Best Theater to See MST3K Live

I have seen MST live shows in three cities, I was at the Balboa in San Diego, the Warfield in San Francisco and Pioneer Center in Reno. Out of the three, I liked the Warfield the best because it was fancier, and it was my first meet-and-greet.
So, anyone else see the live show in more than one theater? If so, where and which one was the best?

Next week will be my third theater seeing MST Live in over the years. I’ve seen the two from the first tour at the Keswick in Philly and then I saw the two from the second tour at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando (just so happened to be the first day of my Disney trip, so I had to go…it was a sign). I think I liked the Keswick better as it felt more intimate, but I liked the Hard Rock for its amazing bathrooms and for the ease of the VIP process there.

Next week it’s the Merriam in Philly! I don’t think I’m going to VIP it up this year, but I look forward to seeing the show very much.

The San Francisco legs of the first two tours were at different venues. “Watch Out for Snakes” was the Warfield; “The Great Cheesy Movie Circus” was the Golden Gate Theatre. They’re a stone’s throw away from each other (not even figuratively – they are on either side of Taylor Street) but totally different theaters.

Of the two, I like the Warfield better. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to the Warfield more. There is a rather big asterisk and “except” in that two very large, load bearing, speaker wielding pillars straddle the area used for standing room concerts and this leads to certain seating for stage shows with an obstructed or totally blocked view. Aside from that, cool place that hosts lots of different kinds of stuff. Easy to get to.

The Golden Gate has a very classic “art deco” thing from the moment you step inside. It’s charming. And all of the seats have a perfect line of sight to the stage (to be expected; they mainly host musicals and art plays). It’s just a very tiny place. Built in the 1920s. Entering and exiting is pretty chaotic and intermissions get cramped. In true SF fashion, there’s a WeWork there which doesn’t necessarily diminish the theater itself but WeWork is a blight.

Not sure what other theaters could host something like the MST3K tours. The Castro Theater would be pretty great, especially since they’re movies first and foremost, but I don’t know how well they could accommodate a full stage show loadout. The Fillmore is an absolutely killer spot but caters mainly to concerts (seating that could be brought in would be on pretty level flooring so everyone’s looking at the backs of the heads in front of them). The Orpheum doesn’t do short or one-off shows. The Bill Graham Auditorium maybe…? Sorta overkill, and I’d imagine it’s expensive for tours to claim the space.

Ha, I actually skipped the tour this year because the only local shows were at the Warfield. I was hoping it would come to San Jose again this year, because I really hated the Warfield (where I saw the first tour, which was awesome and hilarious in spite of the venue).

Why did I hate the Warfield?
– it was HOT AS F**K and had no ventilation or air movement whatsoever
– I was in the balcony which is vertiginously steep (love to be there in an earthquake!)
– I’m pretty sure the seats were about 14 inches wide (the Warfield was built in 1922 when the average adult was apparently the size of a cocker spaniel)

The San Jose shows, while not at all fancy, were far more comfortable.

Saw it three times, once at the State Theater in New Brunswick, once at the Wellemont in Montclair, and once at Count Basie in Red Bank, all in New Jersey. The Basie is easily the best of the three, beautiful theater and vibe, and right by the train so it was easy to commute back home. State Theater was second, nothing bad about it, but I hated the Wellmont. They packed the seating by the front and you were looking all the way up at the screen which was uncomfortable.

So far, I think the Moore Theatre is the best and only place for me to watch MST3K Live in Seattle. Built in 1907, the inside of the theater looked pretty fancy and old style-ish. The seating was great, and the balcony, while I’m not really a huge fan of balconies in general, was pretty decent.

For Cleveland I like Playhouse Square, but the year at the Agore the staff moved the kids and from the back to the VIP section. Pretty sure they felt bad for the dad with two girls under 7 on his lap.