First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom
Author: Chris Riemenschneider
Where Prince and Minnesota made rock ’n’ roll history—a glorious look back at one of rock’s most storied clubs and the thousands of musicians who took the stage there.
One of the longest running rock clubs in America, First Avenue in Minneapolis gets the rock-star treatment it deserves with this glorious celebration of a true rock 'n' roll landmark. Revised and updated through the club's 50th anniversary celebrations, the book chronicles the club's storied past—from its impressive inaugural show in April 1970 (Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" tour) up through the latest acts to take the stage at this beloved venue.
In its initial incarnation as the Depot, the club hosted music legends as varied as the Kinks, Ike and Tina Turner, Alice Cooper, and B. B. King before transforming into a disco club known as Uncle Sam's. In the '80s, First Avenue catapulted to the global stage as the hub of Prince's Purple Rain and the incubator for widely revered, wild-eyed indie-rock bands such as the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and Babes in Toyland. During the past half-century, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry have hosted everyone from the Ramones to R.E.M., Wilco to the Wu-Tang Clan, Billy Idol to Billie Eilish, Lizz Winstead to Lizzo, and hundreds more—all immortalized in this volume.
Over the decades, First Avenue survived corporate competitors, bankruptcy, a bitter ownership battle, and most recently, a global pandemic to become one of the most successful independent clubs in the country and ground zero to Minneapolis's thriving community of hip-hop and indie-rock acts. Amidst all that history, the book is interlaced with anecdotes, quotes, and occasionally cloudy memories from musicians, employees, and regulars—many of whom are as unique as the club itself. Chock full of concert photos and memorabilia collected from professional photographers and average fans alike, the book is a lavish tribute to a rock 'n' roll landmark.