“Remembering the Riverboat President”; Joan Jett mention

My third Joan Jett concert was at the end of June 1997, at a place called Graffiti in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. I was in the first or second row, just to the left of Joan’s microphone. The venue stands out as one of my favorites because the stage only hit me at my knee or thigh, and I’m only 5-foot-3-inches tall. This brought Joan close enough that I didn’t have to strain to reach her hand when she offered it, and I could rub the top of her then-buzzed blond sweaty head when she leaned into us during “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” I haven’t been that close to Joan since, and I would love to see her perform at Graffiti again, but I can’t. Graffiti doesn’t exist anymore.

Graffiti is just one of probably hundreds of venues that Joan has performed in that no longer exist, but the memories created in them last a lifetime.

Doug MacCash was a bartender on the Riverboat President in New Orleans, a ship that stopped cruising there almost 25 years ago. Joan Jett is one of the dozens of performers that Doug remembers in his article on http://www.nola.com. After reading his memories, I miss this boat–and I’ve never even seen it.

The President was a 1924-vintage cruise boat. Wide. White. Three decks. A cross between a manatee and a wedding cake. Ask anybody: It was the coolest nightclub in town.

Roy Orbison. Joan Jett. Tina Turner was, of course, born to go rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on a river.

SS President.jpg

Times-Picayune archive The SS President

I always had the best seat in the house. I was one of the bartenders, stationed right in front of the stage, in the blare of the speakers. I was twenty-something. It’s amazing that I can still hear. When Gary Numan played, the booze bottles rattled like castanets.

Read the rest of the article HERE. Joan Jett’s name is the only thing mentioned about her in this article, but it is still a great example of how music connects people to each other, and how the places we visit can become like friends and family. It’s definitely worth a read.

And, thanks to someone saving a list of performers from back then, I know that Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed on “The Prez,” as they called it, on October 11, 1983. It’s on the top of page 4. I’ve added this date to the concert archive.

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