It Was a Beautiful Day
They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.
— Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, 1970
Recently I was sitting in a bar lis- tening to a band — an activity ou’d think I would have outgrown 20 years ago, but never did.
This band was playing in Ferndale near
my home in Bellingham, and the bass
player is a fellow local lawyer. During
a break, we were talking about pre-am-plifier tubes, or tone-control knobs, or
whatever when we got onto the subject
of our college days in Seattle. Although
we didn’t know each other back then, it
turns out we used to frequent the same
places and listen to the same bands. If
you’re kind of old and from Seattle, you’ll
know what I’m talking about: The Rainbow in the U District, The Firehouse in
Ballard, The Gorilla Room downtown. If
you’re kind of young, well, believe it or
not, you’ll soon be eulogizing all the hip
places where you hang out now. Like rock
stars themselves, the great music venues
tend to burn brightly, but not for long.
One place my buddy mentioned re-
ally resonated in my memory: Astor Park.
I had forgotten the name but remembered
the place fondly. It’s literally a parking lot
now, at Fifth and Lenora, in the shadow
of the monorail tracks. But in the early to
mid-1980s, it was one of the coolest music
clubs in the Northwest, hosting popular lo-
cal and regional bands such as The Allies,
The Cowboys, and Quarterflash, as well
as the occasional up-and-coming national
act, including Tom Petty and the Heart-
breakers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly
practices in Bellingham. He can be reached
at 360-312-5156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of his work at nwsidebar.wsba.