Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Old Waldorf, San Francisco

The Old Waldorf was a nightclub in San Francisco which opened in 1976 and closed in 1983 when Bill Graham bought it, changed the name to Wolfgang's, and moved it to Columbus Avenue. Located on Battery Street at the Embarcadero Center a block from the Embarcadero Freeway, parking and freeway access were very convenient. This is important in San Francisco. The 600 seat venue had an extremely low ceiling and it could get very smoky. The acoustics left quite a bit to be desired as the room was wider than it was long, but owner Jeffery Pollack got an incredible array of artists to play at his club. Radio people, industry insiders, movers and shakers, and scenesters were always there in abundance as Pollack comped anyone with clout. I always went with my San Jose radio buddy and college friend, Dana Jang. I occasionally did some photography work for the station where he was music director, KOME. Memorable concerts included the first American appearance of Elvis Costello, top, on 11/15/77, Graham Parker and the Rumour on 4/9/79, Dire Straits on Mark Knopfler's 30th birthday, 3/31/79 (birthday party backstage after the show), and Ian Dury, at bottom, 3/22/78, an actor, raconteur, and all-around gentleman. I basically spent the day with him and his people doing promo photography for the radio station. Great guy! Sadly passed away a number of years ago. The rest are still working and viable artists.

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