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UD Arena Has Star-Studded Musical History

By Marcel Tworek

The University of Dayton Arena opened its doors in 1970 and has since become a staple of the University. And since the Arena opened its doors to the public, it also opened its doors to many talented bands and musicians over the years.

When someone nowadays thinks about the UD Arena, they usually picture the incredible men’s and women’s basketball teams or maybe how great it looks after some of its recent renovations. But there is a good chance many will not think about how Elvis Presley performed there three times in the ’70s. Dozens of incredible acts including Diana Ross, Queen, Elton John, Johnny Cash and others of all sorts of genres played UD Arena.

During my internship in the University of Dayton Archives, I got to dig through old photos and records to uncover as many acts as I could who have come to the University to perform. Close to 200 concerts have taken place at the Arena since it opened; however, fewer bands and musicians have come back. This is more so a matter of the Arena being built for basketball rather than concerts, but that is beside the point. I have gone through old editions of the Flyer News and records from the Arena and have uncovered some interesting band reviews as well as some great photos of some of the performances. The most amazing find, though, was on my first day. We uncovered an autographed photo of Liberace from one of his ’70s performances. He signed it to the person in charge of the Arena at the time.

Ticket timeline

This experience has been an exciting one, and I hope the timeline I have created for UD will stay around for years to come.

Further reading

A feature by student Ryan Wilker '16 in the Autumn 2015 issue of University of Dayton Magazine featured longtime University of Dayton Arena event services manager Gary McCans and his colorful archive of tickets from Arena acts. Read it here.

— Marcel Tworek is a senior history major from Westchester, Illinois. He played UD Arena in the fall of 2016 as a member of the University of Dayton Pep Band. He's played the trumpet since elementary school.


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