Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Kinks at the Albee Theater 1974

Getting to this concert was a real nail biter. Only 2 of my friends had any interest and only one had (just recently acquired) a driver's license and his parents weren't keen on letting him drive the purple LTD to Cincinnati. After much ass kissing and promises of responsibility and good citizenship he got permission and we loaded up the tequila & pot & headed down I-75 to a place in Cincinnati called The Albee Teater.
At a time when bands were routinely playing sports arenas, The Kinks tried hard to keep their shows in auditoriums and theaters. Their unpopularity in the U.S. helped in that they didn't have to find huge & expensive halls. The tour was promoting Preservation Act 1.
When we got to downtown Cincinnati around dinnertime, we commenced to looking for a place to park. Workers were still present and parking spaces were still kinda scarce. We started to park in the Netherlands parking lot, not realizing it was valet parking. As we had planned on catching a buzz in the car, that wouldn't do. They helped us back out of the garage and we found a spot in the parking lot at Third and Walnut. When I see the parking lot today, I am amazed how stupid it was for a trio of teenagers from out of town to be smoking and drinking there at about 6 PM on a Thursday night. sigh.....

As we came around the corner from Vine onto 5th street, we instantly recognized The Albee was a big old fashioned theater. I was used to going to old style theaters. Dayton's Palace was a popular concert spot there for awhile. In Springfield, movies were shown at old theaters, The State & The Regent and of course concerts at The Memorial Hall. These establishments all had signs of medium elegance but over the years, had pretty much been stripped bare. That is, there were lounges in the restrooms but there was never anything there. Occasionally a folding chair might be sitting out or leaning against a wall. The walls were kinda dirty and there was a notable amount of disrepair. While The Albee had seen better days, how much better my droogs & I were not prepared for.

Upon entering the lobby, we were met with marble floors, a grand double stairway & more deco decoration than we had ever seen in one place. The ceiling went up 3 or 4 stories with a front window rising all the way to the top. After the sun went down, the light from outside the window gave the upper story lobbies a romantic glow. We went in and started looking around. It didn't stop at the lobby - the whole place was like a friggin' palace !
the bathrooms were a first stop.

Like I said, the lounges I was used to were all abandoned, empty rooms. I don't know when the picture above was shot, but that's what greeted us when we entered. Not only were there chairs, but nice chairs. The pictures were even on the walls.
At this point, we felt like guests - not like the PITA nuisance that the sports arenas made us feel like. We were awed and appreciative. Not everybody felt quite the same. I remember walking over to an ornate metal drinking fountain and, as I approached, a young lady walked up to it and barfed her brains out all over the drinking fountain. yay

The auditorium was magnificent. It was not a huge place and The Kinks made it an exciting and intimate experience with Ray Davies' drunken banter & brother Dave's kickass RnR chops rocking the place out. This tour included a horn section - a trio, I believe.
After the concert, we went across the street to the Fountain Square. It was almost midnight on a Thursday & there were people milling about. ok, not just the people from the concert - other people. We walked about the square and the skywalk for awhile before heading back up I-75.
I had been to concerts at the Coliseum (First Star Center ?) and Cincinnati gardens before but I had never been impressed with Cincinnati. This experience impressed me - the people seemed nice and welcoming. Even the puky chick in the theater seemed like a nice person - just a little off her game that night. but what can you expect from a Kinks fan ?

From later in the tour in NYC (the Cincinnati show was actually in color)

1 comment:

CityKin said...

those were the days...