It’s no secret that Lou Reed was one of rock and roll’s great curmudgeons. But one thing he loved was playing rock club the Boston Tea Party. “This is our favorite place to play in the whole country,” he famously quipped on December 12, 1968, while on stage with The Velvet Underground.
If Reed were alive today, perhaps he would make the trek to Boston this Friday (January 20), when those who were there and those who wish they were celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary with a party at the Verb Hotel and Hojoko in the Fenway.
The Verb already features some old posters and archives from the Tea Party’s insane 1967 to 1971 run of inspired booking, thanks to the David Bieber Archives, and former manager and event organizer Steve Nelson tells us additional memorabilia and ephemera will be on display for equal bouts of discussion and admiration.
“Well, the 50th only comes around once,” Nelson tells Vanyaland. “The Music Museum Of New England did a 40th ‘reunion’ and people seemed to enjoy getting together and remembering good music and good times. And judging from our Facebook likes, I think there’s a lot of people out there interested in the music of that era but who were too young (or unborn) to have gone to the Tea Party.”
Nelson is acutely aware of what day, exactly, this celebration lands.
“The 20th is also Trump’s inaugural,” he admits, “so we figured there’s a lot of people who’d rather spend the evening with a simpatico crowd than sit around thinking about the day’s events. Basically, our event will be a mix-and-mingle, but there will be an opportunity for people to share their memories with the group, their favorite ‘night at the Tea Party.'”
And the memories are plentiful. In a few short years at 53 Berkeley St. in the South End, the Boston Tea Party welcomed Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, The Yardbirds, pre-J. Geils Band group The Hallucinations, Jethro Tull, MC5, Steve Miller, Blue Cheer, Buddy Guy, Elton John, and dozens of others who we’re leaving off in regards to space but who would normally lead off any other article about a rock club of yesterday.
Check out a few gig posters and show notices below, via the Who Remembers The Boston Tea Party, 1967-1970? Facebook group, and get more information, memories, and other truthful lies about the venue here. Led Zeppelin photo up top courtesy of the Music Museum of New England.