On the Move: Where Will Albany’s Alive at Five Concert Series Go?
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
As Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced at an Earth Day press conference last month, major renovations are already underway at Albany’s Corning Preserve. The $5 million upgrade means that construction will be going on throughout the summer, forcing the displacement of the annual Thursday evening Alive at Five concert series from the Jennings Landing amphitheater.
So with the free concert series slated to kick off just a month from now, the question is, “Where will Alive at Five go?”
There are several possibilities:
1. North Pearl Street – It’s where the Alive at Five concert Series began back in 1990 when a mobile stage was rolled onto North Pearl at the State Street intersection for a free outdoor concert by Richie Havens. Drawbacks? It’s a major disruption of downtown traffic and businesses at rush hour. There’s no seating.
2. Tricentennial Park – It’s where the Alive at Five concert series moved in 1991, after it left the corner of State & N. Pearl. It still creates a traffic problem, although not quite as bad. And like the N. Pearl Street site, the space may simply be too small to accommodate the considerably larger crowds that have been attending the Alive@5 concerts in recent years.
3. The Corning Preserve Boat Launch Parking Lot – It’s the current rain site for Alive at Five. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this is simply the most inhospitable concert venue I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. The site under the I-787 overpass looks like the setting for the “West Side Story” rumble scene. But the big problem isn’t the ambiance; it’s the audio. This is a horrible sounding place for a concert.
4. Washington Park – Of course the Pearl Street bars (who benefit from the Alive@5 after-party overflow) won’t like it, but why not just move everything up to Washington Park for the summer? Put it on the Parade Grounds (where the Main Stage is located for this weekend’s Tulip Festival), so that it doesn’t interfere with Park Playhouse at the Lake House Stage. It’s spacious, it’s grassy, and we know that it works well enough as a performance venue.
What do you think?