It was once called the "Fabulous" Forum. New owners renamed it "The Great Western Forum," and the current owners just call it "The Forum", but except for a new blue trim, it's the same grand arena. By whatever name, the Forum is a dramatic, round, indoor stadium, a modern interpretation of a Roman coliseum.
Located just north of Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood, the huge Forum seats over 19,000, far more than the Greek Theatre and the Universal Amphitheatre combined. It's home to some of the biggest events in Los Angeles, including Lakers basketball and Kings hockey, as well as special sporting events such as boxing and wrestling matches, and big-arena entertainment like the Ringling Bros circus, major rodeos, and the Ice Capades.
But most star-gazers were more interested in the Forum's major rock concerts. In its glory days, you could see some of your favorite musical performers live on stage here:
Janet Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Elton John, R.E.M., Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Bob Seger, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, the Spice Girls, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, Phil Collins, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, Meat Loaf, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Luther Vandross... even Elvis Presley did a concert here. If a performer could fill the 19,000 seats, the odds are that their concert tours would bring them to the Forum.
Many stars also turned out as spectators to watch the Lakers and Kings play here.
But the Forum faced a significant challenge when the new Staples Center opened in downtown L.A. in 1999. Both the Lakers and the Kings soon moved to the Staples Center, and most industry people believed that the Forum would also lose concerts to the new venue (as it had to the Arrowhead Pond). Forum officials hoped that by offering a wider choice of dates (without the scheduling conflicts caused by the sports teams) and lower costs, they'd be able to continue to book major concerts on a regular basis. And they did at first: N*Sync played a concert at the forum in late November, they booked a big concert by Bon Jovi for December, and Elton John & Billy Joel performed together in concert on February 6, 2000.
Meanwhile, Hollywood continued to come to the Forum. In 2000, filmmakers used the arena to film the basketball scenes from the devilish Brendan Fraser/Elizabeth Hurley comedy "Bedazzled."
However, at the end of 2000, the Faithful Central Bible Church announced that they bought the Forum for $22.5 million. The 10,000-member church planned to use the arena for Sunday services and also keep booking sports and entertainment events.
Getting there: The Forum is located at the southeast corner of Prairie Avenue and Manchester Boulevard, in Inglewood (just north of Hollywood Park). / From the San Diego (405) Freeway, take the Manchester Boulevard offramp. Go east on Manchester (about a mile) to Prairie Avenue. You can't miss it.
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