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When KISS, Styx, Rush and Others Came to TC

March 1, 2013
When KISS, Styx, Rush and Others Came to TC

All we did was make mention in a recent Ticker of an industrial building for sale on Barlow Street in Traverse City. Little did we know that the non-descript metal building would generate so much interest and so many fantastic stories from the 1970s.

The building was known as the “Glacier Dome” back then, and is said to have been the first indoor ice rink in town and a venue for concerts by superstar musical acts like Bob Seger, Styx, Johnny Cash and Rush.

And KISS. Almost.

David Eggli of Traverse City remembers seeing Styx, who was relatively unknown when they played in Traverse City.

“It wasn’t a very large arena, so it was a pretty intimate setting for the bands they got at the time,” he said. The venue, which was also called the Glacier Arena, seated 5,000 for its concerts.

Eggil also had tickets to see KISS but after Styx, the opening band, blew out the sound system, the KISS show was canceled.

Carol Tompkins-Parker remembers people holding up their disposable lighters to try to convince the worldwide phenomenon KISS onstage.

“It was kind of disappointing that you came to see this band and just saw the backup band,” she reflects. “But the backup band was really good.”

Arne Sarya, whose father, the late Arnold Sarya, owned the Glacier Dome, recalls they had to get the crowd out of the building quickly.

“There were plenty of boos and hisses and some people threw things,” he says. “We didn’t need the riot police, but it was all they could do to keep the peace without them tearing the building apart.”

Among the other artists to perform there were Hall & Oates, Dolly Parton, Bob Hope, REO Speedwagon and Brownsville Station, he said.

Lissa Edwards had grown up in Maryland and was living on-campus at Northwestern Michigan College when she saw Gordon Lightfoot at the Dome just after he released “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

“I’d seen lots of concerts by then in Washington, D.C.,” said Edwards, who now lives in Glen Arbor, and even remembers she was wearing painter pants to the show. “So it was a quaint feeling to be on bleachers in this tiny arena and seeing a concert.”

Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, a former TC resident, helped promote hockey there, Sarya adds.

The elder Sarya, who died in 2011, was a local orthodontist who opened the rink to give kids something to do. He had considered putting it at Chum’s Corner, but decided on the Barlow location to be within walking distance for more people.

Eggli’s fondest memories of the Dome have to do with playing drop-in hockey in the mornings and attending the Traverse City Bays hockey games. The Bays were a semi-pro team that played there from 1975 to 1977.

“We’d hand out programs as kids and get free admission,” he said.

Dr. Sarya sold the building and auctioned off the equipment in 1982. It is now listed for sale with David Frost of Three West Real Estate.
 


Most Recent Comments

 
bill on January 11, 2014 8:56pm

my father was the manager of the arena and back then and booked them to play along with Rush and Bob Hope and all the other acts.

Myra Lautner on March 21, 2013 5:16pm

My husband, Ben drove the Zamboni for Glacier Dome and worked with Dr. Sarya. Dr. Sarya put his heart and soul into the dome...

Rod Larkin on March 16, 2013 9:47pm

I was at the Styx/Kiss concert 11/20/75. My buddies & I were on the floor area pressed against the middle of the stage with the band just feet away. It was a real experience getting crushed against the stage as the crowd got agitated once they realized "the hottest band in the land" KISS was not going to perform. I was 18 at the time. REO was another great I got to see at the Glacier Dome & again- on the floor against the middle of the stage. I remember Gary Richrath shaking his head & having his sweat splatter on my face. Memories.

DonPi on March 4, 2013 12:36pm

Back then Traverse City was the cultural equivalent of Pellston! Dr. Sarya recognized the vast baby boomer kids and the numbers that poured out of the high schools each year and saw a real opportunity to give the community something it wanted; at the same time to have a real going business venture. The business community jeered him and hog tied his efforts, the young people applauded him and filled his arena every single concert. The hockey (high school and semi-semi pro) was lfedgling but made for good Friday night at the fights!

Karl Keene (Dewar) on March 3, 2013 1:36pm

Besides seeing Styx at the No Kiss concert, I saw Chubby Checker, Todd Rungren, Gordon Lightfoot & Head East/ Reo Speedwagon. My buddy & I helped the Reo Speedwagon road crew with the set up, and we got to be on stage with the band during the concert - holding up a wobbly/tipping speaker! Those were the days!

Karl Keene (Dewar) on March 3, 2013 1:31pm

The Styx/Kiss concert was scheduled for November 20, 1975. I went to celebrate my 20th birthday. The warm-up band was Styx - Id hardly heard of them, but I really loved their show.. Shortly after Styx was done the power went out. After a long delay word got out that the power was blown & the concert was cancelled. Lots of angry people started chanting "Piss on Kiss!" There was a stampede for the exits, and I recall helping several people who were in danger of being trampled in the darkness and confusion.

Kelly on March 3, 2013 9:56am

And Shanana!

Rosie on March 3, 2013 8:24am

I still have a scar on my thigh from an unfortunate ice skating accident @ Glacier Dome. Puncture wound. I remember being given smelling salts after I got woozy from seeing all that blood on the ice!

Pamela Lynch on March 3, 2013 7:32am

My mother, now 87 year old Marcia Lynch, managed the arena for Dr. Sarya. She has such fond memories of the Glacier Dome, the bands that came there, and the young guys who played hockey. In fact, when a family house burnt in 1996, it was one of these guys that she had befriended from hockey at the arena, Terry Loveland, who came and boarded it up for us.
Old Dr. Arne Sarya did A LOT for so many people and this community; Glacier Dome could be useful today!

Pat M on March 2, 2013 11:29am

Went to the Glacier to see Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet band on the live bullet tour. Best concert I have been to. Wish I could a gone to more there, the sound was good and the fact you were so close to the band made it a great experience.

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