Local Current Blog

When the world talks about First Avenue, what does it say?

First Avenue in January. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

When a chunk of First Avenue’s ceiling collapsed Wednesday evening, the story was covered by media outlets across the country and beyond. How is this Minneapolis institution seen by people outside of Minnesota? The coverage gave us an opportunity to find out.

Unsurprisingly, mentions of Purple Rain were all but mandatory; the Replacements and Hüsker Dü also got a few mentions, but among all the thousands of artists who have played the club, U2 and Tina Turner were the most remarked-upon other than Prince.

Here are some of the quotes:

“First Avenue has been a fixture of the Minneapolis music scene since it opened in 1970. The building was most famously used by Prince to film his 1984 movie Purple Rain.” – Fox News

“A Minnesota nightclub seen in the 1984 movie Purple Rain […] Sections of the 1984 Prince film Purple Rain were also filmed there, including the movie’s opening and closing songs.” – ABC News

“A landmark Minneapolis concert venue […] has hosted such performers as U2, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner and Prince.” – Chicago Tribune

“A historic Minneapolis music venue […] The nightclub has been host to numerous acts that went on to achieve legendary status: The Ramones, Tina Turner and U2 among them. Prince filmed the concert scenes for his movie Purple Rain at the venue.” – CNN

“The legendary downtown Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue […] the famed venue, which has seen the likes of Tina Turner and U2 take to the stage […] The building, which was originally a Greyhound Bus depot, is perhaps best known as the venue where Prince shot Purple Rain.” – Mail Online

“A famed Minneapolis club […] Rolling Stone placed First Avenue at No. 3 on its list of ‘The Best Big Rooms in America.’ The musician Prince frequently played there in the 1980s. Local bands that achieved success—including Husker Du, The Replacements and Soul Asylum—played the venue early in their careers.” – NBC News

“A legendary club in Minneapolis […] Though the Twin Cities’ First Avenue is perhaps not on the top tier of internationally known rock clubs—and doesn’t always get the accolades of, say, Bill Graham’s Fillmore in San Francisco or CBGBs in New York—it is an American institution nonetheless.” – Washington Post

Mackenzie Martin is a podcast enthusiast and senior at Macalester College, where she majors in media & cultural studies.