But Thursday night, the venerable institution played host to a flood of youth more commonly found at Bowery Ballroom. The occasion was a rare acoustic concert by alt-country group Band of Horses. For many in the audience, it was their first visit to the concert hall, and they stood gazing and snapping photos of the four stories of gilt-edged balconies.
"The place we played in last night looked just like this, I swear," drawled lead singer Ben Bridwell.
Instead of tuxedoes, the performers, who live in South Carolina and look the part, paced the mostly bare stage in hillbilly-style worn jeans, plaid shirts, and even a cowboy hat. Not to mention their scraggly beards.
Nor were there demure "Brava's" from the crowd, who preferred to whistle, whoop and even stamp their feet after each song to show their appreciation.
But the band had taken special care with their music, re-arranging many of their tunes for the show and clearly reveling in the acoustics of the massive hall. "It's wonderful to play in a place like this," said Bridwell.
It didn't stop some fights from breaking out in the audience--though the combatants were unexpected. When a pair of banker types threatened to make obnoxious comments through the entire set, a bald-headed man with a panther tattooed on his neck shushed them. "Be quiet," he warned. "I should strangle you two."
Maybe Carnegie Hall should consider getting him on the payroll for future pesky patrons?