Word came yesterday that as of June 23rd the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza will once again officially be known simply as Irving Plaza. The venue’s name was changed in April 2007 when its owner, Live Nation, set out on a mission to create a chain of venues across the country that were associated with the Fillmore brand—a reference to the original Fillmore in San Francisco and the New York outpost, which was open form 1968 to 1971.
The new name never quite took hold—at least not for anyone who lived here before April of 2007—and it felt terrible that one of our most prized venues had become just another piece of hippie nostalgia, no better than the Hard Rock Cafe. Surprisingly, Live Nation seems to understand this:
“It’s always going to be Irving Plaza in New Yorkers’ minds,” said Kevin Morrow, president of Live Nation’s New York division. “That’s where the mistake was made: taking a name and putting it on a building that already had a history and emotional ties with the local music scene.”
“Since I’ve been here I haven’t had anyone say to me, ‘What a great idea that was,’ ” he said, referring to the Fillmore name. “Almost everybody I talk to in the New York music scene, one of their first experiences was at Irving Plaza. And I’m really excited to be able to bring back to the New York music scene what people have overwhelmingly desired.”
The tone of that last sentence is the most frustrating part of the whole story—it’s as if we’re supposed to say, “Wow, thanks, Live Nation! And we’re so glad it brings you such satisfaction to be able to give back something you never should have stolen from us in the first place!” Morrow gets a pass, of course, because he didn’t take over the company’s New York operations until after the original name-change went into effect, but still. One wishes he’d have chosen his words a bit more carefully. (Apologies, of course, if we eventually find out that those words were actually spoken by Times writer Ben Sisario as he ordered Truffle Fries or something.)
(Image: Brooklyn Vegan)