On this day in 1965, what was then called the Harris County Domed Stadium opened to the public. These days the Astrodome sits mournfully overlooking the empty lot that was Six Flags Astroworld, a testament to the fact that no one can think of what to do with an enormous structure that has outlived its original purpose.
Still, for me and millions of others the Dome remains a place of power and memory.
I saw my first concert there as part of the rodeo celebrations, and shared many great concerts later. Though I didn't attend, it warmed my heart to watch Wrestlemania XVII filmed live from the Astrodome. My heart went out to the older stars as they were forced to walk the enormous path to the ring in the Gimmick Battle Royal. My best friend in high school and I were avid baseball fans that would take advantage of discount seats at every opportunity.
The Astrodome has also been mentioned more than once in the world of pop music. Today's playlist is dedicated to the old girl, with hopes that one day in the future there will be some way for her to contribute to the lives of Houstonians once again.
Neil Young, "Pocahontas" This track from Rust Never Sleeps was inspired by the fact Marlon Brando refused to accept the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
Instead, he sent an Indian rights activist in his stead to address how Native Americans are portrayed in film. "Pocahontas" is a lament of the ever-expanding commercialism of America that recognizes the achievement of things like the Astrodome and the first TV, while never letting us forget what we've crushed to get here.
The Lonely Island, "We Like Sportz"
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As far as songs satirizing bros and their obsessions with sports and manliness you will never do better than... "Thank God I'm a Man" from Richard O'Brien's Shock Treatment. "We Like Sportz" is good, too, though. Using lame white guy rapping certainly adds another level to the ridiculousness of it all. Only three sports institutions get name-dropped in The Lonely Island's little ditty; The Super Bowl, Wimbledon, and our own Astrodome. That's good company to be in.
30footFALL, "Urine Nation": Let's have some local color... and that color is a healthy yellow. 30footFALL opens their punk anthem about having a shy bladder in line at the Astrodome waiting to relieve some pressure.
I personally never felt that having eight-year-olds peeing into a trough next to drunken middle-aged guys high on the anger of a botched double play was necessarily the best setup for a restroom, and apparently 30FF's Butch Klotz agrees with me.
"Andre the Giant Theme" As a Houstonian and a wrestling fan, it was always a source of inner conflict that I loved Andre the Giant, but was angry that he held the moniker of Eighth Wonder of the World that I felt rightfully belonged to the Astrodome. With Andre gone and the Astrodome closed, it seems time to bury that particular hatchet. Andre never had a dedicated entrance theme in his life, so I thought I'd use the one that accompanied his character in the Legends of Wrestling video game.
Brett Dennen, "Holidays are Here (And We're Still at War)" The Astrodome did see use one more time, of course, when it was used to shelter victims of Hurricane Katrina. While some people used that time to pen racist bullshit, for the most part Houston accepted and provided for a grateful populace who had had their homes destroyed.
It's just one of the many things that Brett Dennen talks about in his lovely, rambling account of the various people in trouble around the world. It warms me to know that amidst his list of tragedy, the Astrodome was able to be a place of comfort.
Relive the days when the Astrodome hosted the NFL's hottest cheerleaders with 13 Awesome Derrick Dolls Pictures, or poke fun at the increasingly ridiculous plans that have been submitted towards future use of the Dome.
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Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards, or tell him what Astrodome song he missed in the comments below.