Seeing Stars: Live on Stage


9039 Sunset Boulevard,
West Hollywood, CA. / (310) 274-5800


In August of 1996, this spot on the Sunset Strip opened as Billboard Live, with a spectacular celebrity- studded block party featuring Tony Bennett, the Gin Blossoms and emcee Jenny McCarthy.

The 12,000 square-foot, three-level club booked name acts such as early on included: James Brown, the Ramones, The Monkees, the Tubes, the almighty Ultrasound, Dick Dale, Dwight Yokum, Bow Wow Wow, Magic Johnson's 37th birthday party, Rupaul, Little Richard and lots of alternative stuff.

The $9 million club was high-tech to the max, and attracted lots of celebs in its prime. /Prince dropped by for a visit, and in October of '97, they hosted the after party for the premiere of "Boogie Nights," which drew stars Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg and Julianna Moore to the club. Pauley Shore liked to hang out there on Fridays. Even President Bill Clinton showed up for one special event (on June 23, 1997).

But by 1998, Billboard had undergone a name change, and the club became "The Key Club."

Located across the street from the House of Blues, this spot has a lot of music history behind it. It was the former site of the legendary rock club Gazzarri's, the place that gave us the Doors, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield back in the 1960s, and Van Halen a few years later (before being felled by the Northridge earthquake).

But the music continues at the Key Club, with nightly shows (and dinner), DJ's, and dancing.

In July of 1998, Prince performed in concert again, and the audience included


actress Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani (lead singer of No Doubt) and Gavin Rossdale (Bush), Perry Farrell (of Porno for Pyros), Tony Curtis, and Jaleel White (Urkel on "Family Matters" ) watching the show. 

Ellen Degeneres & Anne Heche showed up to watch the band "Live" play at a birthday party for Carmen Electra, thrown (in her absense) by her ex, Dennis Rodman. In late 1999, Sarah McLachlan headed a benefit concert at the club to help find a cure for autism.

But Big Names on stage are fairly rare nowadays at "The Key Club," which has to compete with the nearby House of Blues to book performers. Today, while you'll occasionally see name acts like Taylor Dayne, Blue Oyster Cult, Wang Chung, Fishbone and Cinderella, on any given week you're more likely to find lesser-known acts such as Banned From Utopia, The Alkoholics, Red & the Red Hots and the Voodoo Glow Skulls.

However, on July 13, 2000, Keanu Reeves brought his band Dogstar to the Key Club, and women lined up in droves on Sunset Blvd waiting to get in.

And on Dec. 11, 2000, Ricky Martin popped in for a special show to promote his new CD.

Cover varies. Tickets to the concerts range from $15 to $30. There's a $20 charge to get in the VIP ("Plush") room (when room is available). Over 21.

Getting there: The Key Club is located on the north side of the Sunset Strip, just east of Doheny Drive (between Doheny and Hammond.) From Hollywood & Vine: take Vine Street south (two blocks) to Sunset Boulevard. Turn right (west) on Sunset, and go west about three miles to just before Doheny. The Key Club will be on your right (north) side.


[You can access the Key Club's official website at: http://www.keyclub.com/.]



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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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