RPI Fieldhouse Is Back in the Concert Business

By Greg Haymes

Well, I gotta admit that I had pretty much written off RPI’s Houston Field House as one of the Local 518 premier concert venues. The fact of the matter is that I can’t even remember the last concert that was booked into the Troy hockey arena – was it John Mayer back in 2002? – or the last concert that I saw there.

But once upon a time – at least before the Knickerbocker/Pepsi/Times Union Center was built in Albany – the RPI fieldhouse was a bastion of great concerts, often one after another. I have vivid memories of seeing a whole wide and wonderful range of concerts there – from the Clash to Frank Zappa to Bob Dylan. And double-bills that ran the gamut from Mahavishnu Orchestra/Frampton’s Camel to Stevie Ray Vaughan/Jeff Beck to Neil Young & Crazy Horse/Sonic Youth, from Merle Haggard/the Judds to Metallica/Queensryche to Beastie Boys/Public Enemy. And back on November 5, 1991, I experienced one of the most mind-melting performances I’ve witnessed – the absolutely electrifying Pearl Jam opening up the triple-bill with Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Well, it seems as though RPI’s Houston Field House is getting back in the concert business after an oh-so-long hiatus…

In support of their new album, Glossamer, Passion Pit will inaugurate the field house’s return to live music with a concert at 8pm on Monday, February 11. Doors open at 7pm, and opening the show will be Matt & Kim. Priced at $35 in advance, tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday (December 7). Tickets will be $38 on the day of the show.

And the best news comes from the folks at Step Up Presents, who are co-producing the concert with UPAC Concerts. Their press release regarding the Passion Pit concludes with the sentence, “We hope to continue utilizing this great facility in the future.”

  1. Angelos says

    I was at the Stever/Jeff Beck show, and the Pearl Jam/Pumpkins/RHCP show. Amazing stuff. Also Iron Maiden, Live (unofficial first show of the tour), Living Color…

  2. Miss Blankenship says

    I saw the Clash and Seals and Crofts — but in different decades.

  3. DaveMc says

    I have to say the Grateful Dead but with Zappa, Dylan, Neil and the stray Gators, The Clash it is hard to pick. So many great memories……

  4. LiLi says

    Blotto played there about 1984, didn’t they? I think I still have the ticket stub.

  5. Terry M says

    loved Nei Young with Crazy Horse with Sonic Youth opening, but my favorite was Stevie Wonder

  6. mark g. says

    Social Distortion opened for Sonic Youth and Neil Young /Crazy Horse . Great show.!

  7. J Hunter says

    The first time I saw Blotto was at RPI Fieldhouse in ’88. They opened a three-band bill headlined by the Hooters. I also saw Yes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers there. (on different nights, obviously…)

  8. Mike H says

    Was at that Chili Peppers/Pumpkins/Pearl Jam show also – mind-melting indeed!
    I was a big Sonic Youth fan when they opened for Neil Young, and remember my older brother and his girlfriend talking about people booing them (my 15 yr old self couldn’t afford a ticket). Good times : )

  9. Scott C. says

    I saw a fantastic Jane’s Addiction concert at RPI when they were really at the top of their game. The opener was a dreamy band called Lush. Not the only lush i’ve ever seen in Troy, but you didn’t ask me that.

  10. LP says

    Yeah Stevie Wonder was amazing….and I believe he retired after that show…….

  11. Darryl Rabideau says

    Was at the Peppers/Pumpkins/Pearl Jam show. The first of many Pearl Jam shows for me ( 50+ and counting). An amazing night for sure. Sadly, Pearl Jam were never mentioned in the Metroland review at the time.

  12. TL says

    Springsteen in ’78, Janes Addiction sometime in the early 90’s, and of course the Clash in ’82! The sound sucked and I had someone the size of Andre the Giant in front of me the whole show, but it did not matter. It was the Clash! I also went to lots of shows there not because I liked the bands, but just to hang out with friends (ELP and Boston come to mind).

  13. Alan G. says

    Practically all of the concerts I saw at the Fieldhouse were in the 1980’s. That was a huge concert-going decade for me – seems like I was doing one or two a week. Zappa, Neil Young, Marshall Crenshaw, Yes, and probably my most scary experience at a show was for The Clash. As I recall, Kurtis Blow was going to be the opener, but instead was replaced by a band called Khmer Rouge. The crowd was pressed against the stage, with me being in the second layer of people. It was a very roudy scene, in an excitable way, but the throng of humanity was swaying in all directions and at times I felt that we were gonna go down. All I could think about was that Who concert in Cincinnati a couple of years earlier. Someone had these buttons that said “It’s A Fuckin’ War” and was throwing them at the stage – one of which hit Joe Strummer right between the eyes. I could see the blood oozing out. As much as I liked The Clash, I breathed a big sigh of relief when it was over.

  14. Steve Del Signore says

    My first RPI show was in 1981, Cheap Trick with UFO opening and was I pissed!!! UFO being my favorite band at the time and I got there in advance of the start time to find that UFO was already halfway through their set. Not a good memory.

  15. Fred Rudofsky says

    I was at the Jeff Beck/ SRV and Double Trouble show in ’89. Beck was playing well but given the trio format he was favoring it was a synth heavy set. Stevie Ray Vaughan was sensational, in voice and guitar, and his band was with him like they were sharing a soul. The songs from IN STEP were so powerful and optimistic. It was incredibly loud.

  16. Troy Red says

    Springsteen in ’78 really stands out; The Clash seemed apathetic to me (too bad!); Cheap Trick was surprisingly impressive; Zappa was self-indulgent; Supertramp was surprisingly satisfying; The Grateful Dead….geez, why can’t I remember any clear details of that show????

  17. Stanley Johnson says

    The Clash in October 1982 was the most disappointing show I’ve ever seen by a band I really loved (and still do) because they played poorly (compared to other shows on the same tour which you can find on the internet) and because they blasted the audience with two banks of blinding lights all through the show. It gave me a headache and I couldn’t even watch the band. I saw Neil Young at RPI three different times, including twice with Crazy Horse, but the most memorable Neil show was with the International Harvesters when it was about 98 degrees. When they played Southern Pacific it felt like I was actually on a train. I also remember an impressive show there by Sting. The real issue for new shows there will be parking.

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