Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - More than 15 years after one of Washington's most storied nightclubs shut its doors, three Maryland alumni are primed to give The Bayou an encore performance.
Dave Lilling '78, Vinnie Perrone '80 and Bill Scanlan '80 interviewed dozens of musicians, former employees and patrons; culled video and photos from live performances; and gave freely of their time and money to produce a documentary on the eclectic Georgetown venue that saw the likes of Billy Joel, Foreigner, Kiss and Bruce Springsteen grace its stage.
"It was just a really cool place, there was no other club like it," says Scanlan, who frequented the club as a Maryland undergraduate and is now a producer and on-air commentator for CSPAN. "It was huge, cavernous, raucous—and a really great place to hear music."
The 90-minute documentary covers the colorful history of The Bayou from its beginnings in 1953 as a Dixieland swing joint, to the heyday of rock 'n' roll in the nation's capital in the late '60s and '70s, to the final gig on New Year's Eve 1998.
The building was razed six months later and a movie theater and other commercial buildings now stand in its place.
The film includes rare footage of the last performance by Eva Cassidy, the soulful Maryland singer who died of cancer at age 33, six weeks after performing her signature song, "What a Wonderful World," on The Bayou's stage.
Other notable local musicians featured in the film include guitarist Nils Lofgren, the late go-go musician Chuck Brown and blues master Mark Wenner from The Nighthawks.
"I think people will be surprised when they see this film," says Richard Harrington, who retired in 2008 after 28 years as The Washington Post's national music critic. His memories of the nightclub go back to the late 1960s, when antiwar protests were in full swing and the counterculture and the establishment squared off all across Washington.
"[The Bayou] was one of the few places in D.C. where the hippies and Marines got along," he says. "That should tell you something about the vibe of the place."