Thursday Throwback: Last Call at The Chateau
By Greg Haymes
MARCH 31: On this date in 1984, one of Albany’s all-time great live music venues called it quits. The Chateau – located somewhere in the vicinity of what is now the footprint of the Times Union Center – was once the epicenter of Greater Nippertown’s alt-rock music scene. And the nightclub – which hosted R.E.M. and a batch of other up-and-coming bands over the years – said farewell with one final rollickin’ bash featuring an all-star line-up of Local 518 scene-makers.
In truth, I don’t remember a whole lot about the night. I do, however, remember walking out of the club in the bright daylight hours of the next morning, wearing a wig of long black curls that made me look like Kevin McKrell’s doppelgänger and swigging from a bottle of some indeterminate fruit-flavored brandy. I staggered over to make an early morning television appearance for a telethon that was being broadcast from the Albany Hilton. Thankfully, social media and surveillance cameras were not omni-present back then, despite the fact that yes, indeed, it was 1984.
Fortunately, I had just been hired as a writer at Metroland, and the Chateau’s farewell was the lead item in the debut column, “Sarge Blotto’s Rockin’ Roll Call.” Here’s what I wrote back then:
END OF A CHAPTER
The Chateau is history now. But the downtown Albany club went out with style. What a party! Closing night (March 31) featured a fine set by the revamped, revitalized Fan Club, as well as two jumpin’ shows from the Sharks, who played a bunch of new tunes, including “Too Good for Words,” a boppin’ Bob Button composition.
And, of course, there were plenty of special guests. Joining the Sharks onstage for a song or two were Mark Ernst (who runs MCE Recording Studios in Schenectady), the duo of Kevin MacKrell & Bowtie Blotto, Mark McGovern (ex DJ on the ‘old’ Q104), Lee Harvey Blotto, the duo of Rikk-n-Roll and yours truly, Rick Bedrosian (from Squareone), Carla MacKrell & Bert Sommer (who, along with Rick and Kevin, make up four-fifths of the Fabulous Newports) and even Lin Brehmer (of the ‘new’ Q104).
A good time was had by all, and the folks who ran the Chateau are hoping to open another downtown rock club soon, perhaps as early as June or July. Let’s hope so…”
Needless to say, the “other downtown rock club” never came to pass, but the Chateau still left us with some great rock & roll memories…