Readers share their Mercer Arena memories

For decades, Seattle Center's Mercer Arena served as an all-purpose venue, hosting hundreds of high-school graduations, the city's first professional women's basketball team, even Microsoft.

We asked readers to share their memories about the 78-year-old arena. Here's a sample.

"I remember going to see Seattle Opera's wonderful production of "Madama Butterfly" there in 2001, and chuckling to myself about how I'd seen Green Day and the Riverdales put on a very different great show in the exact same spot in 1995."

Sid Spencer, Seattle

"Watching Bruce Springsteen on his second visit here. It was a Christmas show with The Big Man as Santa. Bruce came back for a last encore after half the people left."

Mickey Rousso, Bothell, WA

"I saw what ended up being Nirvana's last U.S. show at the then-Seattle Center Arena. It was the best concert I've ever attended. I remember watching Kurt playing a guitar solo and thinking, 'I'm watching the Jimi Hendrix of my generation.' They were both leftys and born in Washington. I wish I hadn't been so correct, as they also both died at age 27."

— Beau Lynott, San Diego, CA

"I remember going to Seattle U games at the old arena. The seats were always good and close enough to the court. I also saw a few concerts. I feel the building should be saved and converted back to its original use. A 5,500 seat arena is always useful if managed correctly."

— John Berkowitz, Chicago, Il

"In the late 60's, my dad took me to the Arena to see Roller Derby with the original "Blonde Bomber," Joanie Weston! It was truly an evening I will never forget."

— Lisa Minerich, Bothell, WA

"When the Arena was still the Armory, I used to take ice skating lessons early in the morning during the week. There was also a weekly skating session on Saturday afternoon. This was during the early 1960's."

— Bonita Corliss, Seattle

"Mercer Arena has always been, by far, my favorite venue. One of my first crowd surfing experiences was there, I saw the best bands, I even met one them. I will always remember licking the backs of other people's hands to get their stamp to transfer so I could get into the crowd. It was just big enough to feel like you were a part of something substantial, but small enough to still be intimate. I haven't been there for years, but I often think about all the fun I had there."

— Michelle, Seattle

"A year before I graduated high school at Mercer Arena in 1994, I floated atop a moshpit to the front of the stage where a bemused lead singer and I shared a glance and a smile. That lead singer... now deceased (and replaced) Michael [Hutchence] from INXS. That's right, moshing to INXS — only in early 90's Seattle, and my best Mercer Arena memory."

— Patrick Meagher, Seattle

"Hockey in Seattle was never the same after the Thunderbirds left the Mercer St. Arena. An intimate, loud arena that was an outstanding place to watch a hockey game was replaced by an expensive warehouse with poor sightlines and $9 beers. Many of the NHL's top players and coaches played in the old Mercer Arena over the years. Joe Sakic, Petr Nedved, Theo Fleury, Grant Fuhr, Mike Modano and Ken Daneyko to name a few. And who can forget the year ESPN's Barry Melrose and his legendary mullet were behind the Seattle bench?"

— Jay Gewin, Key West, FL

"Saw the article online and immediately thought of my graduation — Shoreline High School class of 1968. Took the girl out of Seattle, but cannot take Seattle out of the girl."

— Constance Krug, Yorkville, IL