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Book Giveaway: Live at the Commodore

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 — 1:44pm PDT
Comments 29

If I was Miss Sheilds from the beloved holiday film A Christmas Story I would legitimately give Aaron Chapman’s new book Live at the Commodore an “A Plus-Plus-Plus-Plus…!” It arrived by courier last week and I immediately sat down to read it.

I didn’t budge as the sun crossed through the sky and the hours passed. I pulled out my sticky notes and began marking off my favourite lines and references so I could bring them up later when gushing to John about the book. I would read a passage, close the book, and hold it to my chest — just like the fictional teacher who read Ralphie’s theme — then open it again to read more.

Live at the Commodore by Aaron Chapman

“Who’s playing tonight?”

What made the book so brilliant? I felt as though I was reading what could easily be turned into a moving and captivating Ken Burns documentary about Vancouver’s entertainment history.

Live at the Commodore starts out “Once Upon a Saturday Night”, telling the tale of Granville Street, then moves into a chronological history of how the Commodore Ballroom came to be, how it thrived, how it almost died, how its doors were shut and opened again as chapters of music history in Vancouver were written.

I went from imagining my Oma and Opa out dancing on a Saturday night (which they did in the 1950s) to looking at legendary rock photographer Bev Davies’ photos of D.O.A., some of the founders of hardcore punk. I learned about Drew Burns and the place where a who’s-who of music greats — like The Police, The Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads, Nirvana, New York Dolls, U2, Tom Waits, and the White Stripes — took the stage.

1930 – Commodore Ballroom. Archives# CVA 99-3855.

In Live at the Commodore, Aaron Chapman (author of Liquor, Lust, and the Law, a bestselling history of Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub) delves into the Commodore’s archives to reveal stories about the constellation of characters surrounding the club over the last 80-plus years, as well as startling, funny, and outrageous anecdotes about the legendary acts that have graced its stage. Filled with never-before-published photographs, posters, and paraphernalia, Live at the Commodore is a visceral, energetic portrait of one of the world’s great rock venues.

If you enjoy reading about Vancouver, history, music, and can appreciate some pretty rocking photography, pick up your copy of this untold story of Vancouver’s rock ‘n’ roll landmark for $28.95 online or look for it in your local book store.

Win a Copy of Live at the Commodore

I received my review copy of the book from the publisher Arsenal Pulp Press and I have another to give away to a lucky Miss604 reader to enjoy. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming the best concert you’ve ever seen in Vancouver (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a copy of #LiveAtTheCommodore by @TheAaronChapman from @ArsenalPulp + @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, December 22, 2014. Follow Arsenal Pulp on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their BC titles and follow author Aaron Chapman on Twitter.

Current contests on


  1. kay says:

    Lady gaga

  2. Mike Robertson says:

    Tragically Hip Road Apples at the Commodore 1st night of 5… Epic

  3. Richard says:

    Death From Above 1979. That reunion was a dream come true.

  4. Barb says:

    my first show, George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers many many years ago! Also took our kids when they were old enough, to George T – outstanding!

  5. David Bowie > Peter Gabriel > The Tubes BC Place Aug 1983

  6. Murray Atherton says:

    The BEST concert was JAMES BROWN and the Famous Flames!
    Would love the book… Used to be at the Commodore so often for 5th Day Club functions! LONG TIME AGO!!

  7. Steve v. says:

    There are too many to name and I also managed to play at the Commodore twice myself.
    If I had to choose, Fishbone,… the most insane gig anyways.

    I really, really, really want this book and expect if I don’t win it,.. someone will have put it under my tree,.. but I still want to win it and would gladly re-gift to a worthy Commodore fan!

  8. Stephanie says:

    The best concert was a house concert by a local artist.

  9. Kristina Girardi says:

    Watch the Throne – Jay Z and Kanye West – MIND BLOWN!

  10. maria says:

    The first Madonna concert

  11. Peter Conroy says:

    Jonsi @ Vogue

  12. Laura says:

    Hoodoo Gurus

  13. Judy Bishop says:

    Gotta say, even though he isn’t the hippest act in music, Lyle Lovett delivered a performance that was at once intimate AND epic, making me a fan for life of both him and the Commodore as a top-class venue. Love the place ..

    If Aaron Chapman has done as good a job with this book as he did with Liquor, Lust and The Law, then WOW, I must have this book !

  14. Rebecca says:

    Jack Johnson

  15. Steve O says:

    The best concert I ever saw was Bruce Springsteen in 1984 at the Pacific Coliseum. They played for 4 hours at a time when Performers truly appreciated their fans!

  16. Rob M says:

    The Cult did a free show there about 10 years ago. Well, not really free, it was by donation. You had to bring a non-perishable food item. It was packed, and they rocked it!

  17. Aman Johal says:

    Bruce Springsteen just this last year
    Radiohead and REM on back to back nights at Thunderbird Stadium

    and the one that takes the cake was Common at the Commodore a few years back when his “BE” album had just come out

  18. Peter jensen says:

    I went to more than a few of concerts at the commodore. I remember fondly going to a Spirit of the West concert.

  19. Lyndsey says:

    A favorite would be the Nine Inch Nails gig with Explosions in the Sky on their Tension Tour… and

    Radiohead would be another ultimate love. Once they hit the stage the sky just opened up and poured down upon the crowd as we were washed by waves of ethereal sound.

  20. Zoe says:

    Sigur ros!

  21. Michelle W says:

    The Trews

  22. Kidd Karrim says:

    It is so special that you are the one who wrote this memorable book. The Commodore is priceless in our cultural history. I think Taj Mahal was my favourite concert even though I don’t remember one bit of it. But what made it memorable for me is that it was my first date with Joe Mock and later that night I will never forget the heavenly blast of white light that came through me (seriously) as we conceived our daughter. She turned out to be so special, so talented, so amazing a gift of pure love.

  23. Jean Tejkel says:

    Return to Forever 2008 was awesome!

  24. Gary B says:

    James Brown at The Commodore.

  25. Donald says:

    George Michael Cover to Cover

  26. Kevin says:

    Radiohead at the Commodore

  27. Sandy says:

    So many great shows here – Bon Jovi

  28. Teresa says:


  29. Sanaz says:

    Matthew Good at the Media Club

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