Goodbye to The Boathouse – RIP
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.