BB KING’S SHUTTERS IN NYC — Although it’s been rumored for months, B. B. King’s NYC announced a final closing date of April 29, with a show from Buddy Guy. The hallowed club first opened on June 20, 2000 and B.B. King Blues Club & Grill did provide a wide array of fascinating shows. I have witnessed some terrific shows there, including Todd Rundgren, America, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam, Chicago, Dave Mason, and two shows from Monkee-great Micky Dolenz. I even recall when Debbie Gibson performed at the club eons ago. I believe it was when her Broadway Lights album had just been released. The club wasn’t perfect, but it did possess a terrific sound system and perfect sight lines from almost every seat and for certain artists, it did present them in a very, intimate setting. I had never seen Chicago before (than you Tom Cuddy!) and was blown away by their performance. After this show, they went onto a mega-tour with Earth, wind & Fire.
The club’s operators cited rising costs (including rent) as the main culprit. With rents rising almost everywhere (especially in their current top-shelf Times Square location), I can’t blame them all too much, but It’s a real shame as the club continued to present terrific acts hitting almost every genre. I’d be remiss in not thanking the club’s Peter Abraham for terrific support over the years. Peter possesses just an excellent caliber of taste and always booked the rights acts … and, at the right time. Also, he wasn’t afraid to take a chance on a newcomer at the right time – witness Adrian Niles or Gooch & The Motion, who played there just last week. He also has a terrific knack of pairing the right acts; such as Robert Miler’s Project Grand Slam opening for jazz-darling Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers – they went onto to record a track together for Miller’s album. Veteran-PR-man David Salidor said “I’d heard the rumors for months. But, the reality is that it’s gong to leave a huge gap in the musical makeup of the city. When we did the Micky Dolenz-shows there, it was packed and he delivered a superb performance each time. We even had Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz intro him at one show. As a businessman I get it, but artistically, a huge loss for NYC. Live shows are still one thing that should be able to afford prime real estate… products can be bought online, but not experiences. Peter Abraham did just a stellar job there … a terrific array of acts there. I look forward to their next chapter.”
Tom Cuddy, WOR PD said: “I will truly miss BB’s. The club could always be counted on for top quality audio in an intimate setting. Some of my favorite shows from the last 18 years include Burt Bacharach; Petula Clark; The Raspberries; Chicago; Burton Cummings; Stephen Bishop; Gordon Lightfoot and Dan Hill.”
Will they relocate? I know they want to, but finding another spot as geographically desirable as where they were is going to be tough. I want to go on record as thanking them for 18 years of excellent service! Bravo.
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz won’t keep fans waiting until his June M&M tour with Michael Nesmith, as he’ll appear April 27th and 28th at the East Coast Comic-Con in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Monkees lead-singer will also receive the key to the city from Mayor Michael Gonnelli at a Make A Wish event. Also, Dolenz will sing the national anthem before the Phillies’ July 1st game with the Washington Nationals at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park … The second season of HBO’s Westworld begins this Sunday. I loved their first season which had the towering Anthony Hopkins in the cast. Can’t wait for the one …Watched the first episode of Netflix’s Godless last night, with Jeff Daniels and Sam Waterston. Interesting, but it didn’t blow me away. I hear this show is a must-see – we’ll see … This just in: Joining the cast of Stranger Things in the forthcoming third season, in guest roles, Elwes as Mayor Kline and Jake Busey as Bruce. How about Jake’s Dad Gary as an alien? He’d nail that for certain … Looking forward to Rufus Wainwright this Friday night at St. Ann’ s Warehouse in Brooklyn. I’m a huge fan and have never seen him live before … and, tonight the Tribeca Film Festival (their 17th edition) gets underway. Congrats Jane!
NAMES IN THE NEWS: Peter Abraham; Jeff Smith; Randy Alexander; Gooch; Robert Miller; Vinny Rich; Adam Pollock; Jacqueline Boyd; Tyron Biljan; Tyce Green; Vam Dean; Matt Lauer; Charlie Rose; Jane Rosenthal; and, CHIP