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Saturday, November 20, 2004

RT Rybak to stage dive at tonight's sold out Los Lonely Boys show at First Ave

It wasn't a race to press, but I got my GWAR review from last night's First Avenue show online by 10:45 p.m. even before heading over to the 400 Bar for The Glad Version and Love-Cars. (Local musician Steve McPherson , a recent addition to the HowWasTheShow writing team, has reviewed of that show here.)

The Star Trib covers the re-opening here, and the Pioneer Press weighs in here.

Apparently, the Star Tribune (music critic Chris Riemenschneider and photo journalist Jeff Wheeler) will be on hand again tonight for RT Rybak's stage dive, probably wisely rescheduled from last night, so it's only 50/50 at this point HowWasTheShow will try to attend tonight's sold-out show. HowWasTheShow does it's best to fill coverage gaps, but there's no sense in us trying to compete with major news organizations with backstage and photo access as that's a sure-fire road to frustration.

I will say that one thing I did not miss during First Avenue's closure was being yelled at by door staff for being in the wrong line. After waiting for 10 minutes it wasn't until I was already through the security check that I was told that guest listees were to queue at the other door, putting me to the end of yet another now longer line in the rain. Anyone who goes to a lot of shows at First Avenue (or other large clubs) knows that copies of the guest list are sometimes kept at more than one entrance for efficiency. Okay, my mistake, but it was likely unnecessary for the woman at the door to yell at top volume three feet from my ear at the rest of the line of maybe 30-40 people that this was the TicketMaster only line. ("Welcome back to you too," I may have muttered under my breath while making my way to the other door.)

A minor guest list mix-up once inside the club led to my meeting the genial (and efficient) Sam Peterson, the club's new operations manager, who is quoted in today's Star Tribune as saying service and cleanliness are two of the club's new priorities. Read that article here: First Ave.: Rock 'n' roll revival

Now I'm pretty thick-skinned after 20+ years of attending rock shows (16+ years of those at at First Avenue), and I am far from an average rock fan, but some people have been turned off and away by the sometimes surly treatment of the First Avenue door staff over the years. "First Avenue wasn't called First Attitude for nothing," one poster remarked last week on the messageboard at

But the last thing that First Avenue needs right now is bad press. And if such real or perceived service issues can be addressed it can only help the club that needs the support of everyone (and I mean everyone) from the white collar workers who inhabit the office towers of downtown during the day to the tattoed punks ostensibly born and bred in the dark, smelly and smokey confines of the 7th Street Entry.

Waiting at the door for admittance also gave me the opportunity to chat very briefly with a happy looking, but extremely busy Steve McClellan who didn't have much time to stop moving on what appeared to be overall a bang-up of a successful re-opening night.