Monday, November 26, 2012

Meet Me at the Greek

Meet Me at the Greek

I recently had an opportunity to take in a performance by one of the truly great bay area bands at the Berkeley Greek Theatre. The Grammy® award winning band Train played to a sold out crowd on a beautiful fall night. Andy Grammer opened the show, followed by Matt Kearney. Grammer and Kearney are both accomplished musicians and both were amazing. I am looking forward to hearing more great music from these two artists in coming years as they embark on their respective careers. You can read more about those artists and about the band Train soon on our music blog that will be launched in the very near future.

For the sake of space, I will sum up Train’s performance by saying this… “Wow.”

And now, about the Greek: in my humble opinion.

Imagine you’re in an open amphitheater with 8500 of your closest friends. You just don’t realize anyone else is there except for the people right around you. That’s because all the lights in the venue have been drawn down just before the main act.

The venue is completely dark. You look up into the clear night sky above and there are stars; thousands of stars. Look just beyond the confines of the amphitheater to the west and you’re greeted by the lights of San Francisco, our city by the bay. She presents her soft amber glow as a gift to you for your presence here tonight. Her lights gently, perfectly rise up and blend like watercolors into the purple and cobalt hues of the night sky. Right before your eyes a masterpiece of color, texture, abstraction and symmetry develops and you’re overcome with a feeling that promises to take your breath away.

Now it’s time for a reality check. It’s Friday night. You’ve worked all day. You fought through traffic and somehow made your way here. You think to yourself; I can’t believe that just a couple hours ago I was on the phone, doing the grind, working for a living…. fill in the blanks. You’re still looking west and suddenly, gently, the Golden Gate Bridge rises in the distance across the bay, and whispers ‘Hello’

Reality check over. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Then, Sather Tower closes the deal. The Berkley campus landmark, also known as the Campanile, sits in the foreground. The tower; designed by John Galen Howard and completed in 1914 as a centerpiece for the UC Berkeley campus, glows like a beacon in the night. You can’t help but to smile. Ahh.

Now, you’re a rational, logical, hard working sort of person. You’re not prone to fall for the “warm and fuzzy” This night is different. It is beyond special. It is magical. Have I mentioned the main act has yet to hit the stage?
The Greek Theatre

Welcome the Greek Theatre. Located in the foothills on the UC Berkley campus, the theatre was built in 1903 on the site of what was already an outdoor bowl theater in use since the late 1800’s and known as “Ben Weeds Amphitheater”. Financed by the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the Greek also bears his name. In its 100-plus year history, the Greek has seen performances from hundreds of musical and theatrical performances.

The Greek is also host to graduation ceremonies, the annual bonfire rally the night before the “Big Game” between Berkley and Stanford, among other events. President Theodore Roosevelt gave a commencement address to a graduating class in 1903 while the theatre was still under construction.

Musically, hundreds of big name acts, including Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Joan Baez, James Taylor, and the Dave Matthews Band, have played the Greek. If you love music, history, culture, or architecture, a visit to the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre on the UC Berkley campus is a “must do”

On this night, the main act hits the stage and as the lights of red, purple, blue, amber and green cast their sheen upon the venue, you realize that you are in a special place. You begin to let yourself fall into the night as the notes from the music on stage lift off the instruments and float into the air… so clearly visible that you can reach out and touch them. But you don’t. You simply take it all in and know you are in one of the most beautiful venues this area has to offer.

If you do nothing else next year, meet me at the Greek. Do it once. Do it as often as you can. You will be delighted, amazed, and filled with joy. You will be inspired.

The event schedule runs from May to October each year. Go to: to learn more about the Greek and check out next years concert schedule. Go to  for directions and parking information, as well as local establishments to help make your trip enjoyable

Contributory sources:
Another Planet Entertainment:
Trip Advisor:

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