Austin City Limits, the legendary live music TV show, has taped in the same building as KUT for the past 36 years, on the sixth floor of Building B in the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center at the University of Texas.
That era ends tonight with the final taping of the show in Studio 6A. ACL will open in a brand new location in February on 2nd Street in downtown Austin.
The news of today's final taping in Studio 6A has been buzzing on Twitter this afternoon with #lastdayin6a among the top trending topics in Austin.
KUT's Texas Music Matters host David Brown caught up with Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona this afternoon and asked him a few questions.
David Brown: How do you feel about tonight's final taping?
Terry Lickona: You know it really hasn't hit me yet. Somebody asked me if I'd be crying by the end of the night. Who knows? But bittersweet is a word people have used a lot to describe the emotion of the day, and I guess that's pretty accurate. We have this deep history to reflect back upon, all of the years, hundreds and hundreds of shows, the magic that has gone down on that famous ACL stage in Studio 6A.
But we are just as excited, frankly even a little more so, about the future. We've always been future-looking about what we do here. We've had five years to design from scratch our new venue downtown. We're confident we got it right, and we're really thrilled about the prospect of moving into our new space when February comes.
That being said, having Lyle [Lovett] step on that stage for one last time after the many times he has appeared on the show, and getting back up there at the very end of the night after his final encore to say a final word of thanks, I image that's going to conjure up some emotions that I and we may not know are there at this moment in time. But we'll find out in a few hours.
Brown: I think it's very interesting that you would have Lyle here. He was in some respects one of ACL's first superfans wasn't he?
Lickona: Absolutely. Lyle has such a personal history with the show. He was coming here before he was Lyle Lovett the singer-songwriter. When he was really just a fledgling musician trying to get things rolling, he would come to some of the tapings, he and his friend Wayne Miller, who was a longtime friend as well.
I remember still to this day getting a cassette tape of some songs of Lyle that his friend Wayne handed to me. It wasn't long after that that Lyle was up on stage singing with Nancy Griffith on her show. And then a year or two later he was up there doing his own show. I think this is about his 12th appearance, which puts him ahead of Willie Nelson by one show.
I thought, like about a year ago when it first came up, 'Who are you going to have do the last show before you move?' In the back of my mind and in my heart, I knew it should be Lyle. I didn't say anything to anybody for a while because I know how these things go. It's one thing to wish that it would happen as opposed to making it happen, given logistics, scheduling and how the rest of this season would shape up.
But little by little, as the season progressed, it began to look more and more like this is the way it could play out. So my dream has come true to have Lyle end an era when he sets foot on that stage tonight.
Brown: One final thing, you say you're always looking forward and I think few would disagree with that. As you look forward, have you already decided who is going to be opening ACL at that new stage?
Lickona: Well they haven't made any official announcements, but let's put it this way. When ACL Live opens in February, there is no way we can celebrate the opening of our new show without Willie. He was here for the original show, the pilot back in 1974, and so he is going to be a part of the opening of our new venue. The details have yet to be worked out, but we know it's going to happen.