Personally speaking, when I think of the Roseland Ballroom on West 52nd Street, it usually comes with a weary sigh. It's never been my favorite venue.
Oh sure, I've seen tons of significant shows there (or at least shows that I would consider significant). I saw Fugazi, The Cult, Cocteau Twins, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Blur, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and ... er ... even Motley Crue on that stage. I withstood the sensory-engulfing return of My Bloody Valentine, the frankly underwhelming Porno For Pyros (with a nascent Flaming Lips opening), and even AC/DC after their induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I saw a Kerplunk-era Green Day warm up for Bad Religion. I watched my beloved Cop Shoot Cop grimace and grind as they opened for EMF and Carter USM. I rolled my eyes in abject ennui as the Inspiral Carpets noodled away on their organs.
But, here's the thing, virtually every one of those gigs was marred by the crappy layout of the venue, usually manifesting itself as a ludicrously crowded, unwieldy glut of sweaty elbows and poor sight lines. I realize the Roseland Ballroom has an august place in the city's pantheon of rooms for live music, but I'm sorry, I just think it just kinda sucks, or for my purposes, anyway.
It's easy to forget, however, that long before the ballroom played host to hordes of petulant youths with wallet-chains, tattoos and hairstyles courtesy of disreputable barbers, it was a proper venue for elegant ballroom dancing.
I've linked to her page before, but check out artist/photographer Elaine Norman's loving tribute to Roseland Ballroom, replete with lovely photographs like the one beneath, which serve as quite a contrast to the Roseland I'm more familiar with (as depicted in the picture above of the Descendents rocking a capactiy crowd, courtesy of TheHundreds).