Top of the Morning, March 3, 2014: From the archives

Top of the Morning, March 3, 2014: From the archives

The best way to see it for the first time is as a kid. In the winter. In the evening.

At least for me.

My parents, my mom's mom, and some of my siblings did just that many years ago. We drove to Champaign from my hometown, Danville, to see the Ice Capades.

I remember nothing of the show, but I've never forgotten the first time I saw the Assembly Hall.

You've all seen that view. Even as an adult, the lights shooting out of the glass can cast a spell. For a child, there was nothing like it in my experience.

As an adult, I've made some memories there.

Thanks to a colleague, I got to sit in on Bill Frieder's press conference after the Flyin' Illini took his team apart.

Thanks to my job, I got to watch John Prine and Bonnie Raitt sing "Angel from Montgomery" together.

Thanks to my roommate in college, I got to sit in the front row to hear Paul Simon. He had a beard when he came onstage, took a break between sets and came back out clean-shaven. When someone in the crowd asked where his beard was, he said, "What beard? See what drugs will do to you?"

So now, the State Farm Center is going to be renovated. No concerts until November 2016.

In this town, that building is why "architectural marvel" is a cliche. After you've lived here for a while, it's easy to take the place for granted.

But like Alma Mater, maybe we'll miss it when it's unavailable.

Here's a gallery with an assortment of photos, many courtesy of the Assembly Hall: construction, sports, performers. And a way for you to leave your favorite memory of the building.

Got a memory of your own? We'd love to read it. Share it here.

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