A birthday cake at the front entrance and new T-shirts at the merch booth greeted concertgoers on the way in. At the end of the night, Mayor R.T. Rybak climbed on stage and members of the Hold Steady, Atmosphere and Solid Gold appeared on screen to send their birthday wishes.
First Avenue marked its fourth decade in business Saturday night with the second of two sold-out shows by Texas band Spoon, but a team of local big-wigs came in at the end to pay their respect.
The mayor held up a proclamation that declared Saturday "First Avenue Day" in Minneapolis, and he recounted many of the acts that have performed at the downtown landmark, from Tina Turner and Joe Cocker (the latter opened the joint on April 3, 1970) to Prince, the Replacements and the Rhymesayers crew. Despite being egged on by the crowd and stage manager Conrad Sverkerson, Rybak could not be convinced to do another stage dive into the crowd like the one he did at a 2002 Suburbs concert. Nor could he properly pronounce Hüsker Dü.
Many of the acts who have made their mark at the club in recent years then appeared in video segments filmed specially for the occasion, also including Brother Ali, Mason Jennings, Sean Tillman (Har Mar Superstar) and a singer that shares a birthday with the club, Dave Simonett (Trampled by Turtles). Tapes 'N Tapes sang "Happy Birthday" in a clip from 7th Street Entry. The so-called Mexican Elvis, El Vez, jumped out of a birthday cake in another segment and said, "Some of my proudest moments have been at the First Avenue."
Young rapper P.O.S. summed up the video sentiments when he said to the club, "You're still cool at 40."
Read a review of Spoon's concert in Monday's Variety section.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658
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