Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Riverside Fox relaunched with a squeeze concert after being dormant for 18 months

Riverside Fox, after 18 months dormant, is back. I can prove it, because I was there.

That day was Friday night. I was in the crowd when the English band Squeeze broke the silence.

Or rather the opening work of Schweiz, Lizzie and The Triggerman, a 40-style hot jazz group led by a torch singer who blended the original with the covers of Stroke, Fiona Apple and Irving Berlin, which was a lot of fun. Squeeze came after them.

This is Fox’s first show since comedian Ali Wang in March, 2020.

I didn’t necessarily want to help bring Fox back to life. That’s exactly how it works, through a show I felt like watching. To be late – more in a minute – I bought $ 35 tickets the day before.

Slightly irritating as a steep fee to raise ticket prices আমি I paid $ 48, an extra $ 13 even as a result of printing physical tickets is a no-concert-going ritual. So a few blocks away were hunted for free parking, he-heh, and then lined up for security checks. Formalities return to the good and the bad, after not seeing a concert for almost two years.

My virtual ticket was scanned. Inside the stylish lobby, people lined up for drinks or T-shirts at merchandise booths.

They were comfortable sights. So I saw all the fans happily gathering around, couples or small groups or alone like me (well, I brought a paperback), exploring the lobby or veranda level before 8pm.

Did you go to Fox? The 1929 theater was part of a chain that included Fox-branded film palaces in Redlands, San Bernardino and Pomona. Riverside hosted a test screening for 1939’s “Gone with the Wind”. (Pomona had one for “The Wizard of Oz”! How many years!)

In the multiplex era, Riverside Fox’s single screen, the 1,600-seat auditorium turned into a white elephant. City Hall bought it in 2007 and began a 322 million recovery, reopening the theater in 2010 with a Sheryl Crow concert.

I went there a few weeks later to see the Marcus Brothers “Duck Soup” and see Frank return live as Grocho. It was lightly present, probably 400 people, but fun.

Incidentally, I invited Jerry Tessier, whose family had recently renovated and re-launched Pomona Fox in 1931, to join me as a fellow Fox fancier. Eight years later he opened the very popular Riverside Food Lab Food Hall next to the theater. I didn’t get a finder’s fee.

I had a second squeeze at Fox. (I won’t wait 11 years before I come back.) And I was a little surprised that I was there. Squeezing passed me by in the early 1980s, only “tempted” and “black coffee in bed” hit my consciousness.

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Then, a year ago, A musician friend tweeted Squeez’s “pulling mussels (from the shell)”, a Kings-like song about a British beach holiday. And then I heard their awesome song “Up the Junction,” which is like a novel shrinking in three minutes.

With that foundation laid, I was receptive when a ticket-warning email arrived this summer that Squeeze would be playing at Riverside Fox. If the venue was in LA, I wouldn’t be bothered, but a night at Riverside would be beneficial for me. I bought Squeeze’s hit CD to get the bones up.

The audience was made up of a lot of people in their 50s and 60s, as expected, but also a group of young people.

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When Squeeze took the stage, co-founder Glenn Tillbrook said: “It’s great to see you,” sounds like someone who was grateful to see you.

The band has released four live songs without a break: “This Summer,” “Big Bang,” “Hourglass,” and – Hooray – “Pooling Muscles (from Shell).”

By then most of us were on our feet. “Thank you for coming.

My night could have been complete at that time. But the band played 20 songs, including Little Patter, before returning to the encore of three songs, ending with “Black Coffee in Bed”.

Squeeze is certainly invested in elements, even four-decade-old songs. Maybe the lockdown has revived them. (Can I say about their performance that they were “a tight squeeze”? Thanks.)

It took me a while to figure out which one was new to Tillbrook and which was co-founded by Chris Deford. But out of the 12 songs on my hit CD, they played 11, so I had a lot of touchstones.

Now, about the COVID protocol. Masks are required for Fox employees and “strongly recommended” for non-traditional ones. I would say the participants under half had masks.

Most evenings I wore one. Landmark events are relatively rare, but they do happen. And like an airplane, there are no remote seats. Proceed with your own caution.

Before the show I saw a table with two members of the Fox Riverside Theater Foundation and introduced myself. Is this the first show after the epidemic? “Yes, it is. We are moving forward slowly, ”Ruthan Smith told me. “Jeffrey Osborne tomorrow night, Monkeys next Friday.”

The schedule is being met with at least one event each week: tribute work, mariachi music, Broadway-style shows, and the names of musicians. I like the last event on the current schedule: Bose Scags, June 5, 2022.

Riverside Fox relaunched with a squeeze concert after being dormant for 18 months
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