#ErwinCenter40: Applause Flashback

The Frank Erwin Center opened its doors on Nov. 29, 1977. The population in Austin was 312,900 and gas cost about 62 cents per gallon. Now in it’s 40th year of existence, the arena has been home to a diverse history, ranging from breakthrough musical performances to visits from world leaders, including former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and the Dalai Lama. Much of our history has been memorialized on our blog and in previous print issues of Applause, the rest in our hearts and minds.

The very first issue of Applause was released in February of 1980. It featured a drawing of famed pantomimist Marcel Marceau on the cover along with information on his craft and his Feb. 23 appearance. The last printed issue was published in August 2013 and the online blog was born Sept. 1, 2013.

Take a stroll down memory lane with us as we take a glance at past March issues from Applause: The Entertainment Monthly of The Frank Erwin Center.

What was happening in March 1981?

Jimmy Buffett was performing on March 9 and ticket prices ranged from $7.50 to $9.50. The Lawrence Welk show returned to the Frank Erwin Center with options for a champagne brunch before or champagne dinner after. The issue also advertised upcoming performances from musical duo Anne Murray and Don Williams and Grammy Award-winning Texan Christopher Cross, as well as “the musical of the decade,” Chorus Line, and “the greatest show on ice,” the Ice Capades. The University Interscholastic League Basketball (UIL) Tournament, held at the Frank Erwin Center up until 2014, was also upcoming.

What was happening in March 1990?

Mickey graced the cover of this issue, several pages of which were filled with games and crosswords to help Austinites get ready for Walt Disney’s World on Ice: Mickey’s Diamond Jubilee. Also featured in this issue were upcoming appearances from The Cult, with ticket pricing at $15.50 or $17.50, and Whitesnake, touring to support their album “Slip of the Tongue.” This exciting issue also included a two-page feature on the one and only Cher, who visited the following month.

What was happening in March 1999?

This 1999 issue of Applause featured WWF, now known as WWE, WrestleMania on the cover, with full bios on Superstars The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin who were set to match up at the Frank Erwin Center on March 20. The Rock’s featured move at the time: “The Rock Bottom.” Stone Cold’s featured move at the time: “Stone Cold Stunner.” The issue also featured the upcoming Disney on Ice: The Little Mermaid.

What was happening in March 2000?

The cover of this issue featured The Wizard of Oz on Ice but is also notable for its mention of The Backstreet Boys, who were touring in support of their album “Millennium” and had just won “Most Creative Stage Production” from Pollstar. They lost the Pollstar award for Major Tour of the Year to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, who were also featured in this issue for their upcoming April performance.

What was happening in March 2006?

This issue featured George Lopez on the cover and highlighted upcoming shows from Nine Inch Nails, Kirk Franklin and Kenny Chesney with Special guest Dirks Bentley and Sugarland. It also advertised Comedy in The Fast Lane, the UIL Tournament and Disney on Ice.

What was happening in March 2010?

John Mayer graced the cover of this 2010 Applause, with additional features on Taylor Swift, Elton John and Carrie Underwood filling in an exciting Spring calendar at the Frank Erwin Center. The issue also mentioned the return of the Harlem Globetrotters and an appearance by comedian Jeff Dunham later in the year.

Visit the Frank Erwin Center website to see who's coming, and subscribe to Be the First to Know to get a jump on upcoming pre-sales and ticket giveaways.

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