A Trip To “Aura”, Portland’s Newest Club And Concert Venue
I was a bit apprehensive about making the trip to Portland to see Todd Rundgren at Portland's newest club last Thursday. Aura recently opened in the former Asylum. I had been to the Asylum many times to see shows, and always came away dissatisfied, as unless you were up close to the stage, it was next to impossible to see whoever was performing.
After a night at "Aura" all I can say is "WOW." What a venue!
I had read a lot of the reviews on the Aura Facebook page, and many did not paint a pretty picture. Comments like "too packed", "rude bartenders and security" and "no air conditioning" had myself and the crew that went to the show with me wondering what it would be like inside. Last Thursday was in the low to mid 90's, so the air conditioning thing was a real concern.
I can assure you that the room was air conditioned and very comfortable when we walked in shortly after 8 PM. The staff that we dealt with were beyond friendly and accommodating, and the room was not over sold making for a very comfortable experience.
And the acoustics? Outstanding! I have been a huge Todd Rundgren fan since my high school days, and he nailed his 100 minute set. We had balcony standing room only and there was plenty of room to move around, find a spot on the leaning rails and enjoy the show. The sound was very good upstairs, and all the people I talked to who had floor seats say it was phenomenal.
Aura is located right on Center Street in the heart of downtown Portland with plenty of parking and numerous great places to grab a bite and/or a drink before the show. We hit up Shay's Pub Grill, which is great spot with an outside patio to hang out on a warm late spring early evening, and less then a five minute walk to Aura
Aura has booked some incredible acts as we move forward into the Summer season and they seem intent on catering to all music genres. Some of the acts booked include country acts "Frankie Ballard" and "Phil Vassar", classic rock legends "Ratt" along with "Ted Nugent, "Eddie Money" and a show I have my eye on, the incredible "Tower of Power"
You can see the complete list of acts coming to Aura and get ticket info on their website.
If you are thinking about checking out this brand new venue, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Not a bad seat in the house; even if you are upstairs in the balcony.
As for Todd Rundgren?
He had a very tight band with him, along with two great backup singers who seemed to have endless energy. At almost 70, Rundgren's vocals are still strong; along with his guitar playing. He was a true professional and left the crowd wanting more. You can see his encore of "Hello It's Me", one of the only older songs he did all night, below.