CRYSTAL BAY — Blake Beeman’s Celebration of Life Aug. 2 in the room he built into renowned concert hall was filled with loved ones who laughed, cried and rocked out with the Beer Gardners and many onstage guests. Friends called for Commons Beach to have its name changed to Blake’s Beach.
“Blake wouldn’t want anything somber, anything gloomy,” said the evening’s emcee, Ed Miller. “Bliss. That’s was a word Blake liked to use.”
“Maboolie,” was the word Todd Beeman had everyone chant three times to ensure his brother to hear the message.
“Blake was a rock star, not only on the stage but in life,” said Robert Ordway, who met Beeman in 1986 when he worked in Squaw Valley’s Beer Garden, the venue the band was named for.
“My advice to guys is not to be a rock star but instead to be a sound man,” Miller said. “At every show there was a line of beautiful women at the sound booth to see Blake, give him a hug or sit on his lap.”
A tree which sits next to the soundboard was dedicated as Blake’s Tree. Another tree will be planted and dedicated to Beeman at Commons Beach, where he put on Sunday afternoon concerts, weekly joyous community gatherings.
Beeman died this summer at the age of 54 of stomach cancer. With death imminent, a celebration and fundraiser to pay medical fees was held Jan. 15. That was the last time Beeman publically performed. Beeman’s spirit filled an otherwise empty chair alongside the Beer Gardners on the Crown Room stage during Saturday’s celebration. “Blake said the idea of this band was to never rehearse and to always have a good time,” the singer said before starting the music. “OK everybody, pick a chord.”
CBC General Manager Bill Wood didn’t know Beeman when his band the Headlines played at his wedding 19 years ago. But in 2004, when the promoter Brent Harding came along and the Stage Lounge was converted into the Red Room, Beeman was the soundman.
It was Beeman’s idea to transform a café and former bowling alley into a concert venue, the Crown Room. During the past decade as the venue gained a national reputation with artists and concertgoers, Beeman made improvements. It seemed with each show there were more lights and video monitors. The dozens of screens were filled with a slideshow of Beeman while the Bruce Springsteen’s “Terry’s Song” (They Broke the Mold) was played. For a moment a mostly joyful night became grief-stricken.
“Blake was a gentle man, a peaceful soul,” Wood said after reminding the audience Beeman had worked each of the first 1,000 shows. “We have that tree here and now he will always be in attendance.”