The new Austin City Limits Live venue at the Moody Theater at the W Hotel offers a guided tour from 11 am - noon most days and since we've been fans over the 37 years their music shows have aired on PBS, we had to check it out. This block of W 2nd St. is also known as Willie Nelson Blvd, honoring the Texas icon who is heavily involved in this hotel/venue development.
Our tour guide, Don, is one of the managers and his enthusiasm for music, musicians, and the facility really showed. He gave us almost 1 1/2 hours and lots of his personal experiences. At 2700 seats, it's no stadium but it is designed for acoustics and to be both audience and musician friendly. We got to see dressing rooms, control rooms for video and sound, and even Willie's Porch, a small outside mezzanine which is the only place smoking is permitted for artists and friends. Don told us it was added in deference to Willie's legendary habit.
The collection of posters and photographs is alone worth the $10 admission. The mezzanine lobby features the timeless work of ACL staff photographer, Scott Newton, in the Keller Pfulger Gallery. The balcony lobby is named the "Jack & Jim" gallery and is a collaboration by Jack Daniel's Distillery and legendary rock photographer, Jim Marshall. Dozens of classic photos and memorabilia, too. Wow!
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum has designated the facility as a landmark, a high honor but very deserved, in our opinion. It hosts tapings of the ACL show, as well as live concerts and other functions. A great addition to the Austin music scene.
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