Goodbye To The Roseland Ballroom (12/31/1919-4/7/2014)

And so it ends. Last night Lady Gaga finished her several show residency at the venerated NYC night club and upon completion of the encores and the confetti, the doors were closed on The Roseland Ballroom forever. Wow. Such a feeling of finality for the NYC live music scene and words that I am truly finding sorrow in writing down for you all. I’m really going to miss this place being here for the shows. The marquee photo from below was from the last time that I would attend an event at the venue back in December of 2013. It was for the Japanese band “VAMPS” who were quite entertaining.

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The venue originally opened up at another location in 1919 and would move to the renovated ice skating rink venue that we all know and love in 1956. It was a massive space and I really had a lot of great concert times with my friends over the years. The first time that I would enter the cavernous space was to see Danzig back in 1992. I had been out of my band for a short while at the time and was looking to let loose any stressful energy. Kyuss opened up the show and at the time I was not the biggest fan. I didn’t get it. I took a job nearby the venue which made hitting the shows after work a very easy thing to do. We looked like quite the troupe all dressed in our Information Technology suits and ties because back during the nineties when we would gather to see bands like Type O Negative there was no dress down day. I always loved seeing TON at the space because their sound filled the room so well. Another band who filled the room would be Slayer who I caught at Roseland a total of three times over various tours. The main floor was almost always a full on circle pit when these Thrash Metal titans played.

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One of the greatest memories for me about the Roseland Ballroom was its being the place where I saw a number of bands for the very first time. Now while I am almost a lifelong Metalhead, I did not go to see every single band that came around when I was younger. I had a drum set to buy and those were expensive. So the concert madness came later in life for a lot of groups. I enjoyed Mudvayne for the first time at Roseland Ballroom and even Wednesday 13 who opened for Alice Cooper at the time. I think that it was here that I saw Megadeth for the first time some other fine openers like Arch Enemy, Dragonforce and Machinehead. I missed Metallica, Judas Priest and AC/DC based on how fast the tickets went out to the fans.  When I became the music scribe it would be a matter of securing the credentials before they ran out and sometimes when that came to pass there was no longer a means to snag a ticket so not everything that would happen up on the stage would be something that I can add to my music memory banks.

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Of the things I will not miss about the Roseland would be the way that the men’s bathroom always seemed to flood during a Slayer concert.  Part of me felt that the same guy was doing this as a destructive pattern.  That said, I will be missing the space itself and the great upstairs balcony that often became the only place of respite when the floor was on fire with crowd surfers or mosh pit insanity.  I don’t have any views of the space upstairs but I did have these two shots of the main floor and the back bar. The floor was rather empty as the fans were filing in at the time. The back bar was closed this particular night and then there is the last photo from the space that was rather interesting to me.

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This is a slightly crappy image of a plaque that hangs in the lobby and features the names of all the married couples that met right here at Roseland during one of the numerous dances that were held. I really hope this gets hung somewhere in NYC as a momento and that it does not end up in the junk heap. It’s really one of the most charming and simply bring a smile to your face kind of the things that I have ever seen.

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I had to rifle through my concert ticket stubs to see just how many times that I had actually gone to the Roseland for shows and it was not as many as I would have assumed considering I go to a LOT of live concerts in my quest for music journalism greatness these days. Not as much as some other friends but that being said its also far more than some of the others I know as well. Take a look. I think I only made a single mistake on the opener for TON once.

Show:
12/19/1992: Danzig w/Kyuss
10/31/1995: Type-O-Negative w/Hellfire Club
10/29/1997: Type-O-Negative w/Coal Chamber
7/7/1998: Iron Maiden w/Dio
10/29/1999: Type-O-Negative w/Puya
3/14/2000: Type-O-Negative w/Coal Chamber
8/13/2002: Slayer w/Soufly & In Flames
10/16/2003: Slayer w/Hatebreed & Arch Enemy
11/10/2004: Megadeth w/Exodus
11/11/2004: Slayer w/Killswitch Engage
4/12/2005: Mudvayne w/Life Of Agony and American Head Charge
10/21/2006: Alice Cooper w/Wednesday 13
3/1/2007: Killswitch Engage w/Dragonforce
3/22/2007: Lamb Of God w/Trivium/Machinehead
4/6/2007: Stone Sour w/Lacuna Coil
9/20/2008: Motorhead w/Valient Thorr
2/8/2010: Them Crooked Vultures w/The Brought Low
10/12/2010: X-Japan w/Vampires Everywhere
11/16/2012: Lamb Of God w/In Flames, Hatebreed and Sylosis
10/25/2013: Lamb Of God w/Killswitch Engage
12/8/2013: Vamps w/Killcode

The Roseland Ballroom will be demolished soon enough and instead of another venue of this size filling its place it will become a high rise apartment complex. That’s almost heartbreaking to realize considering we’ve more than enough apartment buildings for the high rollers in the city and less and less of the stuff that makes this city cool in the first place. I’ve left the comments open for you kind readers because I would love to hear some of your own Roseland Ballroom memories. Please let me know what some of your favorite shows were and perhaps a funny tale that happened to you as well while you were here. What will you miss most about the venue the most? Your input will give strength to these words and images. Goodbye Roseland Ballroom, you shall be missed.

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4 thoughts on “Goodbye To The Roseland Ballroom (12/31/1919-4/7/2014)”

  1. I remember seeing Motley Crue on the Generation Swine tour. My boyfriend and I stood on a bench all the way on the side because there was no way I was standing in that hot, over crowded sea of bodies. I saw Faith No More there as well. In my older years, I much prefer places with seating but it’s sad for the younger generation that another place in the city to see bands has closed.

  2. It’s where I saw In Flames live for the first time in 2004, and it was actually where I saw my last show in NYC…also In Flames. Kind of sad to see it go, even if I am so far away now.

  3. I always hated the Roseland Ballroom. I thought it was the worst place in the city to see a concert. It was very difficult to actually see the band amidst a way-too-large general admission area, and you were always squished between sweaty people. I hate to see any NYC venue for live music disappear, but if I had to choose one, it would have been this one.

    First Concert @ Roseland: Mötley Crüe, 1997
    Last Concert @ Roseland: Daughtry, Jan. 2014

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