SuperDee's House

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is The Fillmore at Irving Plaza?

[A cleaned up and less hungover version of my post to the Freaks List.]

Last night was the inaugural concert at the newly renamed "Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza" featuring the adorablest ever Lily Allen. I was going to the show before the name change announcement anyway so this was just an added bonus (or bummer depending on your feelings about the whole thing). People seem to have mixed emotions about this change as Irving Plaza has a lot of its own history. Still others say "a shithole with a new name is still a shithole."

The news of this name change kinda made me excited. My perspective might be a little skewed because The Fillmore in San Francisco is one of my favorite places on the planet and I miss it a lot. The press release promised a lot of things that make shows at The Fillmore such a unique experience.

The marquee was the first noticable difference in the night. On its own, it would appear that this simply a branding thing like when PacBell park turned into SBC and then into AT&T... pointless. But upon entry there was the bucket of fresh apples and the greeter, "Welcome to the Fillmore!" I have heard that a hundred times but usually from that nice old dude with the mustache in SF. I love hearing those words and it all felt so normal, but where the hell was I? This is not the Fillmore! Or is it?! (Of course, if they really wanted to get it technically correct, they would have that guy at the top of the stairs - the apples, too.)

Continue on to the ID checker as usual at IP, then walk up the stairs and see they've decorated the stairway walls with vintage concert posters and photos just like SF. At the top of the stairs was the mega-big photo of Bill Graham himself looking into the empty ballroom. I always loved that photo...

But still, this is weird. Bill Graham has no connection to this building! Are we trying to conjure his ghost? Is it going to work? Will the magic translate?

Continuing on... I was lucky to have been given 2 VIP stickers for me and my guest. A friend was working the merch table (with cute Fillmore NY buttons - I love buttons) and he told us, "Open bar upstairs. Get your stickers on and get some drinks." Oh yes. Free grey goose and sodas for the rest of the night. They were really trying to win me over and frankly, it was working.

Upstairs now, more photos decorating the bar area. The promised "improved sight lines" consisted of a new riser built on the balcony which helps you see the TV's better but not the stage itself. BUT the TV's are now bigger flat screens which actually do make a difference. They had the DJ set up right there on the balcony near the backstage door. I believe the DJ was Aaron Lacrate and he was playing very fun music. Beats behind "Sweet Caroline" - that kinda thing.

And then that's when I noticed them... The purple chandeliers. Two of them. There is something quite mystical about those chandeliers and the purple haze they create.

Ok, so we've got apples, the welcoming committee, commemorative photography, Bill Graham's image, and now, the chandeliers. Is it The Fillmore? Maybe it was the free drinks (very very very possible) but they were winning me over big time.

Lily Allen came out on stage and tipped it over into awesomeville. She is so fucking great! Progressively getting drunker on pink champagne ("I really am quite pissed!"), she sang her little heart out and delivered a fun and really impressive vocal performance. Her sound and style is a mash up of Gwen Stefani (vocal tone) with The Streets (the rapping stuff) with Lady Sovereign (spunky Brit girl). I happen to love her album, Alright Still - I have a big spot in my heart for sunny/edgy Brit pop apparently. Her band was super tight and fully equipped with a horn section.

She sang every last song from the album and added her cute stage banter in between - giggles too. She's a tough cookie, though, don't be fooled. Towards the end, she saw a girl in the crowd crying. In her little British accent, "Are you crying? Why are you crying? Are you really crying because you're happy? Wow, I have crying fans. Cry, everybody, cry! You're my best friend. Can you follow me around and just cry? Ok, this next song is about men with small dicks, terribly disappointing in the heat of the moment..." Oh this girl wins. She just wins!

Back to the Fillmore thing... Beautiful posters handed out to everyone walking out. This one was a really nice print and way bigger than standard Fillmore size. I'm guessing this was just for this one special opening night and future posters will be the regular 17" x 11" size. Frame stores in NYC, stock up on those Fillmore frames!

So, in conclusion, I suppose the jury is still out about whether this REALLY can be the Fillmore or not. It's all about magic and its either there or it's not. I believe there was magic in the air last night. But I do believe in magic, I do I do I do...


Blogger Derek said...

What's the freaks list?

5:43 PM  

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