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Hampton Coliseum
Hampton coliseum.jpg
Former names Hampton Roads Coliseum
Location 1000 Coliseum Drive,
Hampton, Virginia, 23666
Broke ground May 24, 1968
Built 1968 – 1970
Opened 1970
Owner City of Hampton
Operator City of Hampton
Construction cost $8.5 to $9.0 million USD
General Contractor McDevitt and Street Co.
Capacity 13,800 (concerts)
9,777 (basketball)
Virginia Squires (ABA) (1970–76)
Virginia Wings (AHL) (197175)
Hampton Gulls (SHL,AHL) (1974–78)
Hampton Aces (NEHL) (1978-81)
Phish (1995-1999, 2003-2004, 2009-)

Located in Hampton, Virginia, the Hampton Coliseum, commonly referred to as "the mothership" or "cosmic cupcake" due to its unique architecture, is a multi-use facility owned by the City of Hampton. It is used to host concerts, and is a regular stop on the World Wrestling Entertainment tour. Opening in 1970, then known as the Hampton Roads Coliseum, was the Hampton Roads metropolitan area's, and the state of Virginia's first large multi-purpose arena. The arena seats about 13,800 for festival-style concerts and 9,777 for basketball.



The Hampton Coliseum was also one of several former homes of the American Basketball Association professional basketball franchise Virginia Squires. The Squires played there (in addition to the Roanoke Civic Center, Richmond Coliseum, and the Norfolk Scope, all within the state of Virginia) from 1970 to 1976. The Virginia Squires played their first game at the Coliseum on October 22, 1970, and their last game on April 6, 1976.

The Coliseum was also home to the Virginia Wings and Hampton Gulls hockey teams in the American Hockey League and the Hampton Aces of the North Eastern Hockey League.

Sporting events

The 1987–1989 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball tournaments were held in the Coliseum, as was the 1985 Sun Belt Conference tourney. The Hampton Coliseum is also the home of the Virginia Duals annual wrestling tournament, hosting invitational college and high school matches.

The coliseum hosted WWF/WWE RAW, in April 1998, August 2005, May 2007, and January 2008. It also hosted SmackDown! and for ECW on Sci Fi on December 2006. In January 2008, WWE had its first television show taped in high definition in this arena.


Elvis performed at the Hampton Coliseum two times in his career, in 1972 and 1976. The Rolling Stones played the Coliseum in 1981, which was the first ever live cable television concert broadcast, viewed in fifteen cities. The Stones also recorded a video for the song (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction during that show. The Coliseum is also the final venue that late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton played in the United States, before his death in September 1986 in Ljungby, Sweden. Motley Crue played here in August of 1987 on their world famous "Girls Girls Girls" tour. On New Year's Eve 1996, the Dave Matthews Band recorded Live Trax Vol. 7 at the venue.

The Grateful Dead played the Coliseum 21 times, with their first of many shows on May 4, 1979 and a total of 18 shows played during the 1980s. In 1989, they billed themselves as the "Warlocks" for a two-night run. A popular rumor is that the Grateful dead "tricked" the city of Hampton by billing themselves as the Warlocks, however in reality this was a pre-arranged condition with the city with one condition being the alternate billing, and the second being that tickets would go on sale locally at the Hampton Coliseum box office before the general on-sale date. This was widely covered in local news programs airing the day of the local ticket on-sale date, specifically mentioning the Grateful Dead, which lead to many locals being able to attend a show that would normally be sold-out within minutes. They then played two rare songs; Dark Star which hadn't been played live since 1984 (in 359 shows) and Attics Of My Life which had not been played live since 1972 (in 1095 shows). The last two Grateful Dead shows at the Coliseum in 1992 were booked as "Bruce Hornsby and Friends", again under the condition that the shows not be billed as the Grateful Dead. The Jerry Garcia Band also played twice once on November 9 1991 and again on November 19, 1993.

Phish has played the Coliseum 15 times. After the inaugural November 25, 1995 performance they returned on October 25, 1996, and Trey Anastasio declared from the stage "Sometimes people ask me what the uh, best rooms that we play are ah, in are. This is pretty much it, for me. Just so you know to answer the question. Good sound. Everyone gets to go where they want on the floor. You can't beat it." They returned in the fall of 1997 and played two of the most highly regarded shows of their career. Phish then recorded their live album Hampton Comes Alive at the Coliseum in 1998, to which they referred the venue as the "Mothership".[1] During Phish's first hiatus return, they played Hampton on January 3-4, 2003. Following a four year hiatus and the official breakup of the band, Phish reunited again and returned to the stage on March 6, 2009 at the Coliseum. That performance, along with their performances on March 7th and 8th, brought their total number of performances at the Coliseum to 15.


  1. ^ Wilson: "Hampton Comes Alive Program", pg. 2, McMann Publications, 1998.

External links

Coordinates: 37°2′5.01″N 76°22′52.82″W / 37.034725°N 76.3813389°W / 37.034725; -76.3813389



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