One of the many benefits of living in the five boroughs is that there are so many places to see a show in New York City. From the Great White Way to the smallest clubs in the Bronx, you can catch an awesome performance pretty much everywhere you turn. Located just south of Prospect Park sits the Kings Theatre, a former movie palace that today hosts all types of live performances. On this night, it hosted the last night of Garbage’s North American tour.
Kings Theatre was first opened in 1929 as a place where you could catch movies and live vaudeville acts. It closed in 1977, and went under ownership of the city of New York in 1979.
I’ve noticed a strange trend as I’ve been exploring the history of New York City. When places close, they’re just…left. No one takes care of the buildings, and no one takes over the buildings. Kings Theatre ran into a similar issue, and with decades of neglect and vandalism, the building developed extensive damage. Fortunately, Kings Theatre underwent a complete renovation and opened its doors again in 2015.
The beauty of the renovation is that Kings Theatre was able to maintain much of its original splendor. I noticed from the moment I walked through the doors just how amazing this building is. Beautiful grand staircases, classic moldings, and opulent chandeliers bring you into a different time when you visit. The Kings Theatre design features a stunning baroque style that captures a lot of society during the Roaring 20’s. It actually seems a little odd to have a rock concert here.
Visitors to Kings Theatre are likely to take a picture of a big organ. This is a reproduction of the original Robert Morton theatre pipe organ that was played during the theatre’s original run - just imagine sitting back and enjoying a performance with this beautiful instrument! Unfortunately, due to some shenanigans and engineering difficulties, the actual original organ wasn’t able to be reinstalled after the building was renovated. The reproduction was built from the original plans.
Getting to Kings Theatre is one of those annoying headaches that comes with living and commuting in New York City. Even if you live in Brooklyn, be prepared for a long subway ride over. Kings Theatre is located about a 10-minute walk from the Q, 2, and 5 trains. Getting back to Astoria after the show would have cost me $65 in Lyft or Juno (you have to love surge pricing), so the subway it was.
Kings Theatre is fitted with several bars, each with drinks and snacks that you’re free to bring in for the performance. I got a beer and a (super tasty) pretzel and headed in to my seat. Rituals of Mine opened the show. I wasn’t familiar with them at all before the concert, but I really enjoyed their electronic sound. I feel like opening acts don’t get enough credit or attention, which is pretty unfortunate.
After Rituals of Mine’s set and a brief break, Garbage finally came out! I’ll be honest, I purchased a ticket to see the show because I knew this was their 20 Years Paranoid tour, where they’d be playing Version 2.0 in its entirety. I can remember having this album on in the background while I played video games as a kid, and I think 10-year-old me would be super excited that I got to see them play. They sounded exactly as I imagined they would, and Shirley Manson is such a badass woman in rock.
I mentioned before that it felt odd to be seeing a rock concert in such an opulent spot as Kings Theatre. And honesty, it really was. The theatre has seating for 3,000 people, but it’s literally just that - seating. Anytime I’ve been on the floor for a concert, I’m pressed up against other people and free to move around. On this night, it felt like I was at a Broadway show that just happened to be a rock concert. It was a bizarre setting, if that makes sense.
After two and a half amazing hours, it was time to call it a night. Garbage finished up a four-song encore, and the crowd cleared out…for that long subway ride home.
Kings Theatre is a hallmark spot in Brooklyn, where you can enjoy a ton of different performances while imagining you’re back in the 1920s. I would definitely come back to see a show here again, provided I have the energy to drag my elderly self home on the subway.