Tonight’s the last night that the legendary club, Kenny’s Castaways on Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village is going to be open. The club has featured free live music nightly since 1967. Some of the bands that have graced Kenny’s stage in the back room include Blondie, The New York Dolls, Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, Doc Pomus, Johnny Winter and of course, Willie Nile.
I had been planning on stopping by and getting some pictures before it closed, but hadn’t gotten around to it. A couple weeks ago I was having some drinks with my friends Goggla and Ed and they told me that they had stopped in Kenny’s and asked the bartender when it was closing. He told them that Monday, October 1st would be the last night, but then he leaned in and told them that Tuesday, November 25th was a night that they should definitely try and attend.
When they told me this, one word popped in to my fermented brain: “BROOOOCE.” Kenny’s Castaways was the first venue that Bruce Springsteen played with The E Street Band. Goggla, Ed and I discussed how it must hold a ton of memories for The Boss and the next day I got an email from Goggla saying that she looked at his touring schedule and he wasn’t playing a show that night.
We were certain he’d be showing up at Kenny's and so we met there to witness this historic event. And you’re welcome to come along too! Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for Tuesday, September 25th!
Thank you Sherman and Mr. Peabody, here we are at Kenny's Castaways last Tuesday, September 25th.
Live music, seven nights a week, always hate to see a live music venue close. Oh well, let's go in and pay our last respects to the joint.
Here's the bar, with some regulars propped up at it.
A brightly lit chandelier illuminates the front room, hanging from the black tin ceiling overhead.
Here's the original sign for Kenny's that hangs in the middle of the bar.
Small wooden tables and wire chairs line the wall opposite the bar.
Obligatory Kenny's Castaways mirror shot! And if you look to the right of the photo you can see Goggla and Ed, who thought they were safe from the TWM camera. You can run, but you can never hide!
You gotta love that old cash register.
The specials for the night are posted on this chalkboard behind the bar.
And here's where the magic happens, the back room where the bands play. I couldn't wait to see who showed up on this night and courtesy of the magic of the internet, you don't have to wait long.
And it really was. Thankfully there was plenty of booze to be had while enduring this marathon jam session.
And now, the surprise guests have started filing in. First up, the legendary Shaggs! A rare treat as always!
Next on the bill was the giant floating head of Bill Cosby. This was a little frightening. Oh and those claims of Bill that he doesn't work blue...
Is total bullshit! Go choke on a pudding pop, Bill, you're creeping us out over here.
Wow, look, it's Richard Nixon! Living up to his nickname of "Tricky Dick" he sang and tap-danced the song, "Me So Horny." I loved this long time!
The word in the crowd was that Bruce was about to come out, but instead they teased us by bring out this chair from Flooring From Bruce. What a gyp!
And of course when you've got an empty chair on stage, this guy is going to follow. Please, someone put another Dirty Harry movie into production and give Clint something to do, it wasn't funny the first time and now it's beyond pathetic.
Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for, Sonny and Chair. (Rimshot.)
And finally it happened. Bruce Springsteen comes onstage and the crowd goes wild. He did a ten minute medley of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band songs and cited them as his greatest influence. A touching moment and I was happy to have witnessed this historic moment in time at Kenny's Castaways.
I read once that in the early days of Saturday Night Live, if they couldn't think of an ending from a sketch, they would drop down an inflatable elephant to end the skit. I don't know if that's really true, but look, it still works! Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.
P.S. Thanks to all of you for the nice wishes and words about my move back to Peoria, Illinois. It looks like I’ll be taking off on Thursday, October 18th. Look for two more Monday posts and then on the 18th I’m going to live blog my move back and that will be the final blog for TWM, so mark it on your calendars, if you so desire!