2012 First Night Saint Louis

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anne and I rung in the new year at First Night in Grand Center. This has become our tradition, as of late, with this year’s novelty being that we actually made it to midnight there. Usually, we bail early enough to watch the NYC celebration on TV. This is especially surprising, considering yesterday’s bike ride. I guess Night Girl was unfazed by yesterday’s Day Girl activities.

This was the twentieth time First Night has occurred in Saint Louis. Created in Boston, in ’76, it has been spawned to Saint Louis and many other cities since then. Its two most salient aspects are its emphasis on the visual and performing arts and the fact that it is a nonalcoholic event. This last point has probably restrained First Night’s acceptance, but that’s OK, that leaves more for me. Last night’s unseasonably warm weather caused me some trepidation, would the mild weather cause the event to become too crowded? Not to worry though, because Grand Center with its myriad of performance spaces and churches that open their doors to revelers easily accommodated the larger crowd.

We started the evening where we ended it, at the Sheldon. We arrived just as the opening round of acts were beginning and caught soul singer Brian Owens. He covered many of the standards and slid us into the mood, for the evening. After his act, we journeyed up to Grand Center proper and took in the street scene. We also watched Le Jazz Hot, MADCO and Gene Dobbs Bradford & the Blues Inquisition. We never made it to half of the venues and there is no way one can see all of the acts. There are more than a half-of-dozen stages filled at any one time. It is hard enough being in two places at once, let alone six. Returning to the Sheldon, with its multiple spaces we saw Samba Bom, a Brazilian salsa band and last year’s favorite act, Kim Massie, the Downtown Diva. Her impromptu act as per usual evolved into a sparring match between her repertoire and the less gentle members of the audience. This year though, she came armed with a secret weapon, an iPad full of lyrics. She closed First Night and 2011 for us. Walking back to the car, we caught a private party’s fireworks show and then saw First Night’s final fireworks show in our rearview mirrors, as we drove home.

Leave a Reply