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32 Years Ago Today: The Police at PB's Roxy Theater

5-16-79: The Police played the long-gone Roxy Theater, at 4642 Cass Street in Pacific Beach. Broadcast live on KGB-FM, the performance was widely bootlegged, the most common version being San Diego d'Amour.

Several websites offer the entire bootleg, including http://www.dimeadozen.org , http://www.jimihendrixforever.blogspot.com , and http://www.rapidshare.com.

One site, fisica.unlp.edu, claims to have the first-generation radio station reels. “This is from station tapes, logo on them and all, given to me by a station employee in 1998 [and] taken directly from their reel to reel.”

The site claims its recording is “a slight upgrade to the well-circulated [bootleg]…The key differences: The speed of the recording in the present transfer is a little slower, and in my opinion closer to pitch correct than San Diego d'Amour. There is greater dynamic range…the present transfer has a tape flip during the jam in 'Roxanne.' I have taken the liberty of patching this up using the missing bars from San Diego d'Amour.

Listening to the download, two songs into a thirteen-song set, just before “So Lonely,” Sting tells the crowd “Nice to be in San Diego. I thought it would be warm. It's too cold for us.” Near the end of the night, during “Roxanne,” he announces “You know we are live on the radio on KGB-FM 101.5, which makes it even more important that you sing and show all the folks out there what they miss.”

The ensuing cheers peg the volume meters into distortion. After the approximately one-hour set, Roxy operators were reportedly dismayed to find graffiti on the theater’s wall murals featuring movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and W.C. Fields.

A brief article in the San Diego Union didn’t specify the nature of the messages, other than to say they were “amorous.” A theater worker was quoted saying “We cleaned a lot of lipstick off Marilyn.”

The Police actually made their very first San Diego appearance at the 629-seat Roxy, back in in August 1978. Between '78 and 1980, the Roxy also hosted Dire Straits, the Boomtown Rats, Iggy Pop, and Peter Tosh, among many others, as well as local acts like Gary Wilson and the Penetrators.

The Police returned to San Diego 18 months after their 5-16-79 Roxy appearance, this time at downtown's Civic Theater: Opening act XTC was riding on the popularity of their Black Sea album. Two years later, they'd play only one date of an American tour, in San Diego, before canceling the rest of the tour due to Andy Partridge's stage fright, essentially retiring from concert appearances forever.

The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta (and its first single "Don't Stand So Close to Me") was in the U.S. top ten. The concert was sold out, with ticket sales reported at 14,585. I had a second-row seat, and the statute of limitations now allows me to admit that I broke that seat while dancing on it to "Walking on the Moon." The Police were reportedly so exhausted by this show that they canceled their next gig in Las Vegas to recuperate.

Most of the Roxy Theater's concert era was overseen by Marc Berman, who for years was the city's MVP concert promoter. He battled both the City and the Sports Arena to bring rock shows to Jack Murphy Stadium, as well as overseeing the concert incarnation of the Roxy.

Owner Scott Shore had bought the Roxy in 1977, planning to operate it as a movie theater until distributors refused or were unable to provide first-run films. The venue was converted for concerts, booked by Berman from spring/summer 1978 through August 1979. Berman brought in Lou Reed, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Dire Straits, and the 5/16/79 Police concert broadcast on KGB.

After Berman departed for bigger ventures, the Roxy was leased to Concert Nite Productions through early 1980, whereupon owner Shore terminated the lease amidst allegations of unpaid rent and incomplete building improvements.

Local concert promoters Fahn and Silva Presents booked the Roxy occasionally from March through August 1980, and then the theater spent months screening the adults-only film Caligula, charging $6 per ticket and frequently filling the house. By most accounts, adult fare like Caligula and Fritz the Cat was the sole reason the Theater survived through that period.

In a post at http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7169/, Brooklyn Jim recalls the Roxy: "My wife and I attended Caligula, a true mish-mash of hype, history and porn. As a couple, it cost us $12 bucks for the privilege! There were lines around the block awaiting the next showing, so I put together a mock cloak, resurrected some of my previously-learned Latin (Quotidianum da nobis hodie! and Mater Caesaris erat meratrix!), and walked among the eager throng while intoning pompously, 'Caesar himself says to save six duckets (or denarii) and go get a pizza instead!' A few listened and actually dropped out of line. Ha!"

In mid-November 1980, Shore reportedly sold the Roxy site for around one million dollars. The building was demolished to make way for a new post office, which opened in 1984.

(courtesy http://cheunderground.com/blog/?tag=the-roxy)

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5-16-79: The Police played the long-gone Roxy Theater, at 4642 Cass Street in Pacific Beach. Broadcast live on KGB-FM, the performance was widely bootlegged, the most common version being San Diego d'Amour.

Several websites offer the entire bootleg, including http://www.dimeadozen.org , http://www.jimihendrixforever.blogspot.com , and http://www.rapidshare.com.

One site, fisica.unlp.edu, claims to have the first-generation radio station reels. “This is from station tapes, logo on them and all, given to me by a station employee in 1998 [and] taken directly from their reel to reel.”

The site claims its recording is “a slight upgrade to the well-circulated [bootleg]…The key differences: The speed of the recording in the present transfer is a little slower, and in my opinion closer to pitch correct than San Diego d'Amour. There is greater dynamic range…the present transfer has a tape flip during the jam in 'Roxanne.' I have taken the liberty of patching this up using the missing bars from San Diego d'Amour.

Listening to the download, two songs into a thirteen-song set, just before “So Lonely,” Sting tells the crowd “Nice to be in San Diego. I thought it would be warm. It's too cold for us.” Near the end of the night, during “Roxanne,” he announces “You know we are live on the radio on KGB-FM 101.5, which makes it even more important that you sing and show all the folks out there what they miss.”

The ensuing cheers peg the volume meters into distortion. After the approximately one-hour set, Roxy operators were reportedly dismayed to find graffiti on the theater’s wall murals featuring movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and W.C. Fields.

A brief article in the San Diego Union didn’t specify the nature of the messages, other than to say they were “amorous.” A theater worker was quoted saying “We cleaned a lot of lipstick off Marilyn.”

The Police actually made their very first San Diego appearance at the 629-seat Roxy, back in in August 1978. Between '78 and 1980, the Roxy also hosted Dire Straits, the Boomtown Rats, Iggy Pop, and Peter Tosh, among many others, as well as local acts like Gary Wilson and the Penetrators.

The Police returned to San Diego 18 months after their 5-16-79 Roxy appearance, this time at downtown's Civic Theater: Opening act XTC was riding on the popularity of their Black Sea album. Two years later, they'd play only one date of an American tour, in San Diego, before canceling the rest of the tour due to Andy Partridge's stage fright, essentially retiring from concert appearances forever.

The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta (and its first single "Don't Stand So Close to Me") was in the U.S. top ten. The concert was sold out, with ticket sales reported at 14,585. I had a second-row seat, and the statute of limitations now allows me to admit that I broke that seat while dancing on it to "Walking on the Moon." The Police were reportedly so exhausted by this show that they canceled their next gig in Las Vegas to recuperate.

Most of the Roxy Theater's concert era was overseen by Marc Berman, who for years was the city's MVP concert promoter. He battled both the City and the Sports Arena to bring rock shows to Jack Murphy Stadium, as well as overseeing the concert incarnation of the Roxy.

Owner Scott Shore had bought the Roxy in 1977, planning to operate it as a movie theater until distributors refused or were unable to provide first-run films. The venue was converted for concerts, booked by Berman from spring/summer 1978 through August 1979. Berman brought in Lou Reed, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Dire Straits, and the 5/16/79 Police concert broadcast on KGB.

After Berman departed for bigger ventures, the Roxy was leased to Concert Nite Productions through early 1980, whereupon owner Shore terminated the lease amidst allegations of unpaid rent and incomplete building improvements.

Local concert promoters Fahn and Silva Presents booked the Roxy occasionally from March through August 1980, and then the theater spent months screening the adults-only film Caligula, charging $6 per ticket and frequently filling the house. By most accounts, adult fare like Caligula and Fritz the Cat was the sole reason the Theater survived through that period.

In a post at http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7169/, Brooklyn Jim recalls the Roxy: "My wife and I attended Caligula, a true mish-mash of hype, history and porn. As a couple, it cost us $12 bucks for the privilege! There were lines around the block awaiting the next showing, so I put together a mock cloak, resurrected some of my previously-learned Latin (Quotidianum da nobis hodie! and Mater Caesaris erat meratrix!), and walked among the eager throng while intoning pompously, 'Caesar himself says to save six duckets (or denarii) and go get a pizza instead!' A few listened and actually dropped out of line. Ha!"

In mid-November 1980, Shore reportedly sold the Roxy site for around one million dollars. The building was demolished to make way for a new post office, which opened in 1984.

(courtesy http://cheunderground.com/blog/?tag=the-roxy)

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