PHOTOS BY // MIKE BARRETT
You could almost feel it coming alive again. It was like with every person walking through the door that night, life was being breathed back into a once quiet and forgotten landmark. The Capitol Theatre was back and it was stronger than ever. April 19 became a milestone for the newly renovated Capitol Theatre in downtown Flint. After years of tireless effort and investment, the theater was ready to do what it for so long did best…entertain. It was clear from the beginning there was no better choice to celebrate the resurrection of amazing events at the theater than Flint’s own Mark Farner. Back in February the announcement was made that Farner (founder of the iconic Grand Funk Railroad) would join The Guess Who to kick off the beginning of a long run of concerts at the Capitol. Farner said during his announcement interview, “I’m coming home. Classic rock is back in Flint.” Farner noted he has always felt a love for his hometown. It was the place he knew he wanted to celebrate 50 years of rock. He played to a sold-out show alongside his American Band and had fans literally dancing in the aisles. The Guess Who brought down the house as well, making the big night one huge success.
Concertgoers left the show commenting on the beauty of the venue and the incredible experience the night offered. Many were heard not only discussing the night itself, but also reminiscing about their memories of the past and the bands they had seen at the Capitol Theatre. That night had downtown bustling and busy with concertgoers enjoying restaurants and watering holes the entire night. The city was truly alive.
That’s exactly what Chris Wise is hoping will continue. As vice president of Randy Wise Automotive and board member of the Flint Cultural Center, he is heavily involved in the Capitol Theatre and its new role in downtown. Wise comments his mission is fueled by his and his family’s love of Flint: “We see Detroit making a comeback and we know Flint can do it and we’re going to get it done.”
His passion for the project is apparent by the smile he has when seeing the crowds enjoy their Capitol experience. With his goal to bring the best shows to the venue, Wise and his team have already begun putting together an incredible lineup with shows from artists such as O.A.R., American Authors, and Johnny Lang and collaborative tours such as the Pop 2000 Tour that features former *NSYNC member Lance Bass along with Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter and O-Town. Wise adds that there is much more coming with something for everyone, including comedy.
Revitalizing a city falls under that cliché “It takes a village.” Flint has been blessed with individuals who believe in investing in a city many choose to cast aside. Bringing fantastic entertainment back to downtown Flint and the Capitol Theatre is a milestone in resurrecting a city that has the potential to be once again the “it” place for nightlife. Restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, theater and music are the makings of a fabulous city to live, work and play. The village is growing and the city is alive again.