« Tipsy Tuesdays: Breaking the seal | Main | Splice Today organizes second compilation, releases Wye Oak remix »

August 11, 2009

Organizers: Bruce Springsteen to play 1st Mariner Arena Nov. 20

bruce springsteenRock legend Bruce Springsteen will perform at 1st Mariner Arena Nov. 20, organizers announced today.

This is apparently Springsteen's first Baltimore show since opening for Chicago at the Baltimore Civic Center in June 1973.

Officials at 1st Mariner Arena had heard nothing about the show, which comes near the end of Springsteen's 31-date tour.

Tickets for the show will go on sale Sept. 25, according to a press release sent out from Shore Fire Media, Springsteen's publicity company. The same day, tickets will go on sale for Springsteen's Nov. 2 gig at the Verizon Center in Washington.

1st Mariner, which seats between 13,000 and 15,000 depending on the staging and seating, would be one of the smaller venues on Springsteen's current itenerary.

(Photo by Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:50 AM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Local music


No way!!!
I was planning on going to the Verizon Ctr show, but there is no way I'm missing him in my hometown!!

See, we don't need a new arena. This one is one of the few city-owned buildings that makes money. (A future renovation might be in order though.)

He performed at Towson Univ in 1975 but hasn't performed at the Arena since '73! This is amazing!

I am the biggest Bruuuuce fan ever...I go to every show in Jersey and elsewhere. Bruce is the center of my see him in Baltimore is fantastic...I look forward to this memorable show...As always THANKS BRUCE. Love Mark "Rut"

I'm so excited...zzzzzz

Hope this turns out to be accurate. The Arena is a dump, but for Springsteen, it's worth going!

I love you too "Rut"


I can't wait for this show!!! My favorite part is when StubHub buys all the tickets in the first 30 seconds and I have to pay a 200% markup to see Bruce! Woo Hoo!!!! (that was my bank account cheering its anticipated weight loss).

Great music but his idiotic views and political rants diminish the experience. I'll pass.

Springsteen is still alive?!

Mr. Sessa - There is no email flag for me to choose to forward this great news. Can you have that changed for this webpage?

Don't worry about StubHub! Ticketmaster has gone paperless! You buy your tickets online, then got to the show, run your credit card that you paid with thru a scanner, show ID, and you're in. Started here in the south, going to see Bruce in Greenville, SC.

Grew up in Baltimore, the shows right before Thanksgiving week, I see a road trip in my future.

Just think of all the rats at the Arena who will finally get a chance to see Bruce!

To Thomas: yes, the music is great. Just ignore the political rants, which are next to none at a show. Don't pass!

"Don't worry about StubHub! Ticketmaster has gone paperless! You buy your tickets online"

I have always bought online but StubHub gets them right away. Is there a new system that makes getting tickets fair to the real fans?

We saw Bruce a few months ago in Hershey; we'll definitely be going to this show too.

As for the politics-during the 3 hour show in Hershey he reminded the crowd that times are tough and please donate to your local food bank if possible. That's it.

StubHub buys tickets? Are you serious? StubHub doesn't buy tickets as they make 15% on each end. Scalpers all over the country buy these tickets and resell them on StubHub. They never have to visit the city especially thanks to the new ticketless system. If anything, the ticketless system will now make it worse as Sclapers can wait until the very last minute to sell and not lower their prices.

Who is Bruce Springsteen? Did he sing "On the Boardwalk"? I love that song, reminds me of New Jersey, is he from there?

Paperless Ticket Delivery only. These tickets will be non-transferable, with original purchaser's ID and credit card required for entry at the venue.

In all honesty I went to the Green Day show two weeks ago, the politics in that show were 10x worse than any Springsteen/U2 show.

Excellent! "Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, jack..." And what political rants are you people talking about? Springsteen has always stood up for the little guy and the working man. Since when is that undesirable? Good grief.

One less reason to go to DC!

Springsteen played at Painters Mill in March 1975. I believe that was his last B-more appearance.

The last time Bruce played in this area was around the same time he wrote his last good song.

Clarence is right. StubHub, EBay, Craigslist no more. Here's how it owrks.

1. You buy your ticket online.

2. Go to show, scan credit card used to buy ticket

3. Show ID

4. You're in!

Scalpers can buy tickets, but must go into show with you. Scalpers don't go to shows! They only get tickets to make money!

Clarence is right. StubHub, EBay, Craigslist no more. Here's how it owrks.

1. You buy your ticket online.

2. Go to show, scan credit card used to buy ticket

3. Show ID

4. You're in!

Scalpers can buy tickets, but must go into show with you. Scalpers don't go to shows! They only get tickets to make money!

His last area appearance depends on how you define the area. He played Towson State in March 1977, so maybe that's it. Or maybe it's February 1978, when he played the Naval Academy. But then again, he had shows at the Cap Center as late as 1992, so maybe that's it.

One thing's for sure, though - he's never headlined at a concert in Baltimore City.

Clarence and Mike, I stand corrected and misunderstood the original email. This is the same method Ticketmaster used for the Beastie Boys earlier this year. It did work for the most part. With that said, I personally know a couple of people who scalped the second ticket to the B-Boy show and made a mint. So you have to ask yourself this? Do you blame the scalper or the person who's willing to pay the equivalent of a car payment for a ticket. Supply and Demand.

When I saw just the tag Bruce Springsteen in Baltimore I was thinking/hoping M&T or Camden Yards. I saw the Eagles at 1st Mariner and it is ok. (They were great, the venue is a DUMP! And well that is kinda insulting to dumps) But when are we going to see big acts at M&T?

Too bad he's become such a political bore. I woudn't spend a dollar now, but years ago when he just sang great songs I would have been excited.

U2 played the Arena a few years ago on their Elevation Tour. More big time acts should be giving B-more a shot. I'm tired of American Idol tours being the biggest names to come through here.

Did someone actually say that this means that Baltimore doesn't need a new arena?
If so, please commit yourself to the proper facility now or take your meds.

Geez, I remember when they renamed it The Baltimore Arena after the cheap-ass renovation, and WBAL TV's Chris Thomas continued to call it The Civic Arena as a long-running joke.
And that was in the 1980s!

From what I've read, The 1st Mariner Arena is the oldest and smallest arena of any Top 25 city in the country and also the last large city arena that The BEATLES performed at still in current use.
Yes, The Beatles performed at some other arenas that are still standing (The DC Armory comes to mind), but no arenas that haven't since been replaced or mothballed or relegated to 2nd tier type community events. And some cities like DC have replaced not one, but TWO arenas since the tiny Baltimore Civic Center was built. Oh, is Paul McCartney playing 1st Mariner? Nope.

The only reason the place makes any money is because they spend practically NOTHING to maintain it anymore and the city owns the land, facility, and its parking garage which makes money even when there are no events there!

And if you want to make the argument that the facility is viable because Springsteen is coming here, well guess what? How many times has he played 1st Mariner again?
He's never headlined a show there once before.

If Springsteen playing here means anything, it means the economy is in bad shape, CD sales have tanked, and even headliner musicians like Springsteen now are forced to go out on the road and even play venues that they normally would avoid because few artists can sell many CDs anymore and few can sell out stadiums. It's just that simple. There are just simply few artists who can sell out a FedEx Field type venue anymore and Springsteen is no longer one of them.

More artists would consider playing in Baltimore if we had a major city sized arena.
And who knows, it might even be possible to steal an NBA team away from another city.
Additionally, a new arena would make more money, guaranteed. The current one has barely broken even for most of the last 20 years and is a complete dump by any measure if you've ever been to any other citys' arenas, like the Verizon Center in DC or the Wachovia Center in Philly.

The Baltimore Civic Center/1st Mariner Arena needs the wrecking ball ASAP.

PS: The Tunnel of Love Tour at the Capital Center was an awesome concert btw.
Oh, and The Capital Center was a newer/nicer arena than 1st Mariner, and hmmm, yep, torn down.

I rest my case.

Forgot to mention something about the previous post calling for a renovation of 1st Mariner...

How exactly do you renovate a tiny ancient square building and turn it into a round modern arena with nice amenities again?

What can they possibly renovate? There's no room inside for like sky boxes or restaurants or anything but the bare minimum of food venders and few rest rooms. Where will all these renovations fit?

Did your Mom not give you any Square Peg/Round hole toys as a toddler?

I hope bruce doesn't fall off the stage like the other old gy from that Aeropstle or something. maybe they can put the padding around the floor like at wrestling.

As far as Bruce as a working man, that's just shtick. He got sued a year or two ago when a guy claimed Bruce and Patti agreed to pay $850,000 for a show horse for their daughter and then backed out.

Close to a million for a horse for a kid? He hasn't been poor since 1973.

I do love "Thunder Road" though.

I was there at the March 1977 Towson concert, 8th row, center aisle. Bruce came down the aisle ad stood right next to me as he sang. Tied for best concert ever (other was Creedence @ Boston Garden July 1971)

haahha robin wins comment of the day.

I didn't know Bruuuce was such a "political bore" these days. I find this hard to believe.

For those of you wondering why Bruce, why 1st Mariner -- more details about the show are coming tomorrow.

Thanks for the memories. The Towson 1977 show was just incredible. So worth the wait for the show, and so worth remembering.

Thank you Joe Fab. We do need a new arena. Other cities have built, torn down and built even better arenas during the Civic Center's lifespan. Any Baltimorean who believes we don't need a new arena probably has never been out of the state.

Also, why is the Arena office unaware of this. Is this a hoax?

To the best of my knowledge, at that time, a recently clean shaven Bruce & The E-Street Band last performed in the Baltimore Metro area at the Towson Center in 1977.

Anyone who prefers a staduim concert to an arena concert doesn't know what they're talking about. That is all.

You want a new arena? Pay for it yourself.

Hmmmm. I've seen both Springsteen and Green Day within the last couple months, and far from "political and boring", these were among the best gigs I've ever seen - after 20 years of concertgoing and hundreds of shows.

Luckily, I've got two more tickets for this fall. Personally, I think this'll be a tour the discriminating music fan shouldn' tmiss.


Only one poster, Brian, sees this as a sign that Baltimore doesn't need a new arena and guesses a renovation is needed. I'll get to that.

Using Paul McCartney as an example is odd. He just played FedEx Field, didn't he? If you want to use him as an argument, it should be "Why doesn't M&T Bank Stadium get the shows FedEx field gets?"

As stated by others, U2 and the Rolling Stones have played the 1st Mariner Arena over the last ten years and I think the arena does alright, financially, with American Idol, the circus, ice shows, etc.

I don't get your argument that Springsteen is _forced_ to play a small venue like the 1st Mariner Arena. I think only he, U2, McCartney and the Stones can play stadiums anymore. (Perhaps a country act like Kenny Chesney.) This _may_ be the last E Street Band tour and Bruce on a bit of a nostaglia kick right now, playing the Spectrum instead of the newer, larger Wachovia Center in Philly, for example, which he could have just as easily sold out. He had dates he could fill between previously scheduled shows Nov. 15 and Nov. 22.

'Popular music' has become so spread out I think we may never see performers that are so inclusive to be able to support outdoor stadium tours like in the 70s/80s/90s. Of course it will be hard to prove that in the current economic environment.

As you can see, I have numerous problems with your post, but _I absolutely agree_ that we'd get more arena concerts with a bigger, better arena. However, most economist believe having a full time tenant, like a NBA or NHL team is the only way to pay for the building. Getting a team is a big 'if'.

The city has already decided that it wants a new arena and will put it right were the old one is. (It won't be a renovation.) Plan on the future arena taking up the whole block (say goodbye to the sliver of parking on the east side and the garage on the south side.)

The current economic situation has allowed the city to put plans for the new arena on hold.


One small correction to your reference to the Beatles:

They played at Washington Coliseum (renamed from Uline Arena) in 1964, not the Armory. The arena is still in existence (originally built in 1941), but it is now used as an indoor parking lot.

Speaking of 'older' arenas still being used as when first built, Fort Wayne, Indiana, still has the War Memorial Coliseum, built in 1952. It was recently expanded to a maximum 13,000 seating capacity for basketball - 10,500 for hockey and concerts. The (at that time) Zollner Pistons played at the Coliseum prior to their move to Detroit in 1957. The Fort Wayne metro area now has a population of just over 400,000, less than 1/6th of the Baltimore metro area's population.

Factchecker - check your facts. Bruce and the Band played Towson State in 1977. (and I don't write musical reviews for a living!) Still one of the musical highlights of my life.

I'm so excited!!! But, face it, by the time the the politicians, sports personalities and other Baltimore VIP's snatch up their tickets, as well as the scalpers, we poor but loyal Springsteen fans have about a zero percent chance of getting tickets to First Mariner. The facility only holds about 11,000 people. We'd have a better shot at Verizon Center tickets. :-(

Bruce Fan,

Not sure I understand your comment. Are you implying that this would not be the first time Bruce has played in Baltimore because he played in Towson State in 1977? If so, I'm surprised you don't know -- Towson isn't in Baltimore.

Some other commenters seem to think Painters Mill was in Baltimore, too -- it was in Owings Mills.

Between 1st Mariner GM Frank Remesch's fact-checking and our own exhaustive library search, we've come to the conclusion that even though Bruuuce has written about Baltimore (in "Hungry Heart"), he has never headlined a show here. In fact, that 1973 gig opening for Chicago at the Baltimore Civic Center is probably the only time he's played in Baltimore City.

I'd love to hear from a diehard Bruce archivist who could triple-check this for us. I'm planning on reaching out to some fan sites today.

Ok, maybe using Paul McCartney as an example for why we need a new arena was a bad example, but the fact that The Beatles played at 1st Mariner and no other Top 25 city is currently using an arena that the Beatles played in does speak volumes about why we need a new arena.

I'm not sure what Springsteen's motivation to headline in Baltimore for the first time is honestly.
Maybe he is doing it for something different than monetary reasons.

But the fact is that most artists try to maximize their earnings and with tight scheduling, the Verizon Center and FedEx Field both give more bang for the buck and guaranteed success since the DC market is nearly twice the size of Baltimore.

I also really think concert promoters have long since had the mentality that Baltimore is close enough to DC to skip, that we can just go down I-95, but that is very wrong thinking.

The other thing that is rarely mentioned when you talk about the lack of concerts in Baltimore and the reason acts will show up at Merriweather or Towson, but not Baltimore is...

Promoters have long complained about this and the city has never done anything about it, so most acts look to play somewhere NEAR Baltimore instead if there is any way possible.
This is another reason there are rarely shows at M&T Bank Stadium and a new arena won't solve that problem either because it'll still be cheaper for an artist to play at the larger Verizon Center in DC unless Baltimore's arena is larger than DCs, which I seriously doubt will be the case.
The Baltimore arena discussion often reminds me of The Red Line transit discussion, it's all about politicians shooting themselves in the foot and not realizing the true problem.

I applaud Bruce for paying Baltimore excessive amusement tax and finally headlining a show in Baltimore for the 1st time.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "y" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected