Sometime yesterday the news was officially broke by Billboard.com about the not to far in the distant future closure of the Roseland Ballroom based on an email that they received. I’ll admit to my fair readers that I had already heard about this shocking event a few weeks ago by a concert going regular whose voice I trust, but when I dug about for more information around the realm I was told “nope” and “this is not true at all” by the parties that I reached out to about it. Of course I didn’t really believe that since I could see how such a thing would happen given the state of how NYC works in terms of real estate. For good measure I even checked in with some peers in “that which I do” and they had no idea about it but I was not going to write down my thoughts until one of the biggies put it to paper and now with Billboard doing just that we can toss our views into the mix.
The Roseland Ballroom is a massive concert space that holds about 3500 for its maximum capacity and of course depending on the event this number comes close to happening or being far smaller. It was an ice-skating rink back in the day and it was converted to a dance hall/concert space after renovations and has apparently stood since 1919. It’s hosted a little bit of everything under the musical sun in terms of genre and of course was the dance hall and banquet hall if needed to be. Personally speaking I have only attended the Metal shows that were held here and my first experience in the venue itself was with a 1992 Danzig show that I attended with my friend Rebel. According to my concert going records (yes I keep track because I am “that guy”) I’ve only actually been to about twenty shows at the Roseland Ballroom. It was not always possible to get tickets for things and that is just the way it goes. Historically speaking the bands that I had seen most at Roseland were Type O Negative and Slayer. I was not writing yet when the TON shows happened but I smile when I recall how I would leave my corporate job and run downstairs to get online to see them destroy the venue. When I caught Slayer here for the last time I was writing and that review was one of the first bunch that I did in my music scribe adventuring.
I must say that I do like The Roseland with its cavernous spaces and super cool upstairs balcony. I vaguely remember being on an additional balcony in the place but I don’t believe that is accessible at the time of this writing. Based on the closure news it might never be again. From the scattered reports the closing of the historic space doesn’t seem to be based on the competition from the surrounding venues like Hammerstein Ballroom, Terminal 5 nor the Best Buy Theater and is more about real estate greed as owner Larry Ginsberg plans to tear the structure down and replace it with luxury apartments. This makes sense because we need more of those in the city don’t you think?
Last night Glen Danzig played a show there and Lamb Of God hits here next with Killswitch Engage and Testament. I’m not sure how many Metal shows we will find being booked here now that the clock is ticking on its demise. I will say that when it finally closes that I will miss this place because I had a lot of good memories with friends who love music. The thing I will not miss is the flooding of the Mens bathroom that always seemed to happen during a Slayer appearance. It always seemed to happen at the worst time if you catch my drift.
Fill me in with your own Roseland Ballroom recollections and favorite show memories as I would love to hear them. I’ve linked the clubs official Wikipedia entry for you to learn more about its history and soon enough that will be all that remains. Oh yeah and if you click my marquee graphic you will be brought to any concert reviews that I did at this venue during my professional music scribe adventures.
Official Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseland_Ballroom