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The Bijou and The Showboat - Legendary Night Clubs in Philly

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The Bijou and The Showboat - Legendary Night Clubs in Philly

There is a plaque in front of this building that now houses a social services agency memorializing that Billie Holiday had lived there when it was the Douglas Hotel. That is something in itself. But so much more could be included. The Douglas Hotel later contained the Showboat Jazz Theater, where many legendary performers played, including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Thelonius Monk, Dinah Washington and Ramsey Lewis. Still later, as the Bijou Cafe, it hosted Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Steely Dan, Prince, Jonathan Richman, Tom Waits, Jerry Seinfeld, and U2, to name a few.

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Location: Bijou Cafe, Showboat , 1409 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19146, United States
Listing Category: Concerts, Music Festivals, Entertainment, Jazz, Plaques, Markers (real ones), Rock and Roll, Rock Stars, Seinfeld, Theaters
Virtual / Real: Virtual

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Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : Johnnys Dance Band, Jesse Winchester, Grover Washington Jr. (who cut a live album there), Return to Forever, Robert Fripp and the League of Gentlemen, Patti Smith and Dr. John.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : There is a recording available on the Web of John Coltrane live at the Showboat on June 17, 1963. It seems that it might be a bootleg, so do your homework if you are interested in it.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band played here on Nov. 20-21, 1978. (I was not there, but on 11/20/78 I was around the corner a bit at the Academy of Music for the Tom Waits and Leon Redbone show.)
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : This is something I read recently but dont remember where. Now I just saw it on a wonderful Website, www.retrophilly.com (Philly t-shirts, etc.). Circa 1971, the premises housed Phillys first singles bar, Chances Are.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //biffco.com/phila-sites/.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : U2 played here 12/15/80 and 3/4/81. There is some indication on the Web that they also appeared, opening for the band Fandango, on 10/10/79, the day of an early snowstorm, in front of a dozen people. I went the snowstorm night, and I thought it was the March 4, 1981, show. Web records show snow on 10/10/79 and 12/15/80. Ill have to dig through some archives to refresh my memory. One of the nights I was there I photographed U2 backstage afterward for Terminal! Magazine. My friend, Mr. Blint the graffiti artist, was with me and started to hit up the place, and Bono engaged him in an extended conversation about graffiti in American cities.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : Bob Marley and the Wailers appeared here on 10/16/73.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //citypaper.net/articles/2002-10-17/cover3.shtml.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //www.retrophilly.com/Cool-Philadelphia-Times-s/47.htm?searching=Y&sort=3&cat=47&show=120&page=1.
Name : TequilaStan
Email : smisajet@gmail.com
Comment : My friends & I attended one of these shows (dont recall which night). We were seated in the gallery a floor above the stage, excellent sight line. What a truly magnificent and historic venue to participate in a show; I say participate because the Bijou was so small, so intimate, that the distinction between performance and audience did not exist. Thank you so much so this website; took a bit of sleuthing to find, but wow, really refreshed my memory.
Name : TequilaStan
Email : smisajet@gmail.com
Comment : That would be the Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, November 20/21 1978 (assumed my original comment would;ve filed in that folder)
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : In a review of a Joan Armatrading concert by A.D. Amorosi in todays Philadelphia Inquirer, at p. C4, it says, Search and youll find the [Joan Armatrading] radio promotional album Live at the Bijou Cafe, Philadelphia, February 18, 1977 that glowingly portrays that particular moment in time.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : In an article in which she discusses her upcoming performance for the Pope in Philadelphia, Aretha Franklin mentions playing the Showboat in 1962. See todays Philadelphia Inquirer, at pp. C1, 3.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //www.cyberplaque.com/celebrity-concerts-music-festivals-rock-and-roll-rock-stars-television/bono-u2-had-his-first-america.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : The obituary of jazz pianist Samuel Sam Dockery, 86, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/28/15 at p. B7. He had many accomplishments, playing in notable ensembles, and the obituary said that he free-lanced with visiting musicians who played the Showboat jazz club in Philadelphia.
Name : yophilly
Email : ericgrabo@comcast.net
Comment : I remember seeing Toots & the Maytalls, & Robert Palmer there - it was a great little venue.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //www.musicinthevines.com/.
Name : catfer87comcastnet
Email : catfer87@comcast.net
Comment : I saw Charles Mingus and a decommercialized version of the Ramsey Lewis Trio there in the late 60s in the most comfortable mixed racial crowd I;d ever experienced to that point in my life. It was fantastic !!!!!!!
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Philadelphia-Musical-Icons-425302764.html.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : A.D. Amorosi interviewed Barry Manilow in todays Philadelphia Inquirer, pp. C1, C8. He was asked when did he realize he could be a front man. He replied that it was at the old Bijou Cafe in Philly, playing for Bette Midler, when he started to do openers for her. He did Could It Be Magic and a commercials medley, and the audience liked it.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //www.newspapers.com/image/186005016/?terms=philadelphia+weather++%22%22.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //services.library.drexel.edu/static_files/triangle/Drexel-Triangle_1981-03-13.pdf. After the show, we went backstage and I photographed the band for an interview by Steve Fritz of Terminal! magazine. I think I was also at the 12/15/80 show, because I remember an empty hall and the snow storm.
Name : plaquemaster
Email : sjkc0072@aol.com
Comment : //xpn.org/xpn-programs/middays.