Orlando Calling: Relighting the Bowl

The Citrus Bowl is no stranger to music fests, but it's been a while

Orlando Calling

with the Killers, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Kid Rock, the Raconteurs, Blake Shelton, Pixies, Doobie Brothers, the Avett Brothers, Warren Haynes Band, Kid Cudi, Gogol Bordello, the Ettes, the Roots, Chris Isaak, Buddy Guy, Gavin Degraw, Iron & Wine, the Silver Fleece and many more
Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13
Citrus Bowl

This summer, Buddy Dyer and festival organizer Melvin Binn stood at a podium at the Gibson Guitars showroom to announce the lineup for the first major music festival at the Citrus Bowl since, according to Dyer, “the old Rock Super Bowls.” The “what-Super-whats” we wondered?

From 1968 (headliner: the Who) to 1983, when the venue cycled through names from Tangerine Bowl to Citrus Bowl to Orlando Stadium back to Citrus Bowl, the venue hosted some of the biggest musical acts of the era, from the Rolling Stones and Van Halen to the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac – and, yes, they were called Rock Super Bowls. There’s even a Facebook page devoted to remembrances of the way things used to be, and it reads like a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame message board: Says one commenter: “Went to many of these, including the Van Halen / Stones one. … Also bought a bootleg ticket to the Who (with Joan Jett, who got booed off the stage, and the B52s.)” “Oh my gosh, I remember the Rock Super Bowls,” reads another. “My favorite memories include Bryan Adams performing in the rain and [Aerosmith’s] Steven Tyler getting so mad at malfunctioning equipment that he started kicking the monitors off the edge of the stage.”

Local music lover Dave Mitchell says a Rock Super Bowl was the site of the first concert he ever attended, his first beer and his first “whiff of weed in the air.”

“The bill was Peter Frampton (touring in support of I’m In You) with Kansas, Geils (the J. Geils Band’s brief and ill-advised new name that year) and Derringer. Lots of sailors on leave from the old NTC, and lots of appalled moms who had brought their preadolescent daughters into a stadium full of drugged-up hippies and sailors to see Frampton in all his Tiger Beat glory.”

Mitchell adds that it was the “event” atmosphere he remembers best, something Orlando Calling may finally bring back to these surprisingly fertile musical grounds.


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