1980s / Early 1990s Rock Concerts At The DECC

Lead singer Vince Neil exhorts the crowd during Motley Crue’s November 1985 concert in the Duluth Arena. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

Following up on the previous post, and the continued discussion at Perfect Duluth Day, here is a list of specifics for some of the other big 1980s and early 1990s-era rock concerts mentioned on the PDD comment thread:

Loverboy w/opening act Quarterflash, February 15, 1982 (sellout crowd of almost 8,000)

Loverboy w/opening act Quiet Riot, July 27, 1983 (attendance 7,250)

Bryan Adams performing at the Duluth Arena in July 1985. (John Rott / News-Tribune)


Bryan Adams w/opening act Kim Mitchell, July 19, 1985 (sellout crowd of almost 8,000)

Motley Crue w/opening act Autograph, November 5, 1985 (attendance 6,000)

Loverboy w/opening act the Hooters, March 30, 1986 (sellout crowd of almost 8,000)

David Lee Roth w/opening act Tesla, February 7, 1987 ("near-capacity" crowd)

Bryan Adams w/opening act the Hooters, July 26, 1987 (no attendance figure listed)

Poison, 1988: (left to right) drummer Rikki Rockett, lead vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist C.C. DeVille and bassist Bobby Dall. (Capitol Records publicity photo)


Poison w/opening act Britny Fox, November 6, 1988 (sellout crowd of almost 8,000)

Motley Crue w/opening act Faster Pussycat, March 11, 1990 (attendance 8,100)

Tesla w/opening act Firehouse, August 11, 1992 ("half-full" DECC Arena)

Motley Crue apparently also played a Duluth concert in November 1998, w/opening act Nobody; I only found a preview article – no post-concert review.


I cannot find the "KISS" file, so, alas, no info on that concert at this time.


Added concerts based on comments:

Ozzy Osbourne w/opening act Starfighters, January 17, 1982 (attendance 4,000)

Ozzy Osbourne w/opening act Ratt, April 22, 1984 (attendance about 3,150)

Sorry, I couldn’t find a Van Halen file.


Unless noted, for every concert listed above there is a review in the archives. There is also a Q and A from 1982 with Loverboy bassist Scott Smith, and one from 1985 with Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. And there are publicity photos for everyone. But that is a LOT of typing and scanning. So, if I get at least a few E-MAIL (akrueger@duluthnews.com) requests for any given review and/or Q and A and/or publicity photo, I’ll type/scan in and post the requested item.

Interested in seeing stuff from another concert of this era that I missed? Post a comment or send an e-mail with the band’s name, and I’ll see if I can find it in the archives.

24 Responses

  1. Lynn

    Kiss performed in Duluth Oct 4 1979 in the arena. Opening act was Johnny Cougar, who later changed his name to John Mellencamp

  2. Al. J

    I just found an old ticket stub in one of my school yearbooks the other day. Its from the Judas Priest concert at the Duluth Arena Sunday January 30 1983 7:30 pm. Have a few old news articles that were tucked away in it too.

  3. Michael J.

    Back to the 70’s…Ronnie Montrose, Journey and Van Halen in the auditorium (we went to see Montrose, played 40 minutes then 2 “new bands” performed with girls screaming…we walked out during the 3rd Van Halen song after a copy had to subdue a “groupie”…Pablo Cruise performed great and 3 months later opened ofr the Doobie Brothers “Takin’ To the Streets’ tour. Others I saw were Steppenwolf, Santanna (great) Seals and Croft (came back on stage after their show to talk about the Bahai religion), ZZ Top, Heart, J Geils Band, Firefall, Cheech and Chong,and Chicago.(Anyone have pics from their 1973 concert?)
    Duluth eventually got tagged as being a hard rock/metal venue according to a number of promoters I worked with…great times for concerts!

  4. Mac

    The KISS concert on 5/27/90 also included Slaughter and Faster Pussycat. And the Cinderella show on 7/12/89 included Winger and Bulletboys. Also to add: A previous blogger thought there was a KISS show from ’79 with opening act John Cougar. It’s true, I was there. The crowd booed Mellencamp off the stage. They were there for KISS

  5. clm

    I just happened to be looking at my old ticket stubs

    3/15/1986 Kiss DECC Arena
    12/11/1987 Whitesnake DECC Arena
    12/5/1988 Poison DECC Arena
    5/28/1989 Bad Company
    7/12/1989 Cinderella DECC Arena
    3/11/1990 Motley Crue DECC Arena
    5/27/1990 Kiss DECC Arena
    12/9/1990 Poison
    2/27/1991 Damn Yankees DECC Arena
    6/2/1991 Warrant DECC Arena

  6. Rob

    Forgot to add the BEST one! Ozzy on Easter Sunday! The whole town was in an uproar over that one. My mother to this day is STILL disappointed that I left Easter Dinner early to go to the concert!

  7. ROb

    After one of the Van Halen concerts – after the concert there were a large group of us (Dozens of us, however I just watched) who ran down the then recently completed skywalk to the Arena and tore down all of the ceiling panels that were never replaced after that. Funny, Van Halen didn’t play the arena after that…

  8. Lees

    I saw RATT at the Arena, but I don’t recall seeing Ozzy; so RATT must have been the headliner. Don’t recall the date. My friends and I were able to get backstage passes from the roadies. We were told the band was stayng at the Raddisson. All of us went there and hand to hang out in the lobby while the band was in the bar (were were underage). When the band went up to their rooms, we were allowed to follow them but had to stay in the hallway. Finally a few of them came out for autographs. My backstage pass was autographed by Warren DeMartini.

    I also recall that when Kiss was here they went bowling somewhere in West Duluth, and several fans were allowed to bowl with them.

  9. Sue

    I have ticket stubs for:
    MEGADETH; opening bands were Sevendust, Monstermagnet at the DECC Auditorum Sunday June 21, 1998.
    Sammy Hagar; special guest Krokus at the Duluth Arena Sunday October 7, 1984.
    Sammy Hagar; Duluth Arena Friday April 29,1983 $10.50.
    Sammy Hagar; Sunday November 23,1997 DECC Auditorum.
    The Charlie Daniels Band at the Duluth Arena Sunday November 21, 1982.
    Pat Benatar; Tuesday November 16,1982 at the Duluth Arena.
    38 Special with Eddie Money; June 22, 1984 at the Duluth Arena.
    Maybe check with the local radio stations for the listings of concerts in our city.

  10. Dan

    Some of us are really, really old and went to concerts at the DECC in the 70s. Anything in the archives about those shows? Off the top of my head going back about 30 years (and don’t laugh…we took what we could get back then), I remember Cheap Trick, KISS, Teg Nugent, Styx, Doobie Brothers, Molly Hatchet (sucked), Seals & Crofts, Dr. Hook, Eddie Money, Pablo Cruise. Some were headliners, some were opening acts. There’s probably more that I don’t remember.

  11. Jim M.

    I saw Jefferson Starship with The Outfield at the Arena around 1985. The Outfield had to stop playing because the crowd got too out of hand. Jefferson Starship were awful. They had to restart a few songs because Grace Slick was wasted. I also saw Krokus with Dokken around the same time period. I caught Dokken’s drumstick!

  12. Larry

    1/18/77 Kiss
    4/29/77 Elvis
    4/29/78 Van Halen
    7/19/79 Cheap Trick
    10/08/83 The Tubes
    05/08/88 Jay Leno
    05/18/88 INXS
    08/06/89 George Thorogood
    09/04/96 Soul Asylum
    09/30/96 Melissa Etheridge
    11/23/97 Sammy Hagar
    02/28/98 Violent Femmes
    10/22/98 Bob Dylan
    11/13/98 Aerosmith
    07/03/99 Bob Dylan
    04/28/01 Violent Femmes

  13. Brian M.

    Also, I was working at KQDS in ’87 when Bryan Adams and the Hooters played, and we had a promotional cruise with them on the Vista. The lead singer for The Hooters hit on my soon-to-be wife the entire cruise, and Bryan Adams gave her an autograph that said “To Jue”, instead of “To Sue”.

  14. Michelle L.

    Wow, talk about bring me back! As a teenager of the 80’s, I went to almost all those concerts listed in the 80’s.

    I went to the KISS concert. I still have the original review cut out from my grandparents newspaper. This article made me go dig out my dusty scrapbook from that time, I can’t believe I still have this stuff! KISS was here March 13. I couldn’t find a date but I think it was 1985. One of the articles I have before the show mentioned the recently released album “Animalize” which was released in September 1984. They were here with Dokken. Tickets were $11 + a 25 cent service charge. Those were the days! I loved 1985! It was an awesome year for concerts in Duluth!

  15. Brian M.

    I know that Pat Benatar also played to a full house in the ’80s. That was an excellent show. Also, The Tubes were here and I got Fee Waybill’s autograph in the back parking lot of the Arena. (I still can’t bring myself to call it the DECC….)

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