Posts Tagged ‘the boathouse’
These hallowed walls scream…and the walls of The Boathouse at Bessie’s Place in Norfolk, VA were certainly hallowed. Like just about anyone from that area will tell you, The Boathouse was THE place to see shows. I’ve lamented more than once on the website about how much I loved that place and some of the great shows I saw there. The national/international 80s metal scene flourished there for us kids. Megadeth, Overkill, Yngwie, Lita, Testament, Anthrax, Obsession, Sanctuary, Warlock, Metal Church, At War, Dianno’s Battlezone, Winger, Black Sabbath, King Diamond, Don Dokken, etc. Even into the 90s and 2000s I saw some great shows there like Sepultura and Motorhead. Pretty much any band that wasn’t big enough at the time to play the Hampton Coliseum or Norfolk Scope ended up at the Boathouse.
The Boathouse was finally torn down this week. Hurricane Isabel ruined it in 2003 and it never reopened. It was pretty obvious when Harbor Park was built next to it, nothing would happen there again. Pity.
Back in 2005 (or maybe 2006…whenever Gigantour played Portsmouth), I got the chance to meet Dave Mustaine at a charity softball
game. I saw Megadeth there twice: Peace Sells and So Far, So Good. Great shows. We were standing on the ball field at Harbor Park and I asked Dave if he remembered playing the Boathouse in the 80s. “That fucking dump! I hated that place!” I told him to look over the left field wall and he’d see the roof. “Good riddance!” Funny.
And really one important thing about The Boathouse for me…I saw my very first metal show there in 1985. Stryper. I was 15, my first time there and it was great. Definitely my favorite place to see shows back in those days. I think the last show I saw there was Motorhead/Supersuckers/Nashville Pussy in 2000.
RIP…and thanks for the memories, all of them were awesome.
Sepultura was on the Chaos AD tour with Fear Factory, Clutch and Fudge Tunnel in 1993/94. I get a call on the day of the show from my friend Steve who owns Skinnies Records in Norfolk, VA and he says he’s guestlisted +1 and offers it to me. Hell yeah! I didn’t really care for the Chaos AD album that much but not having seen Sepultura before, I was definitely interested. The other bands on the bill were not even mildly interesting to me.
I pick Steve up and it’s a cold rainy night in early March 1994. We get to the Boathouse (I miss that place!) and go to the will-call window. The girl hands Steve and envelope and tells one of the employees to see us inside. I don’t recall getting a ticket for this one as it’s not in my ticket stub collection anywhere. Steve put the envelope in his jacket and we go in.
The 3 opening bands were pretty dull. I think Fear Factory was on right before Sepultura and Steve pulls the envelope out and opens it. Two Sepultura after show backstage passes! Score! We were both excited and I remember Steve saying, “Damn, glad I decided to look in the envelope!” Me too!
Sepultura comes on and they were great. They mostly played stuff from Chaos AD and Arise but threw in Mass Hypnosis, Policia, My Inner Self and Beneath The Remains. Score! They were tight and entertaining.
After the show, we just hang out as people were leaving. Several of our friends stopped to say hello and we both kept the passes under wraps until most everyone had left. We then went to the backstage door with our passes displayed and got ushered in. Saw some folks we knew back there and talked it up a bit.
My favorite memory was hearing someone in a thick yet higher-pitched Brazilian accent ask, “Does anybody want a beer?” I turn around and right behind me is Max Cavalera holding 3 or 4 bottles of Beck’s beer. I jokingly said, “Hey man, you sound like a girl!” He laughed, handed me a beer and said, “Drink up!”
We chatted with him and the rest of the guys for a few minutes and I got them to sign the envelope that the passes came in. They were very amiable and joked around with everyone a lot. Steve and I were pretty worn out and left.
I’ve been pretty lucky meeting bands over the years. And this was definitely another great experience. Sepultura was very gracious and seemed to love playing in the States.
So, thanks to Steve and Sepultura for a great night of metal comradeship!
According to published reports, Paul got his visa cleared to do a US tour. I guess I will try to go since he will be playng a few blocks from my apartment.
My history with seeing Paul live is pretty interesting, well to me it is.
The first time was Battlezone/Obsession in 1987 at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA. I loved the Battlezone records and got stoked on seeing 2 bands that I loved. The whole time Battlezone was on stage, we were hanging out with Obsession and I never really got to check them out. Pity.
The second time was in 1993. The bill was Paul Dianno’s Killers and Solitude Aeturnus at the original Peppermint Beach Club in Virginia Beach, VA. At this point, I was a HUGE Solitude fan and was more stoked on seeing them than seeing Paul. I thought his Killers stuff was terrible. I get to the venue early that afternoon as I was always prone to do to get some stuff signed and Solitude was inside hanging out. I had them sign both of my cassettes(!!!). Super cool guys. Shortly thereafter Paul and his band came in and I had him sign my Battlezone LPs, Iron Maiden’s Live +1 (Greek pressing) and a compilation called The Best of British Rock which featured Dianno’s first post-Maiden band “Dianno” doing Antigua which was a great song. That album also had Persian Risk on it which featured some of the guys that were in Battlezone/Killers. Paul called his bandmates over and they all signed it and we hung out for a while. Paul asked me if I played pool and drank beer. Yes! We shot pool together and drank a few pitchers of beer and just talked about stuff. I never talked about Maiden with him other than to say that I was a big fan. He was pretty cool. Now, if you’ve read his book “Beast”, you’d see the other side of Paul that it seems most people saw and I got to see later than evening.
After Solitude Aeturnus played to a crowd of a whopping 30 people or so, I helped them get their gear offstage and ended up hanging out backstage with them during Dianno’s set, missing him play one more time. About ¾ through the set we hear the music stop suddenly and one of the Solitude guys opens the backstage door. On stage you see Graham Bath holding his jaw and Dianno says, “We’ll start playing again as soon as my guitar player stops playing like a c*nt!” I remember looking at John Perez of Solitude and thinking WTF? John said it was a common occurrence. Paul talks about his habit of fighting people over stupid stuff quite a bit in his book. I feel lucky to have survived my few hours with him unscathed!
So…2 times I’ve gone to see Paul play and missed him both time. Hopefully in February I’ll actually get to see him play.