Ben Vaughn Quintet | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
Last Days at The Tin Angel: Old City listening room closes its doors after 24 years
The Tin Angel, which has been a staple of the Philadelphia music scene since 1992, held its last show on February 4th. This unique second floor listening room has seen numerous legendary artists take the stage to entertain music fans over the past 24 years. Its final week included a string of sold out shows with locals Eric Bazilian playing with Wesley Stace on the first of February and Ben Vaughn closing the venue with a double-header three days later.
These last couple of shows were not just your typical concerts; they were two nights of great music mixed with smiling fans and lots of conversation reminiscing about the past 24 years of music.
On the first night of February, local music fans waited patiently on the staircase going up to the cozy second floor venue space. Early birds enjoyed a brief sneak peek listening to Eric Bazilian and Wesley Stace soundcheck and warming up. Finally, the doors opened and the 150-person room quickly filled up. This was a very intimate night of great music, conversation, and laughs; Bazilian and Stace sat next to each other on stage the whole set playing songs together and separately. With Bazilian switching between acoustic and electric guitar (but playing mostly electric) and Stace playing acoustic guitar and both throwing in the occasional harmonica, their set list included songs covering just about every topic from politics to love and a good mix of serious and funny songs.
Stace played a couple new songs such as “Better Tell No One your Dreams,” to promote his new record Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding. Although the record is not officially released until February 24, 2017 he had copies of it with him at this show that fans in attendance could buy.
There was not only reminiscing about previous Tin Angel experiences but also a long conversation between Bazilian, Stace, and the audience about the day Live Aid occurred. This led into Wesley Stace playing his song about what he was doing on the day of Live Aid, “July 13th, 1985.” Once all the Live Aid memories were shared, the duo ended the regular set with a crowd favorite from The Hooters; “And We Danced. “Which as you can imagine, ended the show on a high note with the audience cheering. The show did not end there though. During the “encore,” Bazilian and Stace each played a song on their own before closing the night with another crowd favorite “One of Us.” And just like that the Tin Angel was down to its final two nights.
The crowd was back on Saturday night ready to be a part of history. Ben Vaughn closed the Tin Angel with an upbeat and energetic double header; the first show at 8 p.m. and the second (final) show at 11 p.m.. As the first show was wrapping up, the staircase of the Tin Angel filled up for one last time with patient fans anxiously awaiting the show. The Ben Vaughn Quintet finished show number one with an encore and the early show crowd filed out with smiles and laughter. Fans were caught exclaiming statements like, “SO GREAT!!” and taking pictures of the final pre-show staircase line.
Show two of the quintet’s double header began with the singer/songwriter Dan Montgomery playing several of his songs. In addition to playing great songs, Montgomery told the audience his memories of the Tin Angel. He played there about eight times but saw many more great shows in what he calls “the only real listening room in town.” After Montgomery finished his opening set and the quintet beginning the venues final set, the Tin Angel booker, Larry Goldfarb, took the stage to talk to the audience and thanking everyone who has helped out putting on the the shows. Finally the Ben Vaughn Quintet got the final set going with the song which features C.C. Crabtree on the train whistle, “Railroad Track.” The set list for the night was made up of the old and new crowd favorites including the songs “Miss Me When I’m Gone,” “Piece de Resistance” and “Walkin’ My Way”. The show included sax solos, accordion solos, the harmonica solos, and had the fans applauding and laughing.
Ben Vaughn not only closed the venue but also played the first show of the Tin Angel, and on Saturday night Vaughn was playing to a crowd which included a number fans who were also at that first show in 1992. The final show ended appropriately with the song “Don’t Wanna Go” and the band members left stage one at a time leaving Gus Codovox as the very last musician on the Tin Angel’s stage.