For more than a decade, the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio has been an oasis of musical discovery for music fans, booking and presenting over six thousand shows. As they celebrate their 12th anniversary, they’re remembering 12 key moments from the club’s history, including the magical day that the venue served as the meeting place for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

In town rehearsing for a 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to Leadbelly, Plant and Krauss met for the first time on the Beachland stage, a union that would later bear significant fruit in the form of their 2007 collaboration ‘Raising Sand.’ The album notched its slot on many a best-of list the year it was released and snagged the pair a total of five Grammy Awards. Before he left the Beachland premises, Plant gave the club’s longtime soundman a nickname that has stuck to this day, ‘Big Audio Mike.’

Both the Ballroom stage (capacity: 500) and the connected Tavern stage (capacity: 150) have had their share of memorable nights, including an awesome evening of music from Ian Hunter that we particularly enjoyed last year. The Tavern played host to an early Cleveland show from Detroit neighbors The White Stripes and a year later, the first show by future arena rock superstars (we’re being a bit sarcastic with that tag) The Black Keys, who played to an audience of 25 people.

The next time the Keys found their way to the Tavern in 2008, they were playing a secret show for Myspace that was packed to the gills.

After only a handful of reunion shows in the Cleveland area in 2001, Joe Walsh and his pre-Eagles outfit the James Gang were keen to finally play some dates outside of Ohio. The Beachland was the testing ground for two sold out Ballroom shows featuring Walsh and his James Gang brethren, drummer Jimmy Fox and bassist Dale Peters. The trio would indeed “ride again,” playing shows across the U.S. in 2006.

A Cleveland landmark since its initial birth in 1950 as the Croatian Liberty Home, the current Ballroom and Tavern retains a lot of the same look and feel that for decades made the Liberty Home a comfortable destination for locals.

It’s that same welcoming feeling that still hangs in the air today at the Beachland, and the good time vibes of the venue naturally elevate the strength of the performances that emanate from the stage. The positive spirit of owners Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy has served as a key revitalizing and inspirational spark for the influx of business development in the Collinwood neighborhood that the club calls home.

Here’s to many more great nights of rock and roll at the Beachland!


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