While cleaning up – or at least making an attempt – over the weekend, I came across a somewhat yellowed stash of the Times Union Preview sections from July, 1997.
Thumbing through the pages, it was oh-so-interesting to see how much has changed around here in a dozen years. And how much hasn’t changed a bit.
THEN: Over Fourth of July weekend, Arlo Guthrie was at SPAC, hosting the Furthur Festival with the Black Crowes, Bob Weir’s Ratdog, Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, moe., Bruce Hornsby and more.
NOW: Over Fourth of July weekend, Arlo Guthrie was at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass. hosting his annual Summer Revival.
THEN: Other Fourth of July bashes featured Lyle Lovett at Tanglewood and the Guess Who (a Canadian band!) at the Empire State Plaza.
NOW: The Fourth definitely took on jazzier overtones with Diana Krall at Tanglewood and Al Jarreau at the the Price Chopper festivities at the Plaza.
THEN: Sawyer Brown headlined WGNA’s Countryfest at the Saratoga Equine Sports Center.
NOW: Montgomery Gentry headlined WGNA’s Countryfest at the Altamont Fairgrounds.
THEN: Capital Repertory Company launched its first-ever summer season with “Always, Patsy Cline.”
NOW: “Patsy” has returned to Cap Rep several times since then, but this summer it’s all about “Shear Madness.”
THEN: Nicholas Cage was starring in two movies – “Con Air” and “Face/Off.”
NOW: It’s been a delightfully free Cage-free summer at the theaters so far. He isn’t planning “National Treasure III,” is he?
THEN: The free two-day Fleet Blues Fest filled the Empire State Plaza with the sounds of Junior Wells, Rory Block, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, GE Smith, Debby Davies and lots more.
NOW: Over the years, the Fleet Blues dwindled down to just one day and then disappeared altogether.
THEN: The free Washington Park Concert Series hosted performances by the Blind Boys of Alabama, Rosanne Cash, Solas and Rockapella.
NOW: The free Monday Night Concerts in the Park series has been cancelled.
THEN: The Starlite Music Theatre welcomed the likes of Weird Al Yankovic, Huey Lewis & the News and Pat Benatar.
NOW: The Starlite closed years ago, and now it’s in a very sorry state of decay.
THEN: The Berkshire Performing Arts Theater at the National Music Center hosted concerts by Shawn Colvin, Duncan Sheik and David Byrne.
NOW: BPAT has been closed for years now.
THEN: The Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival featured an all-star line-up – including Alison Krauss & Union Station, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan and Richard Greene – at the Rothvoss Farm in Ancramdale.
NOW: The Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival hasn’t been around in several years now.
THEN: Saratoga Winners welcomed Corrosion of Conformity; Roomful of Blues rocked Duke’s After Dark in Saratoga; Marky Ramone pummeled QE2; the Amy Abdou Band played the Waterfront Cafe in Troy; Conehead Buddha was jammin’ at Aiko’s in Sartoga; Joe McPhee was blowing at Mother Earth’s Cafe; Jill Hughes and the Funky White Boys were gettin’ down at the Metro in Saratoga.
NOW: All of those Capital Region live music venues are long gone.