An article about the upcoming re-opening of The Warfield, a San Francisco musical landmark, by Jim Harrington in the Contra Costa Times:
Five days before the re-opening of the Warfield, house manager Rick Bates looked around at all the construction and refurbishing going on inside the building. The sounds of driving nails and whirling drills brought a big smile to his face.
“It’s nice to see somebody put some money into her _ spruce up the old girl,” said Bates, who first captained the good ship Warfield back in the mid-‘90s. “Because she’s a great old gal.”
Well, now, that old gal is back. And most expect her to look _ and sound _ better than ever.
The legendary San Francisco venue, which opened on Market Street in 1922, will make its re-entry to the Bay Area live entertainment scene this weekend, as it hosts comedian George Lopez Saturday through Monday.
The theater has been closed since mid-May, following a five-night stand by Phil Lesh and Friends. Those Lesh gigs served as the last hurrah at the building for longtime operators, Live Nation/Bill Graham Presents.
Since May, the Warfield’s new management team _ Golden Voice/AEG Live _ has put in much effort and money to upgrade the facilities at the venue. Golden Voice is remaining silent as to how much cash is being poured into the building, but it’s clearly enough to make a noticeable difference at a venue that many believed needed some major attention.
The most noticeable change is that the soundboard has been moved downstairs, which opens up 30 prime new seats front and center in the balcony. Also of significance, the tenants have put in a new sound system and added permanent stage lighting. They’ve also improved the look, with new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint. Framed photographs of acts like Phish, Bjork and Jerry Garcia decorate the lobby and serve to underscore the venue’s distinguished history.
The new Warfield will be a key component in Golden Voice’s attempt to make a go of it in the Bay Area. The promoter, already a major force in Southern California, will bring such acts as the Dandy Warhols, Patti Smith and Nick Cave to the 2,250-capacity venue in the weeks ahead. Golden Voice also regularly hosts concerts at the 1,400-capacity Grand Ballroom at San Francisco’s Regency Center.
by Greg Lake