowly escaped the wrecking ball only because of a segment on CBS’ newsmagazine “60 Minutes.”