Capitol Theatre is Closed
Sadly the powers that be will allow this magnificent venue to decay when otherwise it would surely be an integral part of any other city's downtown revitalization plans. Poor stewardship of a property that was GIFTED to them will always a major black mark on their sense of community.
The city and the Downtown Partnership (chamber of commerce) pretended the Capitol was non-existant while at the same time propping up the (city owned) Adler Theater which is on target to lose another huge sum of money this year.
The staff of the Capitol did everything within their power to overcome the obstacles faced while attempting to secure the financing necessary to renovate the theatre. Unfortunately the only possible solution lied in the landlord (EICC) stepping up and guaranteeing the tenant improvements that were necessary to stabilize the 90 yr old facility. In spite of their $33 million bond election, this never happened and that's a damn shame.
Rest in peace
Bryan Adams review
Stripped-down Adams stuns
by Nikki M. Mascali
WILKES-BARRE — Bryan Adams may be on his “Bare Bones Tour,” but there was nothing bare about his show at the F.M. Kirby Center Wednesday night. With just the Kirby’s brick backstage wall as his backdrop, Adams’ sound was much larger than just him and his guitar and the occasional piano accompaniment by Gary Breit.
Clad in a basic black button-down shirt and jeans, Adams played the receptive audience of 1,261 nearly 30 songs from his extensive hit list during the two-hour show. “Run to You,” one of his most popular songs, started the evening off. Tapping his microphone for percussion, Adams encouraged the first of many clap-alongs and said, “Welcome to the ‘Bare Bones Tour.’”
“Tonight We Have the Stars,” from 2008’s “11,” followed and really drove home how fantastic Adams’ voice has remained. It was one of just two tracks from his most recent release. Adams donned a harmonica rack for the early standout “Back to You,” a song that also gave Breit his first on-stage appearance.
“In case you didn’t get the memo, this is the band,” Adams joked, gesturing toward Breit at the end of the song. “The object is to see how many songs we could remember.”
“Here I Am,” from the 2002 movie “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” was the first of several soundtrack songs of the evening. A stunning version of another, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” had the crowd singing along before it rose for a standing ovation.
An emotive rendition of “Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven” from 1991’s “Waking Up the Neighbours” preceded a passionate “Let’s Make a Night to Remember.” A rollicking “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” followed.
Adams, bathed in red light, delivered a searing version of “Heat of the Night” before taking a Bob Dylan-esque turn on “Not Romeo Not Juliet,” a song with a great piano solo written during a year Adams spent on the road. He switched guitars for “Cuts Like a Knife” and “This Time” before going back to his 1955 Martin guitar for the touching “Please Forgive Me,” which he said “sounds like a country song,” and even adopted a country twang for a verse.
A great “Summer of ’69” came about halfway through the show, followed by the second offering from “11,” “Walk On By,” which was by far the most stripped-down song of the night.
Adams and Breit gave a jazzy, Ray Charles twist to “Right Place,” a song Adams originally wrote for — but never gave to — the late legend. It was eventually recorded by Taylor Hicks of “American Idol,” who Adams said did a great job with it, “and it really pissed me off,” he joked.
The set proper closed with a dynamic rendition of “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You,” during which the musician became so animated he broke a guitar string.
His 20-minute encore began with “Somebody” — and a torrent of forbidden camera flashbulbs from the audience. Adams gestured for the crowd to rush the stage during “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” from the new John Travolta film “Old Dogs.” Adams and Breit delivered a simply gorgeous, goosebump-inducing version of “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” from “Don Juan DeMarco.” Breit’s incredible piano playing, which replaced the Spanish guitar of the original, added even more depth to the fervent song.
After the poignant “Never Let Go” and tender “Straight From the Heart,” Adams closed the show with “one last request,” the timely “Christmas Time.”
Peppering Wednesday’s intimate performance with anecdotes and jokes as he rolled with audience shout-outs, Adams did not disappoint. The show was never lacking without a full backing band, and hearing such stripped-down renditions of his well-known songs added a deeper appreciation of just how superb a singer, songwriter and musician he is.
Todd Snider, Bruce Robison and Robert Earl Keen Kickoff Barstool Tour in Alexandria
Hall & Oates may have been at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night to perform Jimmy Wayne’s smash “Sara Smile,” but the best show in town featured co-headliners Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider, and Bruce Robison. The three men sold out Alexandria’s Birchmere on the inaugural stop of their Barstool Tour, something that seems to have come about so that they could all hang out together and get paid for it. It was clearly a formal occasion, as evidenced by Todd Snider actually wearing shoes—the equivalent of any other artist sporting black tie, I imagine.
Each singer performed a 20 minute solo set to start the evening, interspersing their songs with dry humor and witty asides that were nearly as interesting as the music itself.Robert Earl Keen tested out some new material from The Rose Hotel, starting his set with “10,000 Chinese Walk Into A Bar,” but the song that got the biggest crowd response in the form of slurred singalong was “Merry Christmas From The Family,” a song that Keen states he performs from Labor Day to Easter, unless, of course, he forgets to pick up a new Day-Timer.
He was followed by Bruce Robison, who introduced “Travelin’ Soldier,” a song he wrote around the time of the Persian Gulf War, by referring to it as the “fastest descending Number One” in the history of the Billboard charts (the Dixie Chicks’ version was #1 when Natalie Maines made her infamous comments about then-President Bush in 2003). For Robison, his set was a family affair; after discussing that hit from his “sister-in-law’s band,” he segued into “My Brother and Me.” Robert Earl Keen may have been the initial draw, but after Bruce’s set, everyone in the room was a fan, even if, as I heard some concertgoers profess in the parking lot, they’d never heard of “those other guys.”
After Robison’s four songs, Todd Snider took the stage with his trademark sense of humor, identifying “Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number Ten)” a song he began writing only to round out The Excitement Plan, but realized halfway through, “shit, you’ve sunk to the bottom, brother: that’s how they make country music.” But Snider’s nothing if not a country singer and master songwriter as the rest of his material, including “Sideshow Blues,” “D.B. Cooper,” and “Beer Run” proved.
After a brief intermission, the three returned and spent the next hour trading songs and cracking each other—and the audience—up. The music was great, but the real treat was watching Keen, Robison, and Snider interact. They obviously have the utmost respect for each other’s music, but they genuinely seem to be fans of one another, asTodd Snider sang along to “Angry All the Time,” bursting into applause after the first verse and Bruce Robison laughed right along with the audience at Keen’s “Village Inn,” a song whose lyrics were allegedly stolen from a hotel’s marquis: “The Village Inn Hotel is so affordable…free WiFi…HBO.” I got the feeling that they’d probably be doing the same things (drinking beer, swapping songs, telling stories) even if they weren’t on tour.
One of the evening’s highlights was Robert and Todd collaborating on Keen’s “Corpus Christi Bay” (which Snider covered on The Excitement Plan, but the biggest crowd pleaser of the night was “The Road Goes on Forever,” a perfect song with which to end the set. However, I must admit that I wish they played it earlier, if only to shut up the loaded frat boy who shouted “‘Road Goes on Forever,’ man!” after every single Keen song. They encored with a trio of songs, officially ending with Keen’s version of the Townes Van Zandt song “Snowin’ on Raton,” which he covered back in 2001 on Gravitational Forces.
At $50, tickets may be a little pricey, but it sure felt like everyone got their money’s worth. Come to think of it, it might be worth $50 just to hearBruce Robison describe his methods of courtship, which involve a mixture of “stalking and sexual harassment.” As for the story about George Strait’s manager and his Big Gulp cup filled with scotch…well, you had to be there.
Bruce Robison's Barstool Tour video blog can be found here.
Love Blooms in QC Theatre Balcony
Behold, the reporting series on the state of marriage in this week's noospaper. Here, another tale of how love has found a way - this one set in the mystically romantic balcony of an old movie house.
Carolyn Howell and Ken Schwantz of DeWitt, Iowa, were acquaintances, which is one way of saying their eyes had once met across a crowded room.
Five years ago, Carolyn found herself with a pair of tickets to a concert by the U.S. Coast Guard band at Davenport's Capitol Theatre. She invited Ken. Both are music lovers. They enjoyed this classic band. They began dating.
Along the way, demon cancer stepped in, but Ken stood by Carolyn. After every chemo treatment, he would have a special gift for her. In the two years since her breast cancer was discovered, he has sent her at least 50 hopeful, cheery cards.
"Now, I'm a cancer survivor," Carolyn says.
Sporadically, they would have lunches together, noon-time dates.
Not long ago, Ken told her to put aside one particular day for lunch. They parked near the Capitol. Clever Ken had made secret arrangements with the theater managers.
"Let's go in here a minute," he said, opening the theater doors, which usually are locked.
"Are you sure we're allowed in here?" she asked, puzzled.
The place was lit up, as if a show were about to begin.
"Walk up to the balcony," he suggested.
In the center of a balcony aisle, he had arranged for a table and chairs to be set up. There were two deli sandwiches and bottles of water. He apologized there wasn't a more elaborate lunch.
Suddenly, the cavernous 1,250-seat theater filled with music. It echoed off the domed ceiling, with its giant Grecian murals. The sound system boomed with marches, a recording of the Coast Guard band.
"Happy anniversary," Ken said to a bewildered Carolyn.
Every year, on the day of their first date, he has planned something special for Carolyn.
"But this year was an amazing anniversary," she says. "We sat in what I think was the identical area where we had our first date. The two of us alone in that big theater balcony … the little table and chairs for lunch. He's a sentimental person, but I never expected an anniversary like this!"
Then, a very nervous Ken asked, "Will you marry me?" He held out a diamond.
With the background something like Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," Carolyn said "Yes." She didn't say it quietly.
"I shouted it," she says. "The whole big empty theater could hear it."
The marriage is planned for November.
Need anything more romantic be said?
Capitol Theatre attic hides 57-year mystery
It is up, up, up, 68 steps into a ghostly place that used to
pack 'em in … an empty, eerie cavern that I always wanted to
explore. Now, I am in the tippity-top upper balcony of the grand
old Capitol Theatre. It has been sealed off for 57 years, and with Lon Bozarth - who runs the Davenport place -
we poke around this dark inner sanctum (more) .
MJ Tribute Night
Stay tune for for our classic sing-along participatory events including a very special ladies' nites out. Thriller dancers wanted. Abba freeks welcome. Tim Curry fans unite.
Lost a Good One
Serving Duck Soup
Capitol E-listers get 24 hr jump on tix
Miss Iowa Pageant
Capitol to Host 10,000 Hours Show
This highly successful program is a student-led outreach effort to recruit and recognize young volunteers who then serve local nonprofits. It will culminate in a free concert at the Capitol Theatre exclusively for volunteers that have performed a minimum of 10 hours of community service. Check with the Quad Cities United Way for more details
Capitol idea for downtown
I was giving a tour of Quad-City entertainment spots to an out-of-town visitor a few weeks ago, and she pointed at the Capitol Theatre as we drove by.
"There hasn't been much done there lately", I said. "I wish someone would take some action."
The recent announcement that the Capitol will undergo major renovations and bring in some name acts. Umphrey's McGee kicks it off Feb. 28 and complement that with performances by local ballet and opera companies is fantastic and extremely welcome news.
The MySpace.com friends page for 'The Cap', the nickname organizers already have given to the downtown Davenport theater, likely shows the type of acts they have in mind: Wilco, Ryan Adams, Fountains of Wayne, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket.
While some renovations will be made to the lobby and the restrooms, the most work will need to be done backstage. I performed there last summer and saw the dilapidated condition that area is in: dusty antique equipment, potentially dangerous holes in the stage floor, miniscule dressing rooms and a wobbly freight elevator.
The house itself is in good condition. The seats are wide enough and have decent leg room for those of us who are more fully proportioned. Aside from for the women's downstairs restroom, the lobby area is in decent shape.
But the good news is that improvements can be made, and they can't come soon enough.
The Capitol, which will be getting even more attention in the next year because of the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly and the ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour stop there, can give us another viable alternative for acts that are not quite enough of a draw for the RiverCenter/Adler Theatre.
More importantly, it could be the boost that will draw more people to downtown Davenport at night.
Picture it: Both 'The Cap' and the Adler have a show on a Friday or Saturday night. Throughout the blocks between the two venues on 3rd Street, people are milling around, getting dinner or drinks before or after the shows.
It's a great thought, and one that surely warms the hearts of downtown boosters.
The memories held between these walls are too many to count. One of the many acts that walked on this stage was Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens before their plane went down.
"Their last performance prior to that was actually here at the Capitol Theater in Davenport," said Horst.
The Cap is Open!
New concessions and bar service, larger bathrooms will allow us to serve up to 1550 people. Lighting and stage improvements will add a new luster to performances.
The Capitol is perfect for corporate meetings, video presentations and movies, speakers and seminars, pageants, opera, ballet, school graduations, small theatrical presentations and touring music groups. Please contact us at 563.326.8820 if you or your company would like to rent the Capitol for your next event.
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