Saturday, November 6, 2010

The New Old Paradise

Blitzen Trapper’s 11/4/10 performance was the first show I’ve seen at the recently renovated Paradise Rock Club. As the perennial best mid-size (800 capacity) club in Boston, The Paradise has, at one time or another, hosted most of the major rock acts of the last three decades on their journey up the stairway to stardom, not to mention most of the best local artists, too. The transformation of the club that took place late this summer is interesting in that it left significant parts of the venue untouched, while radically transforming others.

The entryway and hallway to the performance area are more open and inviting, with the adjacent front Lounge area gussied up, more accessible to the main venue and looking less like an afterthought (apparently, they’re promoting it as a pre-show dining option). Most notable is the gutting of the first floor area underneath the small balcony that wraps around 3/4 of the club. This creates much easier access and maneuverability on the first floor, as well as a somewhat claustrophobic effect if you find yourself camped out for long under the now very low-ceilinged sections beneath the balcony.

Once out from under the balcony, things remain pretty much the same. One of the back bars has been enlarged and moved to the left side of the club, under the deepest part of the balcony. The stage has been moved 10 feet or so to the left, so that the infamous big round central pillar is no longer staring lead singers right in the face from a few feet away, or creating a visual and physical obstacle for the crowd right in front. You’d think that would be a major improvement and, for a small portion of the crowd and the musicians at centerstage, it is. However, it creates a situation where two pillars, located a few feet from each corner of the stage, are now more of an obstruction. So while the obstruction is no longer right in front of the center of the stage, now 2/3 of the audience’s view is somewhat blocked, as opposed to only about 1/3 in the former set up (albeit the all-important center).

But it is what it is, and the new configuration probably just takes some getting used to. Having seen in the neighborhood of 100 shows there over the last 25 years, it might take me a little while. However, it remains my favorite place to see national-level acts in Boston.

A view I’ve approached countless times

over the past 25 years: One of the few

near-constants in my adult life!

No comments:

Post a Comment