Bert Sommer ~ Live in Concert
Port Chester, New York
January 23, 1971
The Capitol Theatre was probably the finest movie-vaudeville showcase ever built within Westchester County, NY. The auditorium, with its perfect sound, domed ceiling, sidewall boxes and draped archways, was designed by famed architect Thomas W. Lamb. The Capitol was initially opened in August 1926. When the Skouras chain closed the Capitol after 40 years service in 1966, music promoter Howard Stein took over and converted it into the most beautiful live rock palace on the east coast.
Crowds came from three states to attend the star-studded concerts, causing such havoc in Port Chester that the city government finally stopped them in 1971 by adopting a 1:00 AM curfew on live entertainment.
Howard Stein, the show promoter, always had great food spreads backstage for the bands so there was a major 'hanging out' factor going on here for all the groups. ~ "Eating fried chicken and drinking beer. ~ You didn't see much of that around at other rock shows. We all loved working for Howard Stein!" remembers Ira Stone.
'Rare' is the word when you find a cleanly recorded old concert that highlights a young artist opening for established stars and performing his songs live at a small rock venue. Case in point here is this 'gem' recorded by Capitol employee Ken Lee and passed along to Bert's fans by collector Barry Smith. Hopefully you are here on a fast computer with a cable modem since the show is just about to begin! (the 5 song / 17 minute / 25MB file is downloading in the background and will play for you automatically when fully loaded)
This live set includes: Stick Together, We're All Playin' In The Same Band, A Note That Read, People Got To Be Free, and The Battle Of New Orleans.
photo by Victor Kahn
Something about the way artists tend to perform best in their personal comfort zone; Bert's was sitting on the stage, barefoot with his legs crossed and eyes closed. Next to him was his lead guitar player Ira Stone who had accompanied him at the Woodstock Festival. Bert was now here as a 22 year old living somewhat of a 'childhood dream', since he also grew up partially in Westchester County in his father's house who was living in Hartsdale, NY.
If you've reached this paragraph and the live concert still hasn't started playing yet you might want to move around to the other pages in the website or take a visit Ira Stone's website at www.thestoneband.com and return here later after you have seen all of Bert's journey through the music business.
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