The Great American Music Hall is a concert hall in San Francisco, California. It is located on O'Farrell Street in the Tenderloin neighborhood on the same block as the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre. It is known for its decorative balconies, columns, and frescoes and for its history of unique entertainment, which has included burlesque dancing as well as jazz, folk music, and rock and roll concerts. The capacity of the hall is 470 people.
Blanco's and Music Box
The hall was established in 1907 during the period of rebuilding that followed the 1906 earthquake. Its interior was designed by a French architect. It was originally called Blanco's, after a notorious Barbary Coast house of prostitution.
In 1936, Sally Rand, known for her fan dance and bubble dance acts, acquired the property and branded it the Music Box. It closed with the end of World War II, reopened in 1948 as a jazz club that reused the name Blanco's, and in the 1950s the building was used by members of the Loyal Order of the Moose. The venue went into a long decline that nearly resulted in the demolition of the building.
Great American Music Hall
In 1972 the venue was purchased by Tom Bradshaw. Newly refurbished and painted, the building was renamed the Great American Music Hall. In 1973-1974 the Stuart Little Band became the house band and served as opening act for many GAMH headliners: Cal Tjader, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Marcel Marceau, Stan Getz, Mongo Santamaria, Dizzy Gillespie, Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders, Joe Pass, Cleo Laine, Herbie Mann, Buddy Rich, The Tubes, etc. In 1974, the new line-up of Journey debuted there, also Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead debuted and recorded a live album with Legion of Mary, his jazz influenced rock band in 1974, and again later with the Jerry Garcia Band as well as The Grateful Dead's album One from the Vault. In 1982, Robin Williams filmed his HBO special, "An Evening with Robin Williams". In the early '90s, radio station KKSF 103.7FM hosted several large "Music Without Borders Listener Appreciation Concerts", with performances by Opafire as well as other Contemporary Jazz groups. In May 2000, during the dot-com boom, the venue was acquired for a reportedly seven-figure sum by music website Riffage.com, and went to Diablo Management Group when Riffage.com ceased operations in December 2000. Traditional burlesque was brought back to the Great American Music Hall when the Velvet Hammer Burlesque troupe performed in 2003 and 2004. In 2013, the Great American Music Hall was named the sixth-best rock club in America in a Rolling Stone poll of artists and managers.