I did a post in July on 20 great old black-and-white clips from the Capitol Theatre in Passaic — featuring artists like Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, The Clash and Elvis Costello — that I found in YouTube. The clips were never intended to be released in any form; they were made to be shown on the theater’s screens while the bands played, so that everyone could see what was going on, close up. But they survived, and have made their way onto YouTube. I’ve asked Capitol Theatre owner John Scher how they got there, and even he’s not sure.
Since people seemed to enjoy that post, I’ve put together another one, featuring 20 different artists, including The Police, The Pretenders, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick and Frank Zappa. (While a Grateful Dead clip was included in the first batch, here, I’ve included The Dead’s Jerry Garcia with his own Jerry Garcia Band.)
Built in the 1920, the Capitol was most active as a rock concert venue from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. It closed in 1989 and was demolished in 1991.
There are many more gems on YouTube, including complete concerts for some of the shows these clips came from. While I’ve limited myself to the low-budget black-and-white clips in the first two posts in this series, in the third, I will focus on more professionally shot color clips from later in the venue’s history. (Aug. 20 Update: Part 3 is now available as well, here.).
Here are the clips, in chronological order:
“Show Me the Way,” Peter Frampton, Feb. 14, 1976
“Watercolors,” Janis Ian, April 18, 1976
“These Days,” Jackson Browne, Oct. 15, 1976
“She’s Gone,” Hall & Oates, Dec. 11, 1976
“I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning,” David Bromberg, April 15, 1977
“Judy Is a Punk,” The Ramones, Nov. 19, 1977
“It’s Lonely at the Top,” Randy Newman, Feb. 11, 1978
“That’ll Never Happen No More,” Jorma Kaukonen, May 20, 1978
“Dancin’ Fool,” Frank Zappa, Oct. 13, 1978
“Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)”/”Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples,” Parliament-Funkadelic, Nov. 6, 1978
“Cherokee,” Stephen Stills, March 23, 1979
“Dream Police,” Cheap Trick, March 29, 1979
“Tangled Up in Blue,” Jerry Garcia Band, July 26, 1980
“Tears of a Clown,” The English Beat, Sept. 26, 1980
“Tattooed Love Boys,” The Pretenders, Sept. 27, 1980
“When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around,” The Police, Nov. 29, 1980
“Politician,” Jack Bruce & Friends (David Sancious, Billy Cobham, Clem Clemson), Dec. 26, 1980
“Guilty,” Alice Cooper, Oct. 10, 1981
“What’s Going On,” Glenn Frey, Jan. 1, 1982
“Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol, Feb. 4, 1984
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.