The great poets known as Oingo Boingo say “Nothing Lasts Forever.” A truer statement has never been so front and center to the lives of so many in Orange County. Case in point, the Orange County music landscape received the official notice that the curtains at FivePoint Amphitheatre have come down for the last time.
It did not matter if you wanted to go to the Headbanger’s Ball, or Reggae – Ska Night; if Country is your jam, or if you want to rap the night away. Whatever floats your boat, musically speaking of course, there was always something for you at FivePoint Amp.
What does this mean? Well, there are no large, open-air musical venues that attracted the kind of bands you could see at FivePoint as of today. The questions we all want to know is: How did we get here and where are we headed?
First and foremost, this is not the end of live music in Orange County. Hardly. There are great venues where we can all get our live music fix. There’s Pacific Amphitheatre, but it’s a much smaller venue. Then there is The Honda Center for the larger-than-life shows. Down the street in Anaheim there’s the House of Blues. There are the smaller venues, too, where you can get your in-your-face fix like The Garden Amp, The Observatory, The Tiki Bar, The Wayfarer, Chain Reaction, and The Doll Hut. There will be live music in Orange County, so no need to be too concerned.
That said, FivePoint has a special place in the hearts of many concertgoers. It evolved from what used to be Irvine Meadows. Can’t forget the great shows there; home of so many KROQ Weenie Roasts. Can you say Lollapalooza?!
That venue (later known as Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre) had its run from 1981 to 2016. Anyone who made that trek remembers the walks from the parking lot, hearing lions in the distance from Lion Country Safari. Sadly, those are all memories from yesteryear.
The next evolution opened not too long thereafter, and that was FivePoint in 2017 (with seat and standing room capacity of 12,000 souls). No matter what your music taste was, we all got to see the biggest names in the world of music. The acts that came through that place were the who’s who of music.
We saw the likes of Kiss, Rob Zombie, Dave Matthews Band, The Offspring, Godsmack, Willie Nelson, Chicago, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Avett Brothers, Foreigner, Blink-182, Social Distortion, Dirty Heads, Snoop Dogg, Weezer, and so many more.
So, what makes a legendary venue legendary? One would think it’s the names of the bands that have played there, or the sheer scope of the size of the joint, or the amount of time the venue has been around. Yes, these are all true factors on what makes any venue a success.
For many, it goes beyond that; it is the memories that were made at those venues, fans seeing their sonic heroes, and for a brief moment in time being a teenager again and touching your youth through the music you love.
That is the magic of any successful music venue, and that is what I will miss most. The people you meet, the experiences you have, and mostly being able to say I was there when I got to see my favorite band. This experience is not lost on anyone who loves music. That is why the loss of such a place hit us all harder than we thought.
What’s next? It is hard to gauge at this time. LiveNation made a bid to try and work out a deal with the city of Irvine for a permanent location. Sadly, the parties could not come to an agreement that allowed this to happen. That is the genesis of the message – after Saturday’s Zac Brown Band show, we all received the words from LiveNation that simply said, “Thanks Irvine for the memories.”
It appears LiveNation is open to potentially, someday returning to Irvine. In the meantime, that’s all folks!
This is the part where you normally click to the next story, but I want to leave with this thought. Places like FivePoint have an indelible place for all. Yeah sure, the insane music fan, but this applies to most everyone, you and me. People that like to go and spend time with family and friends. Often going in a pair or groups to see whatever the entertainment choice of the day is.
Those moments in time are what we remember most. The time we spent having the time of our lives with the people that mean most to us. That’s what a place like FivePoint represents – memories.
I understand often enough that is not enough to negotiate long-term financing and leasing deals, so I will just say this. As we recognize the lofty memories of our fun in the sun moments or frolicking in the moonlight, there’s this very sober reminder.
When we go to places to celebrate whatever – it is people celebrating, but it’s places like FivePoint or some adjacent experience that brings people to the city. Worth heavy mention, it is these people who spend money creating these memories. It can be as simple as stopping at the gas station, going out to dinner, or buying merchandise or food from the local vendors. Whatever the case is, people spend money when they go to a place like this.
Like many, I had always appreciated the fact that parking was free at FivePoint; that is unheard of. I am sure concertgoers are so used to this anyway; maybe charge a little for parking. I don’t know the negotiations and don’t assert that I am a financial expert when it comes to stadium financing. This is likely a silly prognostication of what could be, but here it goes: Taxes generated from the people that attend shows or pay for parking and pay taxes for services as a result of a concert they attended over a crazy amount of time can be an astronomical cash flow for any city. How can that not be part of any consideration when it comes to evaluating the impact to the community? In any decade, cash flow to any city coffers has always been an issue. How can anyone forebear that?!
Here’s the bottom line, people come to cities to spend their money to see attractions. They don’t come to see who has the coolest condo, townhomes, or kick-ass greenbelts and HOA CCR’s. Sure, nothing lasts forever, but when it does, shouldn’t it make sense? In the end, the vacuum left by this hole will be filled at some point. We are just not sure where and when.
For now, on behalf of a grateful fanbase of music, thank you FivePoint Amp for all the memories.
We will bring you more information on any news about a replacement when details become available.