The adapted Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on aperture night. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
One of the added acceptable developments in the concert industry over the accomplished several years has been the awakening of abounding archetypal theaters, alignment from the United Palace Theatre in Manhattan to burghal venues like the Wellmont in Montclair, New Jersey. But conceivably none of them accept been as aggressive as the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, about 35 afar arctic of NYC and amid aloof 100 yards from the town’s driver alternation station.
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The amphitheater opened in 1926 and enjoyed a bedrock heyday during the backward 1960s and aboriginal 1970s. Acclaimed for its acoustics, the breadth hosted allegorical shows by the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Santana, Black Sabbath and abounding others afore a 1976 apple authorization banning music afterwards 1 a.m. put it out of commission. The architecture went behind afore actuality adequate in the aboriginal 1980s and reborn as a bar account and bells anteroom that additionally hosted accumulated events, casual concerts (the aftermost were televised specials for David Bowie and the Rolling Stones in the mid 1990s) and bout rehearsals (for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and others).
Marvin Ravikoff, who aboriginal adapted the Capitol: “When I bought it in 1983, it didn’t accept any roof, the windows were on the floor, there was no electricity or plumbing, it was abounding all the way up to the doors, and there were bags of pigeons active here.” (Photo: Jem Aswad)
And aftermost night, afterwards a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation, the amphitheater reopened in aggressive appearance with a concert from Bob Dylan, and a arch agenda that over the aing few months will host shows from artists alignment from Fiona Apple to Buddy Guy, from the Dirty Projectors to Lyle Lovett, My Morning Jacket to the Roots, from Al Green to moe. — several of them arena multiple-night stands. But with an opening-night amateur like Dylan, the burden was on, and the Capitol’s agents delivered.
Bowery Presents’ Anthony Makes, left, poses with the Capitol’s Peter Shapiro (photo: Carrie Tolles)
“It was a acceptable one, huh?” said Brooklyn Bowl architect Peter Shapiro, who helmed the Capitol’s revival, in a buzz chat the morning after. “When you do an aperture night you usually do a bendable open, to get yourself together. But aback you accessible with Bob Dylan, these canicule with amusing media you CAN’T do a bendable accessible — you’re in a bearings breadth you’re accomplishing aggregate for the aboriginal time on a night that awash out in not added than one or two minutes, with Bob Dylan! It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of press, and a lot of stress. But now that we’ve done it, I’m activity actually acceptable for what’s ahead. There weren’t that abounding issues, and a lot of things can go wrong.”
Capitol Theatre assembly administrator Jon Dindas. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
The abundantly busy amphitheater — abounding with mirrors, chandeliers and agilely adequate detail — looks actually stunning, and sounds alike better, with a d&b audiotechnik V-Series bandage arrangement complete arrangement (the aboriginal install of its affectionate in the country). There is additionally a abounding abode bump arrangement featuring ten HD cinema-quality projectors; agreeable created by Mark Brickman (Pink Floyd, Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ Tour) and the New York-based aggregation of Batwin and Robin, although the visuals weren’t on abounding affectation aftermost night, at Dylan’s request.
The anew adapted antechamber of the Capitol Theatre. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
There is alike appropriate wallpaper featuring pictures of abounding of the artists — Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Ozzy Osbourne and others — who performed at the breadth during its psychedelic-era heyday. But conceivably best importantly, it’s a abundant abode to see a show, with assorted bars, abundant sightlines, basement for those who appetite it and affluence of allowance to airing about for those who don’t. I was additionally able to blooper into the balcony, alike admitting my acceptance said “floor.”
The Capitol’s balcony, allotment of the added than $2 actor revamping of the acclaimed theatre. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
“That’s not alone a accompaniment — we kept it a little loose,” said Shapiro. “I’d like to run this abode a little more… genteel, friendlier than some theaters, you know? We can punch that up or down, we can accomplish adjustments. A lot of bodies commented on that — it was awash but not too crowded, the admirers was affective about a lot, bodies were blind out. We’ll see how that goes in the future, we can’t consistently acquiesce it, but it absolutely boded well. It’s a club atmosphere in one of the best admirable theaters in America.”
The aureate accumulate motif, allotment of the building’s aboriginal design, has not yet been abundantly explained. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
And while Dylan played a not-uncharacteristic set — featuring aitionist rearrangements of abounding of his best-known songs, generally articulate in a accelerated appearance that about seemed advised to abash sing-alongs — he was uncharacteristically cheerful: animated a lot, tweaking lyrics, and singing a brace of songs unencumbered by an instrument. (For a awful a analysis of the show, see Jon Pareles’ commodity in the New York Times.) He alike — array of — danced.
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“Did you see those aftermost brace of songs?” Shapiro laughed. “He was like, accomplishing a jig!” And while he didn’t apprehend it from the man himself, “We apperceive that Dylan had a abundant time.”
Bob Dylan and his bandage ran through a alternation of hits from his all-encompassing catalog. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
Spotted in the army were the Roots’ ?uestlove (who chuckled aback asked if he was scoping out the breadth afore the aboriginal of several appropriate Roots shows there — this Friday a account with ex-Grateful Dead affiliate Bob Weir for the Headcount alignment that will additionally affection guests Warren Haynes, Grace Potter and others), Anthony Makes and John Moore from Bowery Presents (which co-books the venue), allegorical bedrock columnist Bob Gruen, New Yorker editor David Remnick, and a few others. But “per Dylan’s request, we were bound in what we had for tickets, so it wasn’t a big celebrity thing,” Shapiro said. “He capital them to go to the fans.”
Tickets were all $65, although they apparently won’t be a compatible amount for best shows. “Occasionally, or maybe they’ll be priced like accepted acceptance for best of the balustrade but the loge will be abnormally priced,” Shapiro said. “But it’ll be appearance by show, it won’t be one rule.”
An amateurish allowance off of the antechamber that will anon be a full-service bar appearance photos from archetypal performances at the venue, including Chicago, Eric Clapton and Johnny Winter. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
As for the aggressive assortment of the shows in the advancing months, assembly administrator Jon Dindas — a bounded boy who saw Phish and Dejection Traveler at the Capitol in 1990 — said, “We talked about it forever, and what we absitively was to get a calendar that talked to what we capital to do — some jam bands, some R&B, some rock, accelerating blues. What we achievement with these aboriginal shows is to accept article for everybody, and already they see the breadth we achievement they’ll appear back. There are millions of bodies who alive alfresco of New York who don’t appetite to go into the burghal every night for their entertainment, and cartoon from some bodies from the city, up arctic Connecticut and west of here, there isn’t a allowance like this anywhere in the area.”
The Capitol at night, complete with spotlights. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
And the cost? “The cardinal that’s been out there is $2 million, and all I’ll say is, it was added than that,” Shapiro said. “Let’s aloof say it was a multi-million dollar operation.”
Asked if there was annihilation about aperture night that he wasn’t actually annoyed with, Shapiro paused a few beats and replied, “I anticipation the lighting in antechamber 3, breadth the stairs are, was a little too bright…”
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