Halloween at First Avenue is legendary. The costumes, the creepy music, the drinks and the crowds. To be fair, I’ve never gone. I haven’t gone to a Danceteria night (no live bands) since I was 25 years old but I couldn’t resist the temptation to go to Halloween at First Avenue when it was offered.
First Ave hasn’t been open since mid-March due to COVID. I suspect Halloween night was a test run and a gift to those of us with a fancy membership. I was able to get free tickets because of my membership. It was a timed and seated event. Originally I signed up for a 3:30-5:30 slot but that got bumped to 8:30. So that was nice. Heather and I both went – sort of an unofficial Mostly Minnesota Music outing. We even wore costumes. (Heather a super cute Amy Winehouse and I had a “blue moon” art project that would do any sixth grader proud.)
I won’t lie, it was great to be inside the club again but it was weird. Everyone wears a mask. They are serious about distancing. You can walk up to go to the bathroom and that’s it. And only one person in the bathroom at a time. That alone is a little strange. I started going to First Ave around age 15. One thing that always brings me back to those early days, it walking up or down the main staircase. It doesn’t feel the same when there’s no one standing around there.
It felt like we were too early to the party. Maybe if this were a part of a night, or a date, or a small group night or we walked in after a few beers that might feel different. I had an awesome time chatting to Heather – we spend so much time interviewing other people, we never get to talk to each other. But catching up with a friend has never been main goal of First Ave.
The music and videos were from the 1980s and shared a spooky or Halloween theme. My wheelhouse. It was well curated. We stayed for about 90 minutes. The staff could not have been nicer. Lots of cleaning and eager to help. Keeping people in their seats, a job that I bet got tougher as people showed up later probably with a little pre-game buzz.
Heather had some good ideas for the club – like a live-stream karaoke or songwriter night with prizes, or club rental. I think we all want to do what we can to help First Ave through this tough time. Again, it was fun to be back but it seems like a tough approach to scale. It’s hard to balance guest safety with guest fun.