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Entrance to the venue (c.2012)
|Former names||The Amphitheatre at Fair Park (planning/construction)|
Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre (1988–98)
Starplex Amphitheatre (1999)
Smirnoff Music Centre (2000–08)
Superpages.com Center (2008–11)
Gexa Energy Pavilion (2011–16)
Starplex Pavilion (2017–18)
|Address||3839 S Fitzhugh Ave|
Dallas, TX 75201
|Owner||City of Dallas|
|Broke ground||August 18, 1987|
|Opened||July 23, 1988|
|Construction cost||$10 million|
($22.1 million in 2018 dollars)
The venue opened as Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre on July 23, 1988 with a concert by Rod Stewart. The outdoor covered amphitheater featured 7,500 seats under a pavilion and 12,500 general admission lawn seats. After Coca-Cola's naming rights expired in 1998, the venue was known simply as Starplex Amphitheatre.
In 2000, naming rights were sold to the Smirnoff vodka company, as a result of a corporate sponsorship agreement with The House of Blues. The center was then called Smirnoff Music Centre and The Music Centre at Fair Park (for concerts featuring underage performers).
The name changed again in January 2008 to Superpages.com Center when naming rights were awarded to Superpages.com.
Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre opened the weekend of July 23-24, 1988 with Rod Stewart on Friday night, followed the next evening with a double bill of Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses. Bob Dylan, Hall & Oates, AC/DC, Steve Winwood, Kenny Loggins, Huey Lewis, Def Leppard, Willie Nelson and Bruce Hornsby all played the Starplex just in the first month. Before the season ended in October, Starplex hosted shows from James Taylor, Eric Clapton, The Moody Blues, Chicago, Elton John, Robert Plant, and Santana. The fall Starplex concert schedule coincided with the State Fair of Texas, also held in Fair Park each October.
Rod Stewart returned April 21, 1989 to kick off the second concert season at Starplex. The bookings at Starplex were eclectic and played heavily to classic-rock and nostalgia acts. Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, Bon Jovi, Jackson Browne, Chris Isaak, Allman Brothers Band, The Beach Boys, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Monkees, Little Feat, Don Henley, Jefferson Airplane, Stevie Nicks, and Cher all played Starplex that summer and fall. Chicago, Elton John, and Bob Dylan each returned. The promoters also experimented with jazz offerings like Spyro Gyra and Miles Davis, and booked popular pop acts like Tiffany, New Kids On The Block, Milli Vanilli, and Paula Abdul.
Frank Sinatra opened the 1990 season at Starplex. New performers included Tears For Fears, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Joe Cocker, Steve Miller Band, The Black Crowes, Wilson Phillips, Richard Marx, Ziggy Marley, Linda Ronstadt, The Neville Brothers, Heart, Bonnie Raitt, Bad Company, Phil Collins, and Billy Idol. David Bowie brought his Sound + Vision Tour to Starplex for a special Independence Day show on July 4, 1990. Miles Davis, Chicago, Santana, Jimmy Buffett, The Moody Blues, James Taylor, The Beach Boys, and Steve Winwood all returned.
In the 1990s, the offerings at Starplex gradually reflected the changing landscape of music being played on the radio. The focus began to shift away from classic-rock and nostalgia acts and more to the alternative rock popularized by 94.5 The Edge in the Dallas market. Alternative artists like Peter Murphy, The Church, Throwing Muses, New Order, The Replacements, The Cult, Shelleyan Orphan, The Cure, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Tracy Chapman, Depeche Mode, The B-52's, Faith No More, Alice In Chains, The The, Morrissey, Blind Melon, 10,000 Maniacs, Midnight Oil, Primal Scream, Meat Puppets, The Jayhawks, Sarah McLachlan, Live, The Cranberries, Radiohead, R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails, Indigo Girls, Luscious Jackson, Los Lobos, Tori Amos, The Afghan Whigs, all played Starplex.
Many popular radio acts of the day headlined Starplex in the 1990s including Michael Bolton, Harry Connick, Jr., Celine Dion, Lyle Lovett, Seal, Gloria Estefan, Hootie & the Blowfish, Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, The Wallflowers, Spice Girls, Better Than Ezra, and Garbage.
Starplex was the site of the Lollapalooza festival tour cofounded by Perry Farrell from 1991-1995. The alternative music juggernaut would return each year to Starplex until 1997, when sales declined and the festival's tastemaking cache had faded. The various lineups included:
In 1996 Lollapalooza was not presented at Starplex. On the date of the festival (July 25, 1996) Gloria Estefan had booked Starplex as part of a two-night engagement. The event was held at Old Fort Dallas in Ferris, TX with a lineup that included Metallica, Soundgarden, Ramones, Rancid, Screaming Trees, Cheap Trick, Steve Earle, Soul Coughing, Sponge, Melvins, and Jonny Polonsky.
On April 19, 1992 94.5 The Edge hosted their own alternative music festival with Edgefest 1992, a one-day festival which brought together The Charlatans, The Sugarcubes, Pearl Jam, and Dramarama. To ensure maximum attendance, general admission tickets to the festival were only $9.45. On July 27, 1992 The Edge presented the Edge Birthday Bash with a one-day lineup including Peter Murphy, Material Issue, Rollins Band, The Soup Dragons and Cracker.
In subsequent years Starplex would often open each season with an Edgefest event instead of seeking a major name headliner.
In 1993 The Edge temporarily dropped the Edgefest moniker and put together the Edge Earth Day Concert on April 18, 1993 featuring The Tragically Hip, Dinosaur Jr., Jellyfish, Belly, 808 State and others. In subsequent years Edgefest continued with these lineups:
In 1998 Edgefest was not presented at Starplex. On the date of the festival (May 17, 1998) Starplex was not booked for any event. The event was held at The Ballpark In Arlington with a lineup including Creed, Fuel, The Crystal Method, Everclear, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and God Lives Underwater.
In 1996 the H.O.R.D.E. festival did not visit Starplex. On the date of the festival (July 19, 1996) Starplex was not booked for any event. The event was held at Texas Motorplex with a lineup that included Rusted Root, Lenny Kravitz, Leftoover Salmon, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveler.
In 1997 headliners Widespread Panic dropped out of the H.O.R.D.E. tour at the last minute and a planned Texas stop was cancelled. Two of the planned headliners (Beck and Ben Folds Five) had played Starplex at Edgefest already in May.
Throughout the 1990s hard rock and heavy metal artists continued to remain popular with AC/DC, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Poison, Lita Ford, Scorpions, Tesla, Kix, Great White, Metallica, White Lion, Warrant, KISS, Aerosmith, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slaughter, L.A. Guns, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses, Motörhead, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Extreme, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, Queensrÿche, Dokken, Danzig, Monster Magnet, and Dio all playing Starplex.
Classic rock acts including Yes, Joe Walsh, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Dr. John, Glenn Frey, Sting, Leon Russell, Barry Manilow, Lenny Kravitz, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, Neil Young, Traffic, Foreigner, America, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Steely Dan, REO Speedwagon, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Rush, Blondie, Sammy Hagar, Fleetwood Mac, Boz Scaggs, Alan Parsons Live Project, John Fogerty, Journey, Paul Simon, Eddie Money, Peter Frampton and Roger Waters made appearances at Starplex in the 1990s.
Several prominent rock bands celebrated Independence Day at Starplex in the 1990s including Boston (July 4, 1995), a triple-bill of Blue Öyster Cult, Kansas, and Styx (July 4, 1996), Steve Miller Band (July 4, 1997) and a triple-bill of L.A. Guns, Warrant, and Slaughter (July 4, 1998).
The enduring popularity of hard rock, heavy metal and industrial metal was not lost on the promoters behind Ozzfest, the annual festival created as a harder-edged alternative to Lollapalooza and which featured Ozzy Osbourne and/or Black Sabbath as headliners.
In 2006 Ozzfest was not presented in Dallas. On July 11, 2006 Ozzfest played Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Selma, TX with a lineup including System Of A Down, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Ozzy Osbourne.
Country music superstars were a regular feature at Starplex, with several artists booking return engagements throughout the 1990s. Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Steve Earle, Hank Williams, Jr., Clint Black, Alabama, Dolly Parton, Brooks & Dunn and Dwight Yoakam were among the many country acts to regularly appear at Starplex in the 1990s.
Starplex hosted a number of R&B and soul superstars in the 1980s and 1990s including Earth, Wind & Fire, Sade, B.B. King, The Temptations, Al Jarreau, Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Whitney Houston, Buddy Guy, Janet Jackson, Anita Baker, Rick James, and Boyz II Men. The venue was slow to embrace hip-hop and rap acts except as part of festival bills: Tone Loc played Starplex on August 3, 1989 as part of the Club MTV package tour that also included Milli Vanilli, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and Paula Abdul. Gangsta rap, rap-rock and rap-metal acts including Ice-T, Ice Cube, Body Count, Cypress Hill, and Snoop Dogg were booked at Starplex as part of the annual Lollapalooza tour which also featured alternative rock bands.
Gradually hip-hop and rap acts began to get booked as headliners beginning with the groundbreaking Fugees show on July 26, 1996. The next summer, on July 19, 1997, the House of Blues Smokin' Groovies tour brought together The Roots, Outkast, Cypress Hill, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, and Erykah Badu on a single bill.
Prince brought his Jam Of The Year tour to Starplex on August 9, 1997. The singer, backed by an all-new New Power Generation band, played a fast and loose set that included James Brown, Madhouse and Joan Osborne covers amid hits like "Little Red Corvette" and deep cuts like "The Cross" and "Strange Relationship."
After the naming rights to Starplex were sold to Smirnoff vodka in mid-2000, the venue dropped the Starplex moniker and was renamed Smirnoff Music Centre. The venue was sometimes billed as The Music Centre at Fair Park for all-ages shows which could not. for legal reasons, be sponsored by a producer or distributor of alcoholic beverages.
Many of the biggest music acts of the 2000s played Smirnoff Music Centre in the 2000s including Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Mary J. Blige, Dashboard Confessional, Pink, No Doubt, Kelly Clarkson, John Mayer, Counting Crows, 3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, Norah Jones, Oasis, Coldplay, Wu-Tang Clan and Colbie Caillat; indie heroes Queens Of The Stone Age, Bettie Serveert, The Smithereens, Weezer, Rilo Kiley and TV on the Radio; and country legends Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Shooter Jennings, Drive-By Truckers, Old 97's, and Blake Shelton. Brian Wilson, Deep Purple, Joe Satriani, David Lee Roth, ZZ Top, J.J. Cale, Night Ranger, Peter Gabriel, Quiet Riot, Annie Lennox, Michael McDonald, Loverboy and Rick Springfield were among the classic-rock superstars making their debut at the venue in the 2000s.
Package tours remained popular with the Power To The People tour bringing a quadruple bill of Poison, Slaughter, Dokken and Cinderella on (date). The Up In Smoke tour brought rappers Warren G, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eminem together on August 7, 2000.
On June 16, 2001 the Summer Jam festival was held featuring rap stars Ludacris, Lil' Mo, Ja Rule, Bow Wow and Ginuwine. The Extreme Steel event on July 14, 2001 combined Slayer, Pantera, Static-X and other metal acts. The Back To School tour brought together Puddle Of Mudd, Godsmack, and Deftones a week later. The Volunteers For America tour on October 20, 2001 featured a star-crusted lineup of Styx, Survivor, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Kansas and Eddie Money joining forces to raise funds for the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks just one month later.
On July 18, 2002 the Jeep World Outside festival brought Tonic, Train, O.A.R., Ziggy Marley and Sheryl Crow on July 18, 2002. The Sprite Liquid Mix tour included an eclectic bill of Hoobastank, N*E*R*D, 311 and Jay-Z. A double bill of Incubus and Phantom Planet played an Independence Day show on July 4, 2002.
Big Freakin' Deal returned May 8, 2003 with Systematic, Powerman 5000 and Godsmack. On August 14, 2004 the Curiousa Festival brought Interpol, Mogwai, The Rapture and The Cure together on a single ticket. On July 15, 2005 the Sounds of the Underground festival assembled Lamb Of God, Throwdown, Clutch, High On Fire and GWAR. The Family Values tour brought Korn, Deftones, Flyleaf and Stone Sour together on August 5, 2006. On June 19, 2007 the Honda Civic Tour was presented with Fall Out Boy, Paul Wall, Cobra Starship and others. On August 2, 2007 the Projekt Revolution tour came to Smirnoff with Placebo, My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and Taking Back Sunday. Family Values returned August 17, 2007 with Korn, Evanescence, Flyleaf and Neurosonic.
At the opening of the 2008 season the naming rights for Smirnoff Music Centre expired and the venue was renamed for Superpages.com, an online business directory based in Coppell, TX. The British spelling of the word "Centre" was changed to the more common American "Center" at the same time. The Heart Of The City package tour with Mary J. Blige, The-Dream and Jay-Z was the first engagement at Superpages.com Center on April 12, 2008. The Glow In The Dark tour with Kanye West, Rihanna, N*E*R*D and Lupe Fiasco followed weeks later on May 1, 2008. The True Colors tour assembled Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett, The B-52's and others on a single bill June 22, 2008. 97.5 The Eagle presented a BFD festival on July 24, 2008 with Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, Buckcherry and others. Mayhem Festival rolled into Superpages the next day with a huge bill including Disturbed, Slipknot, Underoath, Mastodon, Machine Head and many other Ozzfest alumni. The Eagle brought another BFD festival to Superpages August 8, 2009 with Mötley Crüe, Godsmack and Drowning Pool. Mayhem Festival also returned August 15, 2009 with Marilyn Manson, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer and more. Mayhem returned August 13, 2010 with Rob Zombie, Korn, Hatebreed, Lamb of God and others. Uproar Festival followed September 10, 2010 with Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and more.
Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, James Blunt, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, The Avett Brothers, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, Lil Wayne, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Sublime, Jack Johnson, Owl City, and Kings Of Leon all made their debuts at Superpages.com during this period. The Police and Anthrax also played Superpages.com for the first time, though Police frontman Sting had headlined both Starplex and Smirnoff Music Centre as a solo artist.
Arlington alternative rock band Solice performing for Uproar Festival at Gexa Energy Pavilion
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