By Earl Heath, Contributing Writer
The line from the front door of Amoeba Music near Hollywood and Vine stretched for blocks. In the line were music fanatics, collectors and people were happy to be out of the house since the pandemic began a year ago. They all were visiting an historic venue for the Grand re-opening.
No one could beat Cassidy Pinedo. The 21-year-old and her aunt Priscilla came from Corona, California and were first in line to enter the treasured store. The music and memorabilia lovers had claimed their spot about 9 P.M. the previous night some twelve hours ago and they still had two hours to before the doors opened at 11:00 AM.
“We expected there to be a line,” said Pinedo. “But we were surprised that we were first when we got here. We expected someone would be here before us since there was so much excitement on social media since the place was closed for a year.”
This is THEE Premier Music store in the country this location opened its doors in 2001 at Sunset and Cuhuenga.
However its two sister stores were founded in Berkley, California (1990) on Telegraph Ave and in San Francisco Haight -Asbury in 1997.
While on Sunset Amoeba sold the property to the holding company and continued to lease the space. Then in 2018 the owners announced they had plans to demolish the properties and replace it with residential units. In April of 2020 due to COVID-19 Amoeba let everyone know they were closing early and relocating to the Hollywood Blvd. That led to this Grand Re-opening.
The Store has more than 200,000 named items that includes LP’s. CD’s, DVD’s and Blue-Rays. There’s also a Mezzanine especially for books, magazines and posters.
You can find vinyl from the Temptations, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Mylie to Grammy winner The New Normal by The Stokes- Even a Billie Eilish LP. Patrons can buy, sell or trade depending on what their fancy is.
“You never leave the place empty handed, “said Jason Smith. “The sheer volume of stuff inside is incredible.”
Smith was near number thirty in line he and had one of the best strategic moves to get that close. The visitor from Las Vegas checked in at the W Hotel directly across from the new structure. His room faced those lining up for the
for the re-opening. Periodically during the night he’d look out his window and check the number of people in line. About 5:30 AM he and his friend Taylor made the move. They established a “sweet spot” in a line that would later grow more than five blocks long. By 1:00 PM on opening day Amoeba sent out a tweet letting everyone know it would be a several hours wait to enter the store.
Smith is a die-hard loyalist, who has gravitated to Amoeba years ago . “When I come with my wife we spend about three hours in the store. When I come by myself I spend five or six hours, I’m on my knees going through the lower bens where people may not take the time.”
Those standing in line were treated by some the awesome Jazz sounds of Saxophonist Brandon Williams and Sean Kellz playing the Pocket trumphet. The two bellowed out tunes that heightened the crowds enthusiasm and anticipation.
“We’ve actually been ready to go for about three months,” Marc Weinstein co-owner told Variety magazine. “Technically we were ready to open before Christmas but it was impossible with the COVID-19 numbers being the way they were. But with the recent significant decline we felt we could do it (open) safely.”
Throughout the past year the entire country has been through a COVID Change. Many of us have missed the joy of communicating in person with our fellow man and women. Our lives have been filled with ZOOM and face time. Our children our different, our parents and friends are different. We are all looking for “the way things were. Thanks to Amoeba Music it’s a giant step to help mankind.
Weinstein summed up the opening perfectly: “This is a subtlety that people have been missing so much. Its really insane how much it means to people. I can’t believe how many people are saying that this is a sign that the world is opening back up.”