PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The venue once known as the Providence Civic Center is celebrating 50 years in operation.
The building that’s now named the Amica Mutual Pavilion, aka the “AMP,” held its grand opening on Jan. 17, 1973.
“It’s great memories… that’s what it’s all about,” said Larry Lepore, General Manager of The AMP.
Decades later, it continues to serve as one of New England’s premier arenas, remaining a vital contributor to the state’s economy and an iconic destination for sports and entertainment.
The AMP has had multiple name changes throughout five decades, including the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, also known as “the Dunk,” up until last year, but despite all the name changes, Lepore says it’s more than that.
“It’s just the fact that a lot of Rhode Islanders have grown up with the building, whether it was 50 years ago calling it the Civic Center, and the Dunk, and now the AMP,” explained Lepore.
Officials said more than 38 million guests have passed through its doors. The venue has also hosted more than 7,000 events and many notable guests, including Elvis Presley, who performed there in 1977, just a few months before he died.
Aerosmith, Frank Sinatra, KISS, the Grateful Dead, and Metallica are just some of the many artists to perform at the venue in downtown Providence.
The Boston Pops have performed there 27 times.
The venue is notably the home of the Providence Bruins and Providence College Friars. NCAA Tournament games have also been held at the venue and NCAA’s Big East Tournament was formed in the building back in 1979.
The kickoff to the celebration will be the venue’s “AMP Gives 50” campaign, which will launch this month. The agenda includes weekly acts of kindness to support the surrounding community.
“I think one of the things we realize is that there are a lot of charities and things that we can do as part of the community to reach out,” said Lepore.
Lepore pointed to a large presence of the homeless in and around the venue.
“We’re gonna try to reach out and create some positivity of having 50 years in this building get back into the community and see what we can do to help the downtown Providence area,” said Lepore.