The Spectrum was more than just an indoor sports arena.

Since 1967, the drab, oval-shaped building on South Broad Street hosted some of the best events Philadelphia could offer - rock concerts, ice shows, the circus.

One of the best things about the Spectrum was its unadorned name. Today, we have mouthfuls such as Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and the Wachovia, er, Wells Fargo Center.

But even when it had corporate sponsors - Core States, First Union, Wachovia - people just called it the Spectrum, an indication that the arena belonged to the people, not a bank.

Countless people saw their first Springsteen concert at the Spectrum. Supertramp, 1979? It was an awesome concert. Of course, no one used the word "awesome" that way back then. But it was.

The Spectrum was where thousands of live-music fans heard the Grateful Dead, Yes, Bob Seger, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, the O'Jays, and James Brown, among others. It was the setting for so many young people's coming of age musically.

But sports provided the Spectrum's greatest memories.

The Flyers won their first Stanley Cup at the Spectrum in 1974. In 1976, the Flyers defeated the fearsome Soviet Red Army team, a Cold War triumph with meaning far beyond the score. The Sixers capped off their best seasons there, winning the NBA crown in 1982-83.

No one who heard the Spectrum explode when Bobby Clarke or Julius Erving scored on a breakaway will ever forget it.

Despite the Spectrum's date with the wrecking ball, 40-plus years of memories stand tall.