Fitz Tales: Great Moments From Club's "Grand Re-Opening"

All this week and into next, Fitzgerald's is celebrating its "Grand Re-Opening," marking the third anniversary of the venerable Heights venue's much-discussed acquisition by the powers behind Free Press Summer Fest. We asked a few Fitz staff members to share a few of their favorite stories from these past thousand days or so.

Omar Afra, partner The Foreign Exchange was maybe one of the best performance I have seen at Fitz. Squeezed into the downstairs room, the show was packed full people who came to not passively watch this band but to get Mega-Crunk with them.

Every last member of the band is a bonafide monster. Even their intros and segues are ridiculous awesome. Objectively speaking, they are the best band to ever enter the building since we took over. That is just a fact.

Jason Petzold, Bookings Associate/Operations Manager, Pegstar.net Some cool Fitz moments for me:

  • Hearing The Raveonettes play around with "Purple Rain" during soundcheck.
  • Taking a few members of Stars to pick up some groceries, and hearing Amy Millan sing along to Patsy Cline on the radio.
  • Booking more shows than the previous year each year we've been open.
  • Booking more comedy shows in 2013 than in years past. Whitest Kids U Know, Pete Holmes, Neal Brennan and some really awesome stuff.
  • Weird moment: Mastodon being really quiet when they played. They still sounded heavy, but they were one of the quietest bands we've had.

Johnny So, partner From a technical standpoint, the show that stands out most in my mind is St. Vincent (10/25/2011) -- the technical precision of their lighting rig and effects made that an amazing show, even if you didn't know much about her music (I didn't at the time).

The most memorable experience for me was the Boots Electric show (10.30.11). I'm a huge Eagles of Death Metal fan, and I basically got to see Jesse Hughes perform a private show in front of 40 people (plus he threw in several EODM songs). I talked to him after the show and commented that it must be weird playing front of thousands of people as part of EODM and then 40 people at Fitz, but he was still so complimentary and appreciative of the venue and the people who came out - very cool of him.

Then came the weird part when he asked if we'd mind if he pulled out his roller skates (old-school quads) and skate around the downstairs room -- he's a rock star, so why not? As proof, I snapped this photo of him still in his skates talking to Johnette Napolitano (lead singer of Concrete Blonde, who performed upstairs that night) on the front porch.

More Fitz tales on the next page.

Paul Vandemark, Production Manager August 20, 2012: I helped carry Lindsey Buckingham's gear into the venue and got to looking at his guitars. He had them labled by which hit he plays on it. There was one for "Landslide" and one for "Big Love." It was really a pleasure to meet/host him.

October 5, 2012: While Dinosaur Jr. soundchecked Jay [Mascis] was reading his news feed, or email, while riffing sludgefest, pausing to scroll down the page. It's difficult to walk and read without tripping, Imagine plucking out one of the craziest guitar solos in the band's catalogue and casually catching up [with] emails on the road.

March 12 2013: There was a lot of talk leading up to the Solange show about it being the "not Beyonce show." Being a fairly unseasoned Beyonce fan I paid little attention to the chatter and let the show creep up on me without hearing a single song by Solange. That was by far not the case with the audience.

This show was one of the best experiences I have had at a live concert. The mix sounded great and the fans had the most energy I had ever seen. They literally knew every word to every song. I am a believer of the notion that a concert is made by its fans, [and] this show was definitely proof to that.

Fitz's "Grand Re-Opening" continues tonight through Monday with, among others, Ra Ra Riot, Ewert & the Two Dragons, Title Fight/Balance & Composure, Bleeding Rainbow, Murder By Death, Mayer Hawthorne and many more. The official party is Tuesday, September 17. See fitzlivemusic.com for details on winning a "Golden Ticket" good for admission to every show.


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