Friday, October 16, 2009

Guest Post: Whizkid on Concert Venues

It's Friday... you know what that means!
Guest blog post time! :)

Today, Whizkid (who, even with his amazing knowledge of R&R and amazing stories, is blogless) shares with us his favorite concert venue. Read on to hear about it and then share your favorite venue. Enjoy and thanks for sharing with us, Whizkid!

I Want To Go Home With the Armadillo…
What’s your favorite concert venue? Is it the place where you saw your favorite band? A place where the acoustics are good? Where you like the ambiance, the people, the intimacy, or for that matter, the adult beverages? Or is it the place where you have that special memory with that special person?

For me, it’s the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Or as we called it: “The ‘Dillo.” From 1970 to 1980 it was the center of the musical world in the city that has since become world renown as a hotbed for music, new artists, and the annual SXSW festival. For the last half of the ‘70s, I lived in Austin and, in turn, at The ‘Dillo. I was privileged to see literally hundreds of local and national music artists of all kinds… rock, country, jazz, and classical. Bands came from all over the world just to play there. It’s something that just couldn’t happen in today’s music business.

The ‘Dillo had it all…except the acoustics. They were terrible. But no one cared. We had unlimited pitchers of Lone Star beer to drink as we sat on the concrete floor of the old metal-roofed skating rink…a floor covered with a cheap, tattered outdoor carpet. It was uncomfortable and usually hot. But literally ten feet in front of us might be B.B. King wailing away on Lucille or the triple-guitars of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the sweet sounds of Steely Dan. The place oozed ambiance and hipness and pot smoke. It was the place in Austin to see and be seen. It was an Austin icon.

Some of my favorite concerts I saw at The ‘Dillo were: Toto, Journey (before Steve Perry!), ZZ Top, Boz Scaggs, Jeff Beck, Edgar Winter, Gino Vannelli, a local band called Too Smooth, The Kinks, The Police, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Ted Nugent, Golden Earring (remember “Radar Love”?), and AC/DC (their first show ever in the USA). It wasn’t unusual for me to show up there two or three times a week. Tickets were usually $5 or $10 even for the biggest acts.

Another thing that was unique was that The ‘Dillo had several artists on staff to create concert posters. Every single concert had its own unique poster art. They turned out hundreds of posters and flyers and they are collector’s items today, fetching hundreds of dollars. The artwork was terrific and one of the things everyone looked forward to seeing. Here are a few examples, but you can find many more. Just Google “armadillo world headquarters posters.”

So, I want to hear from you. What’s your favorite concert venue? And---if you’re out there---I’d especially like to hear from anyone who got to go to The ‘Dillo.

Have a fabulous weekend, bloggies!


d.edlen said...

My wife and I got lucky enough to get tickets to see the Verve in '07 when they first reunited for the UK mini-tour at small venues. We saw them at the Roundhouse in London. The perfect concert. We ended up staying the whole show pressed up against the front rail, me boxing out my wife so the throngs didn't smash her. Right in front of Si. Could stare over and up at Ashcroft. Wow. Wow. Wow.

It was really the whole experience that made it the best venue. We'd seen better shows at places with better acoustics, but that morning we'd walked across the, if repainted, still super famous Abbey Road Studios crosswalk. I mean, come on! Awesome. Just awesome. And the mix and acoustics were excellent to boot. So cool.


Vegas Linda Lou said...

My arena days are behind me for the most part--I'm spoiled here in Las Vegas because we have so many nice little showrooms. One of my favorite inside venues is the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay, but NOTHING beats seeing a show poolside at Red Rock Casino!

carolina said...

Wow, the Dillo sounds like an incredible place. Sounds like the acts there in the '70s were similar to the ones at Ebbets Field in Denver (also now closed). Very intimate atmosphere. You're right, though. The business side of the music industry has totally changed. Money rules.
Red Rocks (ampitheater) outside Denver is an awesome place to see a concert. Very spiritual.

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