CBC Backstage ups the Crown Room concert experience

Friends meet at CBC Backstage as Goodnight, Texas is shown on video screens, performing in the adjacent Crown Room on Aug. 25.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Concerts are cooler with the CBC Backstage.

The Crystal Bay Casino recently opened a lounge adjacent to the Crown Room, where concertgoers can watch and hear the show on video screens and though high-quality speakers. There are seats, tables and a bar.

CBC Backstage opened earlier this month and has been free to use. Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 30, when reggae’s Steel Pulse performs, the “VIP upgrade” can be added on when tickets are purchased through the new TIXR system, which has replaced Ticketmaster. Forty-five CBC Backstage tickets will be sold, at a starting price of $15, topping out at $30.

“People like it,” said Jim Welch, the bar manager. “It’s a step up in the experience. They can break away and breathe.”

Patrons can sip cocktails from glassware, or take their libations back to the Crown Room in plastic cups.

There was a 70-year-old man here for Dopapod who had just had knee surgery,” Welch said. “He was happy as hell he could sit down and still see the show.”

North Shore resident Allison McKenzie said she attends several shows with her friends during wintertime. She laughed about eating “blackout burgers” when the room was Bistro Elise.

“It’s nice to see something in this space,” she said. “It will be good when you bring someone to a show who doesn’t want to stand all night.”

“I am all about the air conditioning,” said Truckee’s Anna Weber. “It’s a place to take a time out.”

The room was used as a kitchen when the Crown Room was a cafeteria. After Roger and Elise Norman purchased it in 2003 the Crown Room was converted to a music venue. The former Bistro had been vacant since March 2020, when the Covid-caused musical hiatus began.

The room was going to be called The Green Room at CBC, but it was learned there is a venue in Placerville with a similar name, The Green Room Social Club.

Seating booths in the Crown Room were removed in recent years, along with the sound-engineering area, to increase the capacity to 700. All that remains on the floor is Blake’s Tree, in honor of original soundman Blake Beeman.

Crystal Bay Casino’s Red Room, which was used for after-party shows before the hiatus, is the site for shows again, including Steve Poltz on Sept. 16.

Notable upcoming Crown Room concerts include Jackie Greene with the Dead Winter Carpenters, Spafford and “Christmas in Hawaii with Jake Shimabukuro and Justin Kawika Young. Also scheduled are comedy shows and, for the first time, professional wrestling.

Bar manager Jim Welch talks with customers in CBC Backstage during a show.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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