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Toad’s Place and the Shaboo Inn had a magic in the ’70s and ’80s that may never happen again

Toad's Place
Brian Phelps
Brian Phelps
Muddy Waters and friends at Toad's Place in New Haven

Toad’s Place and The Shaboo Inn were part of a magical era for music in Connecticut in the 1970s and ’80s. It was a time when small music venues had a symbiotic relationship with fans and could lure thousands of rock, blues, and hip-hop superstars like Bruce Springsteen, Muddy Waters, and Cardi B to their stages.

Local arts papers, FM radio, two huge coliseums, a less fragmented music industry, and plenty of college students from places like Yale and UConn who wanted cheap drinks and great music, provided a pipeline for local and national artists who wanted the intimacy of a smaller venue.

This hour, the past and future of Toad’s and the Shaboo.


  • Randall Beach - A columnist for Connecticut magazine and a former reporter, columnist, and rock music critic for the New Haven Register; he’s the co-author of The Legendary Toad’s Place: Stories from New Haven’s Famed Music Venue
  • Brian Phelps - Owner of Toad’s Place and the co-author of The Legendary Toad’s Place: Stories from New Haven’s Famed Music Venue
  • David Foster - Former co-owner of the Shaboo Inn, founder of the Shaboo and Mohegan Sun All-Stars, and current owner of Shaboo Productions

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Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show. 

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Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.
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