Steve Miller was once an Austinite, and once a U.T. student, before he blew town for the West Coast in the 60's in search of his fame and fortune. It's probably a good thing he didn't hang around waiting for Austin's music scene to catch up.
The long time Dallas transplant, who spent time on Les Paul's knee learning guitar as a child, returned to Austin last night to be the first artist to tape a set for the internationally known Austin City Limits show in it's new home at the Moody theater.
With a show that interspersed his own hits with standards like "Mercury Blues", Miller and his band transported many concertgoers back in time to the 70's, myself included.
Playing to a "sold out" house, per se, (it appeared the show, like most ACL tapings, was invitation only) the venue was packed by an upscale Austin audience that appeared to include most of Austin's music press, as well as local music industry notables and lots and lots of long time friends of KLRU and ACL. With the floor standing room only, those in the balconies had the better view though the sound quality was excellent not only throughout the house, but even on the P.A. at the street party outside the theater.
This has been a month of firsts for Austin's newest live music venue and it has already gone far to establish itself as one of Austin's best. I hope to be invited back to cover some other ACL tapings but only time will tell.
It's often been said that you can't toss a rock in downtown Austin without hitting a musician, where you can expect to find live music happening any day of the week and at virtually any hour, but its' not often that you turn the corner downtown and see an entire street turned into a live music venue. It happens, but it's usually an exception rather than a rule. Tonight was one of those exceptions.
Austins re-vitalized 2nd Street district shut itself down for an old fashioned block party, and who better than one of Austin's own, Rick Trevino, to help welcome KLRU and Austin City Limits to their new home in the Moody Theater of the W Hotel.
With the studio's move from down on the UT campus, and with tonight's first Austin City Limits taping of Steve Miller, guests of the taping were treated to a full set by Rick and his band as they trans-versed the street to the studio. It's not often you have to go through one concert to attend another, but in Austin you get used to it.
Rick's set ended with just enough time to slip into the Moody Theater and settle in for Steve Miller. Patrons at the street party then got to watch and listen to the Austin City Limits taping inside on large projection screens across from the theater, and frankly the view, and the audio mix were superb, almost as good as the theater itself. It's too bad the screens do not appear to be permanent, but perhaps making each taping an event is something worth considering.
A sold out crowd at the new ACL Live venue downtown Austin welcomed Styx last Saturday night.
Let me first go on record as confirming what you may have previously heard about Austin's new flagship music venue: it's beautifully designed, every seat in the house boasts a great stage view. Add state of the art sound system and a doting staff and I'm confident ACL Live will quickly become your new favorite venue.
Hard to believe that Styx (Current lineup: Tommy Shaw, James "JY" Young, Ricky Phillips- rumored to be an Austinite himself, Todd Sucherman and Lawrence Gowan) have been tearing up the stage since 1970.
Having had four consecutive multiplatinum releases in a row in their early career easily lent itself to a setlist I lovingly call "all killer, no filler". I was impressed by the level of enthusiasm and gusto brought by each member. With tight performances like Saturday night it's plain to see why renegades of all ages turn up to rock out with Styx.
Home of the new Austin City Limits Studio, the new Moody Theater in the W Hotel has raised the bar for live music venues in Austin, and as part of their opening celebration tonight Willie Nelson played a selection of favorites backed by a 55 piece orchestra. What a great way to start.
Designed both as a live music venue and a live music studio to host the internationally acclaimed Austin City Limits television show, the theater holds 2.700+ people and not one of them is more than 100 feet away from the stage. Every seat in the house is a good one, even the bartenders can see the stage, and acoustically it's one of the best I've heard.
It would be a lie to say that everything went perfectly at tonight's grand opening celebration, but if there were any flaws I didn't encounter them. I'm sure that behind the scenes an awful lot of people put in a huge number of overtime hours to give that appearance. To have come so far in such a short period of time it's amazing just how well it turned out and everyone involved deserves a "well done".
With lots of great shows coming up including superstar talent like Diana Ross, Janet Jackson and more, ACL Live at the Moody Theater is sure to become one of my favorite venues. I look forward to covering some of the unique shows they have in store for us this season. To check out their schedule of upcoming shows, make sure to visit their web site at http://www.acl-live.com/.
If it wasn't 12 degrees outside, the crowd at Austin's La Zona Rosa could have become confused and thought they were at a SXSW showcase with headliners Tokyo Police Club and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin making their visit to town early this year.
The crowd was definitely sparse compared to what it could have been had the weather stayed in the 70s for just one more day, but the frigid temps didn't stop the hard core, the bar was busy even without hot coffee, and the bands kept the crowd warm.