I went downtown to see They Might Be Giants this week. The show was at a venue called The Beacham, which is a large and venerable concert space right on Orange Avenue.
TMBG did a rollicking two-set show, where they served as their own opening act. They made jokes about Clippy the paperclip and Phil Collins, and kept their audience thoroughly entertained while doing a combination of their classic hits and their new stuff.
While I was listening to “Whistling In The Dark,” I was thinking about the last time I saw this band- twenty years ago, at another show in Orlando. They Might Be Giants played at the Embassy Music Hall in 1998.
When I lived in Orlando twenty years ago, the Embassy Music Hall was part of my regular rotation of clubs to go dancing; they had a Wednesday night (as far as I can recall) with lots of 80s and new wave music. I have loads of great memories of dancing there with friends.
The Embassy was a nondescript looking place, situated on the side of a big shopping plaza off Lee Road. It was kind of nondescript, even when it was open. This picture is long after the Embassy closed, but it didn’t look much different than this:
The Embassy had a regular rotation of amazing concerts. While I was looking up details about the club for this post, I found information about shows by Love and Rockets, KMFDM, Green Day, Primus, The Damned, Collective Soul, The Lemonheads, Snoop Dogg, Marilyn Manson, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden, all from the late 1990s. I got to see TMBG there in ’98, and I also saw Project Pitchfork and Front 242 there. The Embassy Music Hall was awesome.
Sometime in 1999, Embassy shut its doors and was re-imagined as a sort of after-hours raver club called Cyberzone. Cyberzone had problems right away, including multiple drug arrests and the deaths of two people. I never went during the Cyberzone era, and the club closed in early 2001.
I hadn’t heard much about the place in a really long time, so while I was getting ready to see They Might Be Giants for the first time in two decades, I checked in on the old place with some Google Map action.
It’s a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Grocery now.
Yup, that sounds about right*.
*There’s a song on TMBG’s 1992 album Flood called “Minimum Wage.” It uses a whip-crack to hilarious effect. Seems about right.
What happened to your favorite places from years ago?