20 Jul 2016
A farewell letter to a maker of memories, the Sydney Entertainment Centre
Yesterday I realeased myself from my self-imposed winter hibernation and walked the foreshore from Barangaroo all the way back towards Darling Harbour. Barangaroo at least, with its pop-up restaurants along the Wulugul walk, is beginning to look like something. Darling Harbour, on the other hand, is still a giant construction circus in the back, whilst on the harbour foreshore children play at the fairground attractions. Quite a stark contrast.
And then I arrived at my old playground. A place I had spent many a night, feet stomping, booty shaking and singing aloud. I can’t count the number of shows I witnessed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, a.k.a. the Qantas Credit Union in more recent years. At 13,000 capacity she was the biggest entertainment venue Sydney had until the Olympics came along and stole her thunder with the Superdome.
I witnessed Powerdfinger play their farewell “Sunsets Tour” here in September 2010. My heavily pregnant friend Caz and I stood all the way at the back of the venue when the band suddenly appeared on a little stage right next to us and played a handful of songs right by our side. #backtofront
I was at a party in October 2000 when a friend said he had a spare ticket to the Cure. Off we went to sit in the first row of the lower ring, facing the stage. It’s not often I get excited about having seats, but that night the band played 28 songs including 3 encores. The gig went well over 3 hours. #seatsplease
I’m a long time Queen Elton fan and have seen him play a handful of shows. But on my last visit we got so close to the front, we could hear him breathe. Along with a small crowd, we stood by the stage when he came along to sign autographs. We could have asked questions and touched him, but everyone in the front row was completely startled and it was deadly quiet while he signed his life away. #awkwardsilence
There have been lots and lots more. The Killers were my ‘welcome home’ gig after spending 4 years in London in November 2007. I found out I was a Lady Gaga fan after seeing her incredible stage production “Monster Ball” in 2008. Duran Duran made me re-live my childhood when they visited in 2008 and 2012, as did Def Leppard in 2011. Stevie Nicks made me fall in love with her all over again in November 2011 whilst Ed Sheeran single-handedly blew the roof off the house with just a guitar and a loop pedal in 2015.
This brings me to today. As I walked past this palace of entertainment, that’s created so many memories my heart broke just a little bit when I saw what’s left of it:
Bearing resemblance to the Roman Coliseum, it’s now open air seating is a mere remnant of proof of what it once was. Plans for its demise have been in place for years, but seeing it actually torn to shreds stings me in the heart just a little bit.
So, on that note my darling Entertainment Centre – I bid thee and the many experiences you hosted for me and my music loving youth a very fond farewell.
Goodbye, old friend. Thanks for the memories. xoxo
Here’s a glimpse of what the new ICC Sydney Theatre (capacity 9000) will look like, due to open December 2016 (skip to 1.14 to go straight to the Theatre)