Skip the exterior. It's the opulent interior, second only to that of Radio City Music Hall, that counts. Go in, even if you must attend a concert that deafens you - the interior is Greco-Deco-empire with a Tudor palette. -AIA Guide to New York City
In 1982, I saw the elite Japanese taiko drumming troup Kodo's first American performance in New York City. My group of friends was absolutely astounded. My last visit to the Beacon Theatre (prior to this Sunday) was a big mistake - to see Kodo a second time and to introduce a friend to the group.
The Beacon had taken a beating after decades of rock concerts. The balcony seats were filled with people talking, cell phones ringing, and, to add insult to injury, one heavy man repeatedly taking bathroom breaks. The floors were so laden with the sticky residue of spilled drinks that there was a loud ripping sound when lifting his foot after every step.
We noticed the same effect as we lifted our feet while seated. This whole phenomenon became a source of great amusement and an exercise in controlled laughter. However, the whole experience was extremely disappointing - Kodo requires a quiet listening environment and complete attention to their nuanced performance, not all manner of noise, hilarity and contained laughter.
On Sunday, I went to the final performance of Cirque du Soleil's Banana Shpeel. I was pleasantly shocked to see the Beacon Theatre's decor after a recent renovation. See more photos here.
I was able to enjoy the opulent interior in all its former glory without seeing a "concert that deafens you" or listening to feet ripping away from sticky stuff :)
Note about the Beacon Theater: The Beacon was designed by Walter Ahlschlager and opened in 1929. In 1979, the historic venue was designated a national landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the greatest names in music have played the Beacon including the Rolling Stones, Jerry Garcia, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Radiohead, and Queen. The Allman Brothers hold an annual rite of spring concert series at the Beacon Theatre known as "The Beacon Run." Since 1989, they have performed 173 shows at the Beacon.