Portland is having a moment. Actually, it’s more like a decade. The craft beer scene continues to expand, our food choices are varied and delicious, and music venues are keeping pace as this Rolling Stone article highlights in “Inside Portland, Maine’s Wildly Ambitious Music Scene“.
I have been passionate about Bruce Springsteen’s music since my college days. We got tickets to his Tunnel of Love Tour at the Worcester Centrum. This was back in the day when you had to call for tickets. Redialing again and again until that magic moment when you heard ringing instead of the fast buzz of the busy signal. We got our tickets. They did happen to be in the very last row at the back of the 38,000 seat arena. While Springsteen always puts on a great show, we watched that one on the large video monitors setup throughout the concert space.
I have seldom returned to stadium shows since that one. It’s not an enjoyable musical experience. I prefer a more intimate one. Fortunately, I live in the right state.
Goldilocks would have loved Portland. It’s the perfect size city: not too big, not too small, but just right. It has everything you need, but it’s not so big as to be overwhelming. Our music scene is the same, with intimate venues that allow you be a part of the musical experience instead of an observer.
Here are some local venues to check out:
I’m partial to the State Theatre dressed up in all her Art Deco charm. They always get an amazing lineup of shows. I’ve seen Nate Ruess during his solo tour for Grand Romantic, gone to a few comedy shows, one of which I blogged about previously in my post Standup Comedy with Chris Hardwick and his ID10T Tour at State Theatre, and attended the live tour for the Stuff You Should Know podcast. They always have an interesting line up of shows. Next up for us is Whose Live Anyway? An improve show with the current cast members of the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Port City Music Hall
This smaller venue is primarily standing room only with a small ring of seating off to the sides. I’ve seem both music and comedy at this venue too, including T.J. Miller, JoJo, and a Bruce Springsteen cover band. It’s a nice, small intimate space.
Maine State Pier
This outside venue is on one of the piers in Portland harbor which a coastal vibe and stunning ocean views. I’ve only been to one show at the pier, Bare Naked Ladies. I remember a little girl at the show dancing and swaying to the music with such joy. It was a high energy performance. Watching the band while simultaneously watching the sunset over the harbor was wonderful.
This is another outside venue that hosts concerts in the summer. While a little larger than the other sites, it still maintains a casual, festival like atmosphere with food trucks and a large back lawn to spread out your blanket and enjoy the show. We went to see moe. here a few summers back.
There are of course many other venues throughout the state, but these are a few of my favorites in Portland.
Why does this bring me bliss? Smaller venues offer a more intimate experience and really allow you to connect with the performance. I’ve found that especially as I age it is a much more blissful musical experience to see a show in a smaller setting.
Do you have a favorite concert venue?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.