You see things; and you say, “Why?”
But I dream things that never were;
and I say, “Why not?
-George Bernard Shaw
Ok so this one is a theatre that gives me absolute chills. It is old, has history. I bet it is just full of spirit and tales. I swear how in the heck did you guys find and decide on these theatres. I had a feeling that they were going to be amazing but as I go and explore each stop…WOW. I do have to say, OMG please let’s create this discussion. I am literally seeing image after image in my head at each theatre….
Date: September 16
Theatre: Tower Theatre, Upper Darby PA
Seating: 3119 people
Trivia Facts about The Tower Theatre:
- Known for its natural acoustic properties, the venue has been used for recording live albums by many bands.
Oh to hell with it. Here is the History of the theatre from Wikipedia. What a freaking historical gem this theatre is.
The Tower Theater, built in 1927, was opened a year later, by John H. McClatchy, as one of Upper Darby Township’s first movie houses. Located just outside the city limits of Philadelphia, the theater thrived in the busy area that was once the most highly traveled route to Center City from the west. In its early years, Tower Theater showed both vaudeville acts and movies.
By the 1970s, the Tower had fallen on hard times. It was then owned by the A.M. Ellis chain and showed third-run movies for a $1 admission.
In June, 1972, after refurbishing the theater from a severe fire, Midnight Sun Concerts from Northern New Jersey, promoted its first concert at the Tower, Dave Mason and Buzzy Linhart, a sold out show on June 14, 1972. Reviewer Jonathan Takiff in the Philadelphia Daily News announced in the next day’s paper that “Philly Finally has its Fillmore,” making reference to New York’s famed Fillmore East. Midnight Sun’s president, Rick Green, and his stage manager, Upper Darby native Billy Stevenson, were instrumental in adapting the Tower for this role. For the next three or more years, Midnight Sun’s Tower concerts became the stuff of local legend. The Tower introduced America to David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars in 1972 as well as the then-unknown Genesis with Peter Gabriel that same year; Genesis played a midnight concert with a $4 admission price. In September 1974, Bruce Springsteen – who had an early, strong, and long-lived fan base in Philadelphia – introduced the world to his new E Street Band, with Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan, at the Tower Theater. It was the first time in his career that Springsteen earned $5,000 for a night’s work. He returned in early November for two sold-out shows; it would still be a year before his big breakthrough with Born To Run and the attendant publicity. Other regular Midnight Sun headliners at the Tower included Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Steve Miller, and various editions of the Jerry Garcia/Merle Saunders band. David Bowie repaid his Philly fans by recording his David Live album during a long run of shows at the Tower. The Average White Band’s live album, Person to Person, was recorded at the Tower with Atlantic Records’ Arif Mardin in the production truck behind the theater. It was not unusual at a Tower show to observe the following rock journalists huddling together during the intermission and comparing notes: Daid Fricke, Matt Damsker, Bill Mandel, Jon Takiff, John David Kalodner, together with Ed Sciaky and Michael Tearson from the city’s progressive rock radio station WMMR. Bowie and Genesis’ Phil Collins would subsequently mention their Tower shows as being instrumental in introducing them to an American audience.
In late 1975, the owners informed Midnight Sun that they were selling the theater to the promoter’s much larger competitor,Electric Factory Concerts. The final Midnight Sun produced show at the Tower was 10cc, the British pop duo, in December 1975.
A well-regarded 1980 show at the theater became the source for the video Paul Simon in Concert, released in 2003 as Live At the Tower Theatre.
The Tower Theater happened to be a popular venue for Berliner’s Tangerine Dream since they played here 4 times on their North American Tours. Dates include April 6, 1977; June 25, 1986; September 10, 1988; and October 10, 1992.
By the 2000s the theater continued to be active, filling much the same role in the concert hierarchy as the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The theater operates under the Live Nation/Electric Factory Concerts name.
There is literally nothing I can say or add to the history that this theatre has seen and to be performing in it and be a part of that history…..
*PS-Dear Reader- The only favor I ask is that you follow the story, Share if you are so inclined. Know that I am following dreams as you do.