The Banner
Boston Tea Party
City: Boston, MA
United States
Date Opened: Jan 20, 1967
Date Closed: 1971
Concert Capacity: ???
Address: 53 Berkeley Street Boston, Massachusetts
All Venues: View
Venue Notes

Built by the congregation of abolitionist and Unitarian preacher Theodore Parker, the four-story Second Empire structure on Appleton (Berkeley) Street opened as a meeting house in 1872.

By 1886, the building was being used for community social work after it was taken over by the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Churches. Above the original entry on Berkeley Street, a huge window depicts the Star of David, leading to erroneous assumptions the building was once a synagogue.

By the time the lease on the Berkeley Street building passed from Lyman's hands to recent Harvard Law School graduate Ray Riepen in late 1966, the building had become The Moon Dial, a venue for underground films, which then morphed into Filmmakers Cinematheque and attracted an audience and budding filmmakers from Boston University and M.I.T.

Not absolutely positive, but the date the Tea Party location on Berkeley St. may have closed could be June 28, 1969 when Chicago Transit Authority and Alice Cooper played there (as listed on the June 1969 Tea Party calendar).

The handbill for the 7/14 through 7/16/69 concerts featuring Procol Harum & Blodwyn Pig list the venue as 15 Lansdowne Street (behind the centerfield bleachers of Fenway Park), where the Tea Party had moved in July 1969. According to a Tea Party gig listing, Larry Coryell played the Tea Party on 7/12/69, the the only show played in-between the 6/28/69 & 7/14/69 shows. I have not seen a poster for this gig, so I am not sure where it was performed, but it was more than likely played at the 15 Lansdowne location.

From the street you went up some steps to the double front door, then went up two flights of wooden stairs to the level where the Tea Party was. There was no ground floor lobby. Inside, there was a high arch over the stage which was still emblazoned with the words "Praise Ye The Lord."

The accompanying light show covered the walls with the colorful and fluid shapes of immiscable colored oils between sheets of transparent materials on overhead projectors pulsating to the beat, along with film clips of trains rushing at you and for Zep the Hindenburg disaster. Some nights there would be light shows on three walls.

Upstairs they had a black light room where your white clothes would glow. The balcony had seats and offered a great view. At some point downstairs in front of the stage they added rows of theatre seats (old) because at this point we stopped dancing and listening became more important.

The building was converted into condominiums in 1982. The performance area was actually converted into two floors. There's also a 7-11 convenience store at the street level.

Notes: Boston Tea Party Entrance Sign