Skip to comments.CBGB Hosts Last Concert Before Eviction
Posted on 10/16/2006 5:22:09 AM PDT by t_skoz
NEW YORK (AP) - The final chords reverberated off the black, sticker-covered walls of CBGB as the grungy, iconic club toasted the end of its 33-year residence in New York.
Rock poet Patti Smith headlined the Sunday night concert, CBGB's last before eviction by its landlord - the Bowery Residents Committee, a homeless advocacy group that owns the property. The club will close Oct. 31.
Hundreds of music fans packed the small downtown club Sunday, while reporters hovered outside. The mood was both somber and raucous at CBGB, hailed by many as the birthplace of punk.
"This place is not a ... temple," Smith said during the concert. "It is what it is."
She refused to wax nostalgic, instead claiming at a pre-show news conference that doubled as a sound check that "CBGB's is a state of mind" that will carry on elsewhere for a new generation. She later noted with relish that CBGB, at 33, was the same age as Jesus.
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea surprised the audience, joining Smith's band for much of her second set. Having turned 44 at midnight, he was treated to a loud, enthusiastic "Happy Birthday" by the band and crowd.
Much of the concert was filled with reminders of changed times. Sirius Satellite Radio broadcast the show live, and digital cameras populated the audience.
Nevertheless, Smith often struck a '60s vibe, urging change and awareness of issues such as the disputed treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. She sang covers of the Who's "My Generation" and the Rolling Stones'"Gimme Shelter" with obvious parallels to CBGB.
The club was founded by Hilly Kristal in 1973 and over the years helped spawn the careers of such acts as the Ramones, Blondie, the Talking Heads and Television. Though its glory days are long gone, it has remained a symbolic fixture on the Manhattan music scene.
The crowd paid tribute to many of the bands forever connected to the club - including several chants of "Hey ho, let's go!" from the Ramones' classic "Blitzkrieg Bop."
Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads were on hand, as was E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, who had battled to keep the club open during the protracted dispute over its future.
The Bowery Residents Committee's decision not to renew CBGB's lease when it ran out in August 2005 sparked protests, tributes and vigils for more than a year. Kristal recently gave up his legal fight to stay.
Though weary from his battle with lung cancer, he remains combative about his club's exodus from the Bowery, and said Sunday he was "very disappointed" in Mayor Michael Bloomberg for not saving the club.
Still, he says he remains focused on "generating the energy" for CBGB, which he plans to move to Las Vegas. It's very much alive as a brand, too. Kristal will transplant its store, CBGB Fashions, to a new location a few blocks away on Nov. 1.
"I'm thinking about tomorrow and the next day and the next day, and going on to do more with CBGB's," Kristal said Sunday.
Frantz said he and his wife, Weymouth, had to attend the finale because CBGB is like the "center of gravity for us." He reflected on the club where the Talking Heads got their big break.
"It just had a super cool ambiance or electric vibe ... even though it was pretty much a dump," Frantz said.
With a capacity of barely 300, CBGB was founded as a place of freedom for different musical acts. Smith said Kristal "always gave us a job, just like tonight."
"He was our champion and in those days, there were very few," she added.
Though its letters stand for the music Kristal originally planned to present there - country, bluegrass and blues - it quickly came to represent the physical epicenter of early punk and the storied downtown scene of 1970s New York.
Smith's final encore was a quiet poem listing many of the musicians who have died in the years since they played CBGB, but perhaps the more fitting send-off came right before it. The band played the punk staple "Gloria," verging back and forth between choruses of "Gloria! G-L-O-R-I-A!" and "Hey ho, let's go!"
The crowd shook its fists high for the Ramones' classic - an anthem to CBGB and so much more.
Gabba Gabba Hey! to the Rock & Roll ping list.
FRMail myself or Weegee to be added to or removed from the ping list.
Rocker Patti Smith performs at the iconic New York club, CBGB, during the club's final concert on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006, in New York. A homeless advocacy group, which owns the property, is not renewing CBGB's lease. It expired in August 2005. The grungy club, which has been a fixture in downtown New York, will close October 31st. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)
We were at Irving Plaza last night to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, well, actually, to see the opening act Eagles of Death Metal and I wondered how much conflict there was for fans to decide between the two shows. Though it was an easy decision for us...
It's just not the same since Joey Ramone died.
Music halls come and go.
"Save The OBI" & 'Save the Fillmore East'
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
CBGB's best days were just before Gen X was able to get in!
When I was high school freshman in Jersey City in 1981 I didn't realize how radical it was to be playing The Ramones and Talking Heads at a high school dance. We wreathed on the floor during "Rock Lobster" and jumped high in the air during "Shout" while people attended the Halloween dance in togas.
Only years later would I get to CBGBs and by that time, glam rock hair bands had already taken over from the punk/new wave music scene.
Nope, I've got to hand it to the younger Boomers who put the nail in the coffin of disco.
do you regularly post stupid comments on subjects you have no interest in?
how was the EODM show?
add me to the ping list
What else would you expect? He/She/It's from Oklahoma....
'nuff said! 8^)
EODM was really good but not as great as they were when we saw them open for Peaches (blech) or when they headlined back in April. We met Jesse and the guys before the show as they were coming out of the tour bus. We were front and center but, for some reason, it just wasn't as good that close. Maybe because it was our third EODM show in 6 months, or that we met them just hours earlier, or that they were right on top of us on stage so all the mystery was gone, or that the sound was off (vocals drowned out by the music), or that it's the same set list we've heard 3 times but they just didn't excite us the way they normally do. Anyway, my ears are killing me today! Joan Jett wore an inch of pancake make up and looked incredibly butch. Her fans are maniacs.
Also, being a thousand miles away in the sticks of Florida (and we had our own, quirky punk scene) it would have been one heck of a commute to get there.
I did, we'll get weegee to update his as well.
i don't think i know that part of the story!!!
Patti Smith is pretty much a man, isn't she?
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