Music Halls

By Gary:
This post will be a little different.  I know, I never write about anything different, yeah right.  During my research which, trust me, takes many thousand’s of hours and while looking at recent and old videos, something different got stuck in my mind.  Why do performers prefer certain venues and why this little theatre in Passaic New Jersey?
I did live in Toronto (just moved November 15, 2016, and went 400 kms SW after 76 years) and Toronto is a huge “Live” Theatre city.  They have many new Concert Halls, for Symphony Orchestra and Rock Artists. 

The one hall that folk singer Gordon Lightfoot preferred is a really old venue called Massey Hall which, as of writing this in January 2017, will be 122 years old.  Some of the greatest performers in the world have appeared there.  I believe one of the most famous concerts ever presented at Massey Hall was May 15, 1953, when the “Greatest” Jazz artists in the World appeared together and never did again.  They would include Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach

thequintet .

Now the last time I was at Massey Hall was, 1995 for maybe the best Rock and Roll Concert of the 90’s, Ronnie Hawkins 60th Birthday Bash.
This was the finest and best assembled “Band” I have ever heard.  Now unfortunately a lot of musicians from that band are no longer with us.
The Old Lady still exists as of 2017 “Age 122 years”
I guess the most famous theatre in the United States would be the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.  It still draws 1.3 million people a year and has had some of the greatest artists appearing on stage. 

The Apollo opened it doors in 1914.  I guess what I remember is that, for a theatre that is in a black community and is famous for it’s Black Acts (Motown huge), in 1957 they booked Buddy Holly and the Crickets because they thought they were black. This is from the Buddy Holly Story



I find it difficult to list all the Artists that have appeared at this very famous venue; it would probably be easier to list who has NOT appeared there. 

Here are just a few who appeared at The Apollo: Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and the Fabulous Flames, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin , The Jackson 5 , Bob Marley and Wailers, Prince, the Motown Revue, … and the list will go one forever.

The Apollo still operating as of 2017
Now that I have the more famous or known theatres out of the way, lets talk about a really unknown theatre that was in of all places Passaic New Jersey.  During my research of artists , this theatre, “The Capitol” kept coming up.  I will be honest, I know very little about it and I asked a friend of mine who lives in Florida, but who was one of the Original Peppermint Twisters at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City in the early 60’s.  She said she lived near there but never had the money to go and it was, as she put it, in a poor area. 

So if anyone has personal experience with actually being in the Capitol theatre, I would love to hear of your experiences.  What made this  obscure venue so special is that some of the greatest and most famous artists appeared there. 

The Capitol was built in 1926, had a seating capacity of 3,200 and was known for it’s in-house Video System, but unfortunately now it is a shopping centre. 

You will not believe the Artists that have appeared there.  I have found the video’s of the greats, when they were YOUNG and the videos are fabulous, well to me anyways.  I would really like to hear from anyone of our followers, why this theatre which was really in a small town, drew all of these great acts.

and now the list of actual videos.
1978 / Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band /
1982 / John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers /
1984 / George Thorogood and the Destroyers /
1987 / The Fabulous Thunderbirds /
…And the list goes on. 
Here are just some of the performers.

Notable appearances

2 responses to “Music Halls

  1. Toronto is in danger of saying goodbye to many venues these days: The Silver Dollar, Soybomb HQ, Hugh’s Room (what a great place), The Hoxton. The El Mocombo may open again after being purchased and renovated by a lover of music. One reason Massey Hall is so popular with entertainers may be its superb acoustics and prime location.


    Russ and Gary
    Being a Pittsburgher we had the SYRIA MOSQUE in OAKLAND that PORKY CHEDWICK a famous RADIO DISC JOCKEY for over 50th year had GROOVE SPECULAR SHOWS in the 1950’S and 60’s with famous ROCK N” ROLL acts performing on stage. To name a few HANK BALLARD & MIDNIGHTERS, HUEY “PIANO” SMITH and the CLOWNS always packed house yearly.
    I would love to talk to you sometime by phone and if you are ever near PITTSBURGH, PA. to visit with me for a tour around our friendly CITY.
    My phone number 412 469-0050 I need to talk with you soon. My sons and I will be doing our ANNUAL FAT TUESDAY PARTY on February 28, 2017.



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