The Omni Coliseum was an indoor arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Completed in 1972, the arena seated 16,378 for basketball and 15,278 for hockey. It was part of the Omni Complex, now known as the CNN Center. And yes it is just the “Omni” to all of us, the Omni Coliseum was just the official moniker.
It was the home arena for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association from 1972 until the arena’s closure in 1997 and the Atlanta Flames of the National Hockey League from their inception in 1972 until 1980,
when the franchise was sold and relocated to Calgary, Alberta. It hosted the 1977 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, the 1988 Democratic National Convention, and the 1996 Summer Olympics indoor volleyball competition.
The Omni was considered an architectural marvel that combined an innovative roof, seating, and structural designs. The logo is based on the unique seating arrangement. The exterior cladding was composed of Cor-Ten weathering steel, which is covered in rust; the idea was that the steel would continue to rust to the point where the rusted exterior would form a protective seal, making a solid steel structure that would last for decades.
The Omni was noted for its distinctive space frame roof, often joked about as looking like an egg crate or a rusty waffle iron. Designed by the firm tvsdesign with structural engineering work by the firm of Prybylowski and Gravino, the roof was technically described as an ortho-quad truss system.
One of the sites, where I got a lot of my information, stated that Alice Cooper/ Flo & Eddie was the first concert at the Omni but this was false. I have even now found 1972 shows and a Grand Opening concert poster showing Cat Stevens as the first concert in the Omni. Cat Stevens/ Ramblin’ Jack Elliott played at the Omni on October 30, 1972, and Elton John/ Family performed on November 15, 1972.
The Omni Coliseum hosted 221 concerts over its lifespan. ZZ Top, Elvis Presley (4 shows), and the Jackson 5 would bring their World Tour through Atlanta in 1973. The Friends of Distinction/ José Feliciano/ Wilson Pickett/ The Main Ingredient/ Linda Hopkins played the Omni on January 15, 1973, Neil Young/ Linda Ronstadt played on January 31, 1973, Santana played on March 11, 1973, Alice Cooper, on March 23, 1973, his Billion Dollar Babies tour.
The Beach Boys/Bruce Springsteen was on April 11, 1973, The Temptations/The Spinners on April 30, 1973, Chuck Berry played at the Omni on May 11, 1973, and on May 19, 1973, Jethro Tull on Sunday, May 20, 1973, Little Richard performed on May 27, 1973, the Rock & Roll Revival came to the Omni with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, The Shirelles, and Bobby Comstock,
the Allman Brothers Band drove up from Macon, Georgia to perform on June 2, 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis played on June 4, 1973, Deep Purple would rock the Omni with their new song, “Smoke on the Water” on June 18, 1973, Edgar Winter was there June 25, 1973, Three Dog Night/ T.Rex/ Mountain performed July 29, 1973, Grand Funk Railroad played August 10, 1973,
Rory Gallagher/ The Faces performed on September 14, 1973, Gladys Knight & the Pips/ Donny Hathaway played on September 16, 1973, The Moody Blues played on November 6, 1973,
Brownsville Station/Johnny Winter, Stevie Wonder/Rufus, Jefferson Airplane/Fleetwood Mac, Focus/ Spencer Davis performed on November 18, 1973, Al Green/ The Stylistics/ Osibisa played November 25, 1973, The Who brought their Quadraphenia Tour to the Omni on November 27, 1973 (Lynyrd Skynyrd opened), The Grateful Dead played on December 12, 1973.
In 1974, Bob Dylan (2 shows), Deep Purple, and ZZ Top dropped in on their Worldwide Texas Tour, The O’Jays/ Sly & The Family Stone/ Ramsey Lewis performed on January 14, 1974, and Bob Dylan & The Band came on his Planet Waves tour January 21 & 22, 1974, Emerson, Lake & Palmer came to the Omni on their Brain Salad Surgery Tour January 24, 1974, Black Sabbath played February 7, 1974 on their Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Tour, Johnny Winter/ Brownsville Station/ Thunderhead played March 4, 1974, Deep Purple came by on their Burn tour March 11, 1974, Humble Pie/ Spooky Tooth/ Montrose played March 18, 1974, Joni Mitchell performed April 6, 1974, Frank Sinatra performed April 13, 1974, Poco/ The J. Geils Band played April 23, 1974, Marvin Gaye played April 24, 1974, The Temptations/ The Spinners performed on May 3, 1974, Seals & Crofts played May 16, 1974, Golden Earring/ Alvin Lee And Ten Years After played May 22, 1974, Maria Muldaur opened for The Grateful Dead June 20, 1974,
James Brown Performed July 6, 1974, Uriah Heep/ Babe Ruth/ Manfred Mann dropped by July 7, 1974, Jerry Lee Lewis played July 12, 1974, and December 7, 1974, Cat Stevens/ Linda Lewis played July 14, 1974, Randy Meisner performed July 30, 1974 (and again in September), Eric Clapton played August 1, 1974, Atlanta Rhythm Section/ ZZ Top performed Aug 30, 1974, The O’Jays played September 6, 1974, Eagles/ Joe Walsh & Barnstorm played September 27, 1974,
Santana/ Golden Earing performed on October 2, 1974, Little Feat/ Traffic played on October 16, 1974, Fleetwood Mac/ Jefferson Starship played on October 31, 1974, Elton John played on November 10, 1974, on his “Elton John Band Tour 1974”, George Harrison /Ravi Shankar November 28, 1974, Gryphon opened for Yes November 30, 1974, Yes performed November 30, 1974, on their Relayer Tour, David Bowie on December 1, 1974, on his Diamond Dogs Tour, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Killer, played December 30, 1974.
In 1975 Jethro Tull brought their War Child tour to the Omni on Jan 20, 1975, The Beach Boys returned, this time with Billy Joel, Elvis Presley would play 3 more shows, Grand Funk Railroad played February 1, 1975, John Denver played the Omni on April 5 & 6, 1975, Alice Cooper brought his Welcome to my Nightmare Tour on April 13, 1975, and May 26, 1975 (with Suzi Quatro on the April date),
Earth, Wind & Fire brought their That’s the Way of the World Tour on May 18, 1975, Mac Davis performed June 7, 1975, Lynyrd Skynyrd/ The Charlie Daniels Band played July 5, 1975, Ten Years After played July 23, 1975, The Rolling Stones played July 30, 1975, on their Tour of the Americas, Parliament-Funkadelic performed August 1, 1975,
Rod Stewart played on August 19, 1975, and Uriah Heep played Aug 31, 1975, on their Return to Fantasy Tour, and ZZ Top brought their Fandango! Tour on September 13, 1975, Faces played September 24, 1975, Uriah Heep / Blue Oyster Cult performed on September 26, 1975,
The Doobie Brothers/ Heartsfield played on October 12, 1975, Aerosmith performed their Toys in the Attic Tour on October 19, 1975, Foghat played November 8, 1975, Toots & The Maytals opened for the Who on their The Who by Numbers Tour on November 24, 1975, and on December 5, 1975, Rush / Styx / KISS / Leslie West Band played at what must have been a great show!
1976 would see the return of David Bowie (Station to Station tour), Cat Stevens played on January 18, 1976, Deep Purple/ Rory Gallagher/Nazareth performed on February 3, 1976, and Electric Light Orchestra brought their “A New World Record” tour to the Omni on March 10, 1976, Kansas played on April 1, 1976, America/ Burton Cummings played on April 12, 1976, Uriah Heep/ Skyhooks/ Foghat performed on April 25, 1976, Tony Orlando & Dawn played on May 5, 1976, Paul McCartney brought his Wings Over America tour to the Omni on May 18 and May 19, 1976, Aerosmith/ Henry Gross played on May 22, 1976,
Yes was back June 3, 1976, with their Solo Albums Tour, Elvis Presley (4 shows), Eagles/ Fleetwood Mac performed on July 3, 1976, Randy Meisner / Fleetwood Mac, Elton John brought his Louder Than Concorde Tour to the Omni July 16, 1976, Jethro Tull came on their Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour with Rory Gallagher on July 29, 1976,
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons played on August 27, 1976, The Marshall Tucker Band was with Jimmy Buffet who brought his Pink Crustacean Tour on September 3, 1976, Jefferson Starship played on September 14, 1976, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson brought country music to the Omni on October 8, 1976, Frank Zappa performed on October 17, 1976, Earth, Wind & Fire/ The Emotions played November 16, 1976,
Eric Clapton dropped in with his No Reason To Cry tour on November 9, 1976, John Denver played on November 18, 1976. Robin Trower/Boston on November 23, 1976, Boston returned on December 5, 1976, playing their debut album in the “Toys for Tots Concert” also featuring Starbuck/ Dr. Hook/ The Manhattans and Styx, and the year ended with Parliament-Funkadelic/Bootsy’s Rubber Band/ Wild Cherry on 12/31/1976.
1977 saw the return of the Beach Boys on January 9, 1977, Foghat/Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band/Rick Derringer dropped by January 20, 1977, and Ted Nugent opened for Black Sabbath when they rocked the Omni on their Technical Ecstasy Tour on January 26, 1977, Thin Lizzy/Queen performed February 21, 1977, Rush/ Blue Öyster Cult/ REO Speedwagon played February 27, 1977, Led Zeppelin appeared on their last North American Tour on April 23, 1977, Pink Floyd came by April 26, 1977, on their Animals Tour,
Fleetwood Mac performed their Rumours tour on June 1, 1977, The Eagles performed at the Omni June 19-20, 1977 on their Hotel California World Tour (Andrew Gold opened and Steve Miller joined them for their final encore on the 19th), Emerson, Lake & Palmer brought their progressive rock Works Orchestral Tour to the Omni June 23, 1977,
Bad Company/ .38 Special played June 26, 1977, Ted Nugent /Foreigner / Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush came to the Omni on July 4, 1977, Donovan opened for Yes as they returned on August 25, 1977, on their Going for the One Tour tour, Willie Nelson/ Emmylou Harris played on August 27, 1977, Peter Frampton performed August 29, 1977, Peter Frampton/ .38 Special played August 30 & 31, 1977, Commodores/ The Emotions played on September 4 & 5, 1977,
Chicago/Tom Jones performed October 17, 1977, Jethro Tull played November 7, 1977, on their Songs From the Wood tour, The Doobie Brothers/ Pablo Cruise played November 10, 1977, Crosby, Stills & Nash played November 14, 1977, Rod Stewart performed November 20, 1977,
Queen brought their A Day at the Races Tour on December 8, 1977, Kiss dropped in again on December 30, 1977, on their Love Gun Tour, and Ted Nugent/ Golden Earing closed out the year on December 31, 1977.
Aerosmith played on their Draw the Line tour on January 10, 1978, Earth, Wind & Fire performed on January 22,23 & 24, 1978, Sammy Hagar/ Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush/ Nazareth played on February 23, 1978,
Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson/Jessi Colter performed on March 2, 1978, Emerson, Lake & Palmer performed on their Works Tour on March 9, 1978, John Denver performed on April 3, 1978, The Hardy Boys’ Shaun Cassidy performed on April 6, 1978, Raydio played April 28, 1978, Foghat was back on April 29, 1978, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band/ Sweet played on May 6, 1978, Aerosmith dropped on May 15, 1978, on their Live! Bootleg Tour, REO Speedwagon performed June 12, 1978,
REO Speedwagon/ Rainbow. Nantucket played June 24, 1978, Kansas played June 23, 1978, Electric Light Orchestra/ Trickster performed the Out of the Blue tour July 6 & 7, 1978, Jimmy Buffett returned July 18, 1978, on his Cheeseburger in Paradise Tour, Willie Nelson/ Emmylou Harris played Jul 23, 1978, Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge played August 17, 1978, Fleetwood Mac performed August 29, 1978, on their Rumours Tour,
The Beach Boys/Jan and Dean/Le Roux, Black Sabbath (Oct and Nov), Heart performed on their Little Queen tour on September 28, 1978, Genesis played October 4, 1978, on their “And Then There Were Three” tour, Foreigner/ Cars played on October 5, 1978 (Double Vision Tour and the Cars were incredible),
Neil Young & Crazy Horse played on October 10, 1978, Kenny Rogers played on October 22, 1978, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band came on his Stranger in Town tour on October 26, 1978, Van Halen and the Ramones opened for Black Sabbath on November 13, 1978, Moody Blues performed November 14, 1978, and Bob Dylan returned.
Styx came on their Pieces of Eight tour on November 16, 1978, Billy Joel performed his 52nd Street Tour on November 26, 1978, Neil Diamond performed on December 17 & 18, 1978, and The Toy for Tots concert featured Dr. Hook/ Melisa Ethridge/ Michael McDonald/ The Village People/ Paul Davis and Eddie Money was December 3, 1978.
Boston/Sammy Hagar performed on January 11, 1979, Stevie Wonder played the Omni on January 15, 1979, Parliament-Funkadelic/ The Brides of Funkenstein performed on February 25, 1979, Lawrence Welk brought his champagne music on March 4, 1979,
Gino Vannelli played on March 19, 1979, Barry White/ Instant Funk played on March 24, 1979, Natalie Cole/ Sister Sledge performed on March 31, 1979, Willie Nelson/ Leon Russell Performed April 8, 1979, Diana Ross Played April 19, 1979, Muddy Waters brought his modern Chicago blues to the Omni on April 21, 1979 opening for Eric Clapton on April 21, 1979,
Rod Stewart played on April 25, 1979, The New Barbarians (Ronnie Wood & Keith Richards’ band) was there on May 10, 1979, Tom Jones played on May 11, 1979, Supertramp brought their Breakfast in America tour on May 15, 1979, Nazareth/ Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush came on June 12, 1979, Yes performed on their Tormato tour “In the Round” (incredible show) on June 25, 1979, KISS rocked the Omni on their Dynasty Tour, Bad Company brought their Desolation Angels tour on August 15, 1979 opening for Ted Nugent who played August 14, 1979, on his State of Shock tour,
The Rockets played August 18, 1979, Blue Öyster Cult/Ian Hunter played September 7, 1979, Kenny Rogers/ Dottie West/ The Oak Ridge Boys played October 15, 1979, The Outlaws/ Molly Hatchet played on October 25, 1979,
Billy Joel performed on November 4, 1979, Earth, Wind & Fire played on November 7, 1979, the BeeGees, Kansas, Jimmy Buffett, Boston, and Jethro Tull returned on their Stormwatch tour, The Eagles brought their Long Run Tour on November 11 & 12, 1979,
Foreigner came on their Head Games tour on November 15, 1979, Styx played on November 18, 1979, The Jacksons came by the Omni again on November 25, 1979, on their Destiny World Tour, Kool & the Gang performed on November 29, 1979, Mother’s Finest opened for Aerosmith December 18, 1979, on their Night in the Ruts tour, and ZZ Top/Point Blank closed out the year on New Year’s Eve.
I’ll continue this series next time with the 80s at the Omni.
- Weathering steel, often referred to by the genericized trademark COR-TEN steel and sometimes written without the hyphen as corten steel, is a group of steel alloys that were developed to eliminate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance after several years of exposure to weather. U.S. Steel (USS) holds the registered trademark on the name COR-TEN. The name COR-TEN refers to the two distinguishing properties of this type of steel: corrosion resistance and tensile strength. Although USS sold its discrete plate business to International Steel Group (now ArcelorMittal) in 2003, it still sells COR-TEN branded material in the strip-mill plate and sheet forms. The original COR-TEN received the standard designation A242 (COR-TEN A) from the ASTM International standards group. Newer ASTM grades are A588 (COR-TEN B) and A606 for thin sheets. All alloys are in common production and use. The surface oxidation of weathering steel takes six months, but surface treatments can accelerate the oxidation to as little as one hour. [Back]
- TVS is an architecture, planning, and interior design firm in Atlanta. Founded in 1968 by Bill Thompson, Tom Ventulett, and Ray Stainback, tvsdesign has designed several notable buildings in greater Atlanta and beyond throughout the years, including the Omni Coliseum and Complex, the Georgia Dome, the AT&T Promenade buildings, the CNN Center, the Concourse at Landmark Center in Sandy Springs, the Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia World Congress Center buildings, and the to-be-completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Back]