April 4, 2013

If Seats Could Talk: Mark Fried Remembers "Who" He Saw at Miami Marine Stadium

Spectators watch a twilight concert on Biscayne Bay at the Miami Marine Stadium, 1967. Credit: Florida Photographic Collection
Spectators watch a twilight concert on Biscayne Bay at the Miami Marine Stadium, 1967.

It was the site of speedboat races, rollicking concerts, beauty pageants, and countless floating family picnics and fishing trips, but today, the distinctive Miami Marine Stadium sits empty -- with the exception of decades of memories lingering in the salt-tinged oceanfront air.

In an effort to drum up support for the stadium’s revitalization, the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium have been collecting locals’ recollections of the stadium during its heyday. Today we kick off our “If Seats Could Talk” series with memories of music and merriment from Mark Fried.

Mark Fried

My parents moved to Key Biscayne in 1951 and I was born in 1952. I grew up on the Key and I recall when the Marine Stadium was being built. The Marine Stadium Basin was dredged out -- but before it was dredged, you could see the flats coming out of the water and the mangroves.

I saw several memorable concerts there. First was The Who concert. I was with a couple of friends and we tried to get in by boat. There were a lot of boats in front of the floating stage, and as we drove over, a boat approached us and said “Let’s see your tickets.” We didn’t have any, so we got kicked out. We tried again, and got kicked out again. Finally, we boated over to Fischer Island -- and we decided to try it one more time.

This time, we got in and no one stopped us. We docked right next to the floating stage. Our bow was on the floating stage, right next to the speaker, and The Who were no further than ten feet away!

We actually came in after the concert started; I remember them playing “Magic Bus” and “I Can See For Miles and Miles.” It was amazing -- there they were, Keith Moon was amazing, Roger Daltry singing, and Pete Townsend windmilling his guitar.

Spectators enjoy an evening show at Miami Marine Stadium, 1971. Courtest Friends of Miami Marine Stadium
Spectators enjoy an evening show at Miami Marine Stadium, 1971.

During all of this, we would hop up onto the stage, dive off the stage into the water, swim around to our boat, pull ourselves onto the boat, and then go back to the stage. By the end of it, there was a lot of excitement as Pete Townsend was smashing his guitar into the speakers.

As all of this was happening, one of Keith Moon’s tom-toms rolled off the stage and fell into the water. We managed to get the tom-tom into our boat (what a souvenir!). But the stage manager saw us and asked us to give it back -- so we did.

I went to another great concert. It was Gregg Allman, and he had quite a group playing with him -- a full orchestra with strings and a horn section. My friend and I decided to see the concert by inner tube. We were about 40-50 feet from shore, and a few policemen saw us and said “Come over here.” We decided not to, and continued to furiously paddle our way towards the floating stage.

We kept going, and we went under the bridge/catwalk which connected the stage to the Marine Stadium. While the concert was on, it was a real swimfest. I had the album, so I knew the music. And the next day, there was a photo of me [...] in The Miami Times with the headline “Teens rock, roll, float ... and give the police fits.”

I don’t think I ever paid for a ticket a Marine Stadium event!

Edited for length and clarity.

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