New Haven Arena

One of the most famous (or infamous) events in rock history occurred at the New Haven Arena on December 9, 1967. On that date, Jim Morrison was arrested—on stage—during a performance with the Doors. He was charged with obscenity and breach of peace but was soon released. It is believed to be the first time that a rock star was arrested on stage during a performance. The incident was immortalized in the song, “Peace Frog,” by The Doors, especially the line “Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven.” Ironically, once the New Haven Arena was demolished, the new occupant of the site was the New Haven Division of the FBI.

The original New Haven Arena opened in 1914 but burned down in 1924. The arena was re-constructed in 1927 with hockey in mind. Some of the hockey teams that called the New Haven arena home were the New Haven Eagles, the New Haven Blades, the New Haven Elms, and Yale University. Besides hockey, the arena hosted nearly every major event that came through New Haven.

As a music venue, the New Haven Arena hosted many music icons including: The Young Rascals (May 7, 1965), Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Joan Baez, The Temptations, Cream, The Supremes, and Frank Sinatra (just to name a few). After performing at the arena, Sinatra would make a point of dining at New Haven’s famed Sally’s Pizza.

Of Note: On June 18, 1964, The Rolling Stones were scheduled to perform at the New Haven Arena, but the show was canceled—due to the lack of ticket sales!! By the way, the ticket prices for this concert were $2, $3, and $4. The Stones did appear at the New Haven Arena the following year (November 4, 1965).

Other major events that performed at the arena included: World championship boxing, The Bolshoi Ballet. and the Ringling Brothers circus.

The New Haven Arena was an extremely popular venue for over 50 years, attracting millions of fans far beyond the Connecticut border. The demise of the arena came with the construction of the New Haven Coliseum in 1972.

In 1974, The New Haven Arena was demolished.

(by Anthony Renzoni, author of Connecticut Rock ‘n’ Roll: A History © )

NOTE: Portions of this write-up are copyrighted and taken from Renzoni’s book Connecticut Rock ‘n’ Roll: A History. For further info, check: https://www.connecticutrocknroll.com

 

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