Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Jerry Garcia and Friends: March 25, 1972, Academy of Music, New York, NY

Bo Diddley, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir: Saturday, March 25, 1972, Hells Angels Benefit at the Academy of Music, New York, NY. I sure feel inept not knowing more about this venue. I assume it's the one at 126 14th Street, New York, NY? I am basing that on this random bit of info I found.

Anyway, the pic is credited to photographer Chuck Pulin and accompanied a too-brief but neat piece of writing (1) about the weeklong scene (GD in residence from Tuesday, March 21, 1972 through Tuesday, March 28, 1972 before jumping off to Europe)

Haven't seen this pic before, thought I'd put it into the record.

(1) Carr, Patrick. 1972b. One Full Week Running With: Grateful Dead. Grapevine (Toronto) no. 14, May 17, 1972, p. 15. 


update01: see also my "JGB 9/15/76 S.S. Duchess, New York City Harbor, New York, NY"

update02: LIA has transcribed under "March 21-28, 1972: Academy of Music, NYC"


  1. Hey Middle Finger, As you know, I've been compiling info on all Non GD Jerry-played venues...here's what I've got for The Academy Of Music:

    126 E. 14th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues.
    NY, NY
    Capacity 3600

    This was the second theater building on 14th Street to bear the Academy of Music name.

    (The original Academy stood across the street at the northeast corner of 14th and Irving Place, and was "the city's first successful opera house," according to Terry Miller's Greenwich Village and How It Got That Way (New York: Crown, 1990).
    Designed by architect Alexander Saeltzer and built in 1854, it hosted the American premieres of Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Die Walkure, and Carmen, and such major social events as an 1860 ball in honor of the Prince of Wales. The Academy also has a roundabout connection to the birth of American musical theater. In May of 1866, a fire at the theater left a French ballet troupe stranded without a place to perform. The company, its scenery, and its elaborate stage effects were hastily added to a production of The Black Crook at Niblo's Garden; the resulting bizarre combination of Faustian drama and tutu-and-tights dance routines became a major hit and is widely considered to be the first full-fledged Broadway musical.
    The Academy was rebuilt after the fire, but it didn't last much longer as an opera house. In the Whartonesque high society of the times, one was looked down upon if one did not have a box at the opera--and to the frustration of newer Gilded Age millionaires, Old New York's most aristocratic families had long kept a tight hold on the Academy's eighteen boxes.
    In protest, the nouveaux riches decided to build their own palace of prestige further uptown--the original Metropolitan Opera House at 1423 Broadway near 39th Street, opened in 1883. This new house not only had ample boxes, it also had its own resident company and musical director--aspects which the Academy had always lacked. Old money was forced to admit defeat, and soon defected to the boxes at the Metropolitan. The Academy presented its last opera in 1885, and thereafter offered the public a mixture of theater, vaudeville, and later, films.
    Sammy Cahn was inspired to take up songwriting after witnessing a vaudeville show there.

  2. Across 14th Street from the site of the opera house, the south side of East 14t Street, a movie theatre opened in 1927 which took the name the Academy of Music. It was built as a 3,000-seat deluxe movie palace by movie mogul William Fox, and was designed by Thomas W. Lamb. It served as a venue for rock concerts in the 1970s, and in 1985 became the Palladium nightclub, designed by Arata Isozaki.[17] The theater was bought and demolished by New York University, and replaced by the present Palladium Residence Hall, which opened in 2001.[17] (White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot. AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.) New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8129-3107-6.)

    While the second Academy of Music was obviously named after its predecessor, music was not its original raison d'etre. It was never intended as a concert hall, and first opened in 1926 as a deluxe "presentation" house with a feature movie and vaudeville. It was advertised in The New York Times on October 21, 1926, with "Marriage License" on screen and a stage show featuring Leo Carrillo, Nonette, Art Landry & His Band, and the 60-piece Academy Symphony Orchestra. This could have been the premiere presentation. Some of the furnishings were purchased by Mrs. William Fox during her frequent shopping tours of Europe. Fox had been shut out of building in the Broadway-Times Square area, so he hoped that crowds would flock to 14th Street to attend this beautifully appointed theatre, but that didn't happen. With the onset of the Depression, Fox lost his entire theatre empire, including the Academy of Music. In the bankruptcy proceedings that followed, the Academy became part of the Skouras circuit, which operated it for the rest of its four decades as a movie theatre. Skouras was notorious for its housekeeping, and the Academy became increasingly shabby and uncomfortable with the passing of time.
    Interestingly, simultaneously with the Academy of Music, Fox and Lamb built a slightly smaller version in Brooklyn on Bedford Avenue near Eastern Parkway. The 3,200-seat Savoy Theatre had a similar auditorium, but without a grand lobby connecting it to the entrance. Happily, the Savoy still stands and is used as an evangelical church, with most of the interior decor intact except for whitewashing of some areas. Some of the original "drops" used for vaudeville are still hanging in the stage loft. (Warren G. Harris)
    For a few years, operas were staged at both The Academy of Music and The Met. In the end; the Met won out. The Union Square area (which had been the home for opera and theatre for more than a decade) passed into oblivion. Almost all legit theatre productions were performed mid town (the forty-second street region) by the turn of the last century.
    The place was also used for the occasional boxing match.

  3. The Academy's first big rock & roll event appears to have been an Alan Freed show over the Christmas holiday in 1955, featuring the Cadillacs, LaVern Baker, the Valentines, the Heartbeats, the Wrens, the 3 Chuckles, the Bonnie Sisters, and the Count Basie Orchestra.
    In the early 60s it was still a great double-feature movie-house but for one night they had The Dave Clark 5 with The Kinks opening!

    In December, 1961, the radio DJ known as "Murray the K" hosted a "Holiday Stage Spectacular" here that ran for eleven days, with shifting headliners. Johnny Mathis topped the bill on December 22-23, followed by Bobby Vee from December 24-29, and by Dion from December 30 through January 1. Performing throughout the engagement were Joey Dee & The Starliters, U.S. Bonds, Bobby Lewis, Timi Yuro, the Isley Brothers, Jan & Dean, and others.

    The next rock act I've confirmed is the Rolling Stones, who played the hall on October 24, 1964, and May 1 and November 6, 1965. Tom Wolfe describes the scene at the '64 show to super-fab effect in his essay about Baby Jane Holzer, "The Girl of the Year" [available in The Purple Decades (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982) or The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (New York: Bantam, 1999 reprint)]. Bob Gruen recounts his memories of the November '65 gig here.

    It was also famous for having one of New York's Most famous Billiard Palors on its first floor, it was called Obriens. It had tables running for a whole block and every great pool hustler cut his teeth there including Minnisota Fats. (Bruce G, former GM of The Underground on Union Square, SF)

    Until the late 1970's there was still a (barely discernable) large size painting of a ticket that advertised "two features, cartoon and newsreel" for 5 cents. (Jahn Bonfiglio and William Gabel)

    With the demise of the legendary Fillmore East in 1971, the Academy of Music found new life as the premier mid-range venue for rock and roll music. During the 1970's it was far removed from the center of the Manhattan movie district, and had an amazing dual life - - - concert hall by night, and home to cheesy kung-fu movies by day. Three or four evenings a week, the cream of 1970's rock bands came through, three bands a night, shows at 8 & 11:30 PM. (Jahn Bonfiglio and William Gabel)

    In Sept of 1971 Howard Stein booked a deal with United Artists for the unlimited use of the Academy and when Howard did not have a live show UA ran movies.
    Lou Reed's "Rock n Roll Animal"/"Live" was recorded at the Academy of Music in 1973 or 1974. One of the great live records.

    It was re-christened the Palladium in 1976 with a concert by The Band, who were on their last tour and just weeks away from their farewell "Last Waltz" concert in San Francisco. When it did reopen prior to the concert by The Band the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ was sold and removed. Pipes and all. Piece by piece.
    The Palladium was a major venue in New York for rock bands who wanted an audience larger than a club but not quite arena size, like Madison Square Garden. Many bands performed at the Palladium as part the middle of large arena and stadium tours, due to the prestige of the club and the more intimate audience size. The club featured a highly regarded sound system that was designed and installed by Richard Long of Richard Long & Associates,(RLA).
    Thousands of bands played shows at the Palladium. This was a great, huge theater, with a crystal chandelier the size of a Volkswagon hanging from the ceiling, that shook so much we thought it would come crashing down. See "Palladium" for more information.

  4. In May 1985 the interior was remodeled to become a multi-story disco club of the same name by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, after they were forced to sell Studio 54. Opening night was 5/14/85.The orchestra seats stripped out and the floor leveled for dancing. (Jahn Bonfiglio, William Gabel)
    They hired Danceteria DJ Richard Sweret who saw the possibility of a much larger audience for a downtown ‘new wave’, Euro and house music oriented club.
    After the conversion from a venue to a club, the main dance floor of the Palladium was a huge space which used to hold the theater and seating. One interesting feature of the club was the large banks of TV monitors in grid formations that were used to display music videos. Each monitor could operate separately, or one large picture could be shown across the grid.
    The entire club was big held different areas, the equivalent of three or four clubs. Besides the pounding main dance floor area there was a multicolored basement, and the famous upstairs "VIP room," The Michael Todd Room. Murals were created for this space by the well known New York artists of the 1980s Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf.
    Like the old Loews Commodore (later known as the Fillmore East) on 2nd Avenue and East 6th, this building was razed to make way for the expansion of a local university. (Ed Solero)

    Alas, these stories never have happy endings. As with the NYC landmark Luchow's restaurant (right next door,) New York University swallowed up the property, as they have so often, and demolished all of the buildings in 1997. The NYU dormitory that replaced the theatre is called Palladium.(Jahn Bonfiglio and William Gabel)

    The demolition of the Palladium was first announced in December, 1996. I don't know the date of the actual start of the process, but it took months due to the massiveness of the building.

    Ron Poole, my father, was the manager there until Delsner left... the last show was Zebra, I remember that night well. My father stayed on for a bit when Robell and Scrager (sp?) took over but he could not take it anymore. The chandelier that was there was dropped to the ground and destroyed. I still have a few pieces of the crystals. My father used to take me all the way to the top where the circle was around the chandelier... there was this narrow, spiral staircase that seemed to go up forever... it was freakin dangerous, a few of the steps were actually missing. When you got up there you could look down over the whole orchestra, it was an awesome view. THE HUGE chandelier that was rebuild that hung from the center ceiling was taken down and who knows where that is if it is still around. I heard it cost $50k to restore.
    Elton John played there and one of the things he asked for was to have the chandileer working.. They had to lower it with extra lines to make sure that the cable it was held up with did not snap. On a few occasions I had to climb the ladder on the back wall stage right side to get up to the fly level. Man that was a scary feeling knowing therer was nothing between you and the ground.
    I miss that place and can not believe what it became after Ron Delsner left it, and that it was just demolished like it never existed. On the 3rd floor behind the concession stands there was a HUGE storage room that no one used. We used to talk about turning it into a large loft type apartment. Back there were tons of old papers and artifacts. I have some stuff from that back room, but I am sure they demo'd all of the stuff that was in there along with the building. I can not even imagine the history that was in that area that I never saw and no one will ever see now. (Noel Gypsy)

    Dates Jerry played here:

  5. i attended 3 of the 3/72 academy of music shows including the bo diddley night. i also saw garcia there with howard wales a couple of months earlier. i have many fond memories of the place and saw lots of great shows there as the academy of music and later as the palladium.

  6. slip, that information dates the change of name to the Palladium in 1985 in one account and 1976 in another. Anyone know the year that actually happened?

  7. sorry I didn't read through that better......Stein later re-emerged with clubs like Xenon, the Rock Lounge, and Au Bar. Meanwhile, ravenous rock freaks still had use for the old hall--and so the Academy was renamed the Palladium, with superpromoter Ron Delsener assuming the booking duties. Here's yet another non-exhaustive list of notable bands/shows--don't worry, it's got more coolness per capita than the one above:

    The Band did a multi-night stand in September, 1976--their penultimate shows before the Last Waltz at Winterland.
    I am not sure if this was the first show as The Palladium or not.

    In 1985 the Palladium was converted into a nightclub by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, after they were forced to sell Studio 54.

  8. I guess it was the Palladium by the April-May 1977 GD shows, in any case.

  9. if my memory serves, the last shows as the academy of music were late 75. lots of early ads here including some dead related.




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