Small Venues, Big Acts

I grew up on Long Island.

I was always conscious of the good and bad of the place. How can you not have mixed feelings about suburbia? The oppressive sterility of the central spine on either side of the LIE? Of the boredom of suburban life — especially as kids, of the Stepford wife/identical house development mindset, of all the cultural and aesthetic nightmares.

This is offset by spectacular beaches, very nice restaurants, easy proximity to NYC, and increasingly, quite excellent venues for seeing live acts.

As a kid, it was Nassau Coliseum (on Long Island) and Madison Square Garden (NYC) for the huge shows. I saw Black Sabbath, with an unknown opening act for them: Van Halen. Pretty much everyone else from Yes to Chicago to Peter Gabriel to Bruce to the Who to Pink Floyd.

Since these aging stars are no longer selling many CDs, but they are all touring. One of the great pleasures of the small venues in the area is that they manage to get these (formerly) huge, stadium acts. Sometimes, a big act doing Madison Square Garden will fill in a date at a local LI venue.

A small sample of recent shows I have seen at Nikon Theater at Jones Beach include the Police, Steely Dan, CSNY, James Taylor, Rod Stewart, and Peter Frampton. At only 8,200 seats (expanded to 15,000), it is a smaller outdoor venue, and if you are on the fence about seeing a show there, I strongly suggest doing so.

venuemapThen there is C.W.Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. A very intimate venue, it has 2,200 seats, and recent shows I went to there included kd lang, Itzak Pearlman, and John Pizarelli.

Lastly, there is Capital One Theater at Westbury. It is another small theater — 5,000 or so seats in the round — where other big names end up showing up from time to time. Recent shows included Yes, Steven Wright, Zappa Plays Zappa, and Louis CK.

The next show I will see heading there is The Steve Miller band.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t really care much about them — a middling but fun band from the 1970s and 80s. They had a good (13 million selling) Greatest Hits album (used, 90 cents at Amazon), but not exactly high brow music.

But the live show looks like a collection of greatest hits, and the seats are so close to stage — this is an act that also used to play stadiums — that I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to see him live in this tiny club.


What venues are you going to? What bands are you seeing?





Other sources:
Offiicial Site

Steve Miller Wikipedia entry

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