Last Night's Wilco Show Served to Remind: Fair Park Music Hall Ain't Bad For a Concert

BobbyPattersonatMusicHall.JPG
Speaking of cell phones, I ran into the great Bobby Patterson last night. He was there to see his good pal Jeff Tweedy, who once covered this classic.
I won't horn in on the music blog's review of last night's Wilco-Nick Lowe show in the Music Hall at Fair Park. Seems about right to me, though the first-timer can't appreciate the giddy shock of hearing A.M. standard "Passenger Side" slid into that short, sharp, shard-filled set list that seemed to take as its inspiration Lowe's classic line: "l need the noises of destruction/When there's nothing new."

I would add this, though: The historic, city-owned venue -- which, over the years, has hosted the likes of Jimi Hendrix-Soft Machine, The Doors, the Allman Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Radiohead-Spiritualized -- needs to get back into regular rotation as a rock-concert venue, not merely a place to see Debbie Gibson and George Wendt schlep through town their kitsch-en sink Christmas Carol. Despite the Music Hall's legendary reputation for lousy acoustics, you could actually hear Nick Lowe's pure pop -- every slight joke, every sharp poke. The audience, comfy in plush seats, kept quiet as he crooned. Why, it was almost like being out of town.

Jayne Basse -- who books the Music Hall for Dallas Summer Musical Management Group, which actually runs the city-owned venue -- says more show are on the way. Dates, she tells Unfair Park this afternoon, are on hold for both LiveNation and AEG -- for whom, she won't say, but of course.

"When the Dallas Opera moved out it afforded us more time to rent out the building," she says. "So we now are hoping to build a relationship with some of the promoters who bring in concerts. We don't dedicate whether it's rock or country or whatever."

Incidentally, for those wondering why Wilco's set ended at 11 p.m. and wasn't as epic as, say, the '09 Palladium show, that had nothing to do with the Music Hall. Basse says: "We just rented the building, so they could have played all night."

I did discover, though, that the only thing more annoying than cell-phone cameras at a concert are D&L Security workers and Music Hall ushers telling people to stop using their cell-phone cameras. Terrific sentiment, lousy execution -- all that snarling and shoving as the men in blue and maroon vests brandished their flashlights like nightsticks was far more off-putting than someone trying to capture a keepsake.

Anyway. Now that the Music Hall's back in the mix, let's not forget about the Fair Park Band Shell. Cotton Bowl too.
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BR
BR

I'm with you on the Fair Park Bandshell.  Last concert I saw there was Joe Jackson's tour for "The Verdict."  For that particular band, on that particular tour, I doubt there was a better place to see it in the world.  Fair Park should be full of people and lights and activity every day of every week.

Jason
Jason

Thanks for the Spiritualized link!  I always get flak for this but I am not a huge fan of OK Computer.  Left this show after Spiritualized played.  There was something about this show that was different than other Spiritualized shows.  If memory serves, seemed more stripped down.  Early Pink Floyd-ish?

Wilco...  I really wish I would have dragged my ass out the house for this show.  This would have been a great venue for them.  I think the music hall is very charming.  I am also kicking myself that I missed seeing Nick Lowe.  I'm glad Wilco are giving someone like him the audience he deserves.  I think Robert Wyatt would be great to see on tour with them, as well.  

Oh, yeah.  GREAT picture of Bobby Patterson.  Did he have his shiny shoes on that night?  He is such a great guy.  Will you be including him in your Music History book?  By the way, I really do wish you would write a book.  Dallas' past music heyday is at the point where some of these people's stories need to be written down before they forget or they have left us.  Dallas has so many talented (even famous) musicians in its history.  It would be sad if it doesn't get recorded.  From session/touring musicians to outright star power musicians.  And every genre would/could be represented.  Each on their own merits might be footnotes, but collectively it would be a great book.  Even behind the scenes the overall music industry was a big part of it - concert/touring to all the major record labels that were once represented here.  The record shops of them olden days - the artists that passed through not only Dallas proper but even the suburbs.  I didn't know until recently that Gene Vincent lived in Dallas at one point.  Maybe I'm just being greedy.  For me, the wait between your music history posts is too long for me even though it's usually just one Friday to the next...  Plus, there are so many people in Dallas that could easily help and/or contribute - Gimarc, Dennard, Liles - and those are just the few off the top of my head...  Chapman, Buschardt.  Mark Lee would be a great one.

Okay, I've prattled on long enough.  But one more thing.  Overall, I think Texas has rich, rich, rich music history.  Not knowing much about Houston and Austin's history outside the punk rock stuff and the obvious stuff, I think Dallas has the richest.  Next would be Austin, which has some obviously great history, as well.  This book would be the starting point for the rest of Texas' bigger history tome and the ultimate goal being a Texas Music History museum (a proper one, not those two that are kicking around out there.  In my opinion they're doing it all wrong.)  At the very least an exhibit and a collection started by the state and showcased at the big ol' Bob Bullock Texas Museum down south.

Fin.

Craig Holcomb
Craig Holcomb

I saw Abbie Hoffman at the Band Shell.  Not exactly a rock band but he rocked.

The first time I ever saw Nazz/Todd Rundgren was there also.

Robert Kelly
Robert Kelly

I remember seeing Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello at the Band shell back in 84, it has been redone and I am with Brian, it is a great area and it really  should be used more..

Brian
Brian

watching that fantastic show made me realize how terrible Nokia/Verizon/grand prairie is. It was great being in the 3rd row for Rufus Wainwright & Neko Case at Verizon but Music Hall would have been better.

can we bring some acts for the incredible band shell (great renovation not being used?anyone else think a huge rock act (maybe foo fighters) at Cotton Bowl would be great?

Fair park could hold a pretty good music festival with all the various indoor and outdoor locations. imagine the fair but with lollapalooza/glastonbury/bonaroo/cochella type environment. 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I've been saying this for years, Fair Park would be an amazing site for a weekend festival ala ACLMF or Cochella.  It has numerous indoor/outdoor sites, lots of shade and rail to the door. Why hasnt C3 or any of the other large outfits jumped on board concerning this??

jon from tjs
jon from tjs

yes, but....

when a not-traditionally rock concert venue books a rock concert, how hard is it to figure out they need to triple the amount of booze and bartenders?

i realize i'm the exception to the rule (i get just as drunk at the opera/symphony as a rock concert), but your average Summer Musical attendee is not going to polish off 2-3 drinks.  every single rock concert attendee will.

besides the pain of standing in line, they are leaving money on the table. booze is easy revenue for a venue is desperate need of it!

they had run out of limes at every bar 4 songs in. that should tell you something.

G_David
G_David

Opera?  I'm going need a minimum of 5 drinks to get through that.

MML
MML

Have you ever actually been to an opera? I felt like I needed 5 drinks at Wilco to get over how asleep the crowd was SITTING DOWN ALL NIGHT! Wtf? The music sounded fine, but the atmosphere sucked.

G_David
G_David

I've been to about a dozen operas, always at the insistence of a female.  And while I love classical music (I play piano and french horn), once the lady starts singing, fat or otherwise, I'm out. 

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I knew I forgot to mention something. You're absolutely right: The lack of bartenders was downright shocking. Who knew -- people who go to concerts like to drink more than one beer every three hours, which is about how long it took once you got back in line. Which is why I always keep a flask in the car, for an after-hours drink.

Robert Kelly
Robert Kelly

i made cookies- which worked perfectly.

Jason
Jason

Yo, R. Kelly.  Give us the recipe or it didn't happen...  :)

Max from the Sandspit
Max from the Sandspit

The last time they did this Larry Kelly made enough dinero off of Dallas Notes sponsered rock to do a hell of a renovation of the joint. You left out Nazz, Spirit and Harry Chapin among others.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Two quick hits:

A) Whats the big deal about Wilco? Never been able to get into those guys, its like some sort of signal of music hipster coolness to like them and im obviously just not cool enough, like the old 97's w/ some sort of secret society handshake that makes you a fan.

B) D&L Security is and will always be the worst event managment co. in this fine country. I've been to other concerts and events across the great land of ours and have had better experiences w/ getting in and out of shows. RW, is D&L owned by one of or a friend of the "South Dallas Mafia"??

jon from tjs
jon from tjs

-actually wilco is the band that hip people don't think is cool enough...the indie band people like because its the one indie band they've heard of.  true music hipster coolness is being SO OVER wilco.

-my wife has never 'gotten' wilco, and last night was the first time she saw their appeal

G_David
G_David

Great for that type of show, possibly.  But for musicals, the acoustics AND the sight lines blow (depending on where you sit).  And remembering when the DSO had to play there almost makes me want to weep.

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