The Paradise Rock Club has been one of the most successful and influential live music venues in the Boston area for the better part of 45 years.
When speaking of business properties, the old adage “location, location, location” is usually a key phrase. In regards to The Paradise’s 967 Commonwealth Avenue address, that however is not the case.
Prior to becoming the successful live music venue that it is today, 967 Commonwealth Ave. was the home to more than a few failed attempts at greatness.
Steve Berkowitz, artist manager and tour manager for The Cars, recalls that “it was first called The Together Garage or simply The Garage. Then it was The Boston Club. Just prior to becoming The Paradise Theater, it was Dummy’s.”
Citizens Bank, a current partner in The Paradise Rock Club noted on their website, that in its earliest existence it was home to an automotive dealership, back when that particular area of Boston was known as “The Auto Mile.”
This little trip down memory lane serves as more than just a historical recount of the many incarnations of 967 Commonwealth Avenue. It serves as a lesson and proof that there is more involved in the success of a rock and roll club than just a great location.
“The Dice” as it is sometimes called, became what it is today under the artful management and constant manicuring of its current owner, rock music promoter and artist developer Don Law. When discussing New England’s Rock and Roll music history, one would be hard pressed to do so without mentioning Don Law and the pinnacle of success he has attained in the music industry, in the New England area and beyond.
The Paradise Rock Club, on the brink of the BU campus, began its legendary rise to greatness, in September of 1977, when Livingston Taylor headlined the club’s opening night. When Don Law took the helm, his goal was to bring the brightest rising stars to an eager Boston audience. To this day, the parade of superstars to grace the stage at The Paradise Rock Club continues and includes the likes of U2, AC/DC, The Cars, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, J Geils Band, Blondie, The Pixies, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, Rage Against The Machine, Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Phish, Bruno Mars and so many more.
In 1998 The Don Law Company dba Blackstone Entertainment was sold to SFX Entertainment for a whopping $92 million dollars. SFX Entertainment, by the way, is now known as Live Nation. With that sale, control of The Paradise was also transferred to Live Nation.
As mentioned earlier, it takes more than just a great location and an incredible track record to run a successful live music venue. It takes talent, know how and an honest to God knack for the business.
And so, in 2009 Live Nation made the wise decision to partner with The Don Law Company dba Crossroads Presents, once again placing The Paradise under the capable control of Don Law. It was then renamed The Paradise Rock Club.
Along with the new name, The Paradise Rock Club underwent a complete renovation, paying close attention to the stage’s location, making it more visible from all areas of the club and the ultimate night spot for those who prefer to be in the front row. The balcony offers the perfect combination of VIP feel and a luxurious view, giving the sensation that you are sitting on top of the stage because that is almost literally where it sits.
At this point, we should back track for a moment and discuss the word “paradise”. Paradise to whom, you might ask. The answer to that would certainly be audiophiles everywhere and those who have an appreciation for crystal clear harmonics and tonal ambiance. The new renovation included a sound system capable of delivering acoustic warmth and depth while harnessing enough power to melt your face like an Indiana Jones movie.
So what’s in a name? The stage at The Paradise Rock Club is armed with JBL’s finest line of array speakers. There’s five at stage right and six at stage left. The VRX932LA-1’s have a top rating of 3,200 watts each. Billy “Bud” McCarthy, the manager at Paradise chose four Crown amplifiers to power those bad boys up. Maximum output? 4,200 watts each.
Now, for brave and talented few ladies and gentlemen who would grace the stage let’s talk performance gear; there are 7 stage monitors, also JBL’s also boasting a maximum output of 3200 watts each. Let’s sing along shall we? They are also powered by two Crown XTi6000’s maxing out at 4,200 watts each all processed through the BSS Blu-100 12×8 signal processor by way of the award winning Midas Pro 2 sound board.
At the front of the house, 2 more 3,200 watt speakers, also part of the JBL array. And we haven’t even talked sub-woofers yet. Are you getting the picture?
Paradise? Yes, absolute sonic Paradise. No expense spared.
Now partnered with Live Nation and Citizens Bank, Don Law’s Paradise Rock Club offers something to performers at every level of success, from both the US and Europe. For the new artist, it serves as a proving ground and a stepping stone to much larger gigs as The Orpheum Theater, House of Blues Boston, and Brighton Music Hall that are also part of Don Law’s empire and under his control.
To the seasoned performer, the Paradise Rock Club offers home town charm and the opportunity to reconnect with fans on a very personal level.
Along with legendary rockers and up and coming alternative artists, The Paradise Rock Club also features, music festivals, hip-hop, electronica and stand up comedy. It now has a capacity of 953, making it one of the most intimate performance spaces in the area and an absolute must for both performers and fans alike.
(by John Cappello)