Red Onion – two days and counting

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The Red Onion farewell party is shaping up to be a wild night, featuring the music of five different garage bands that have performed at Aspen’s oldest bar through the years.The fabled bar on the Cooper Avenue mall, which boasts Aspen’s longest history of continuous operations in the same location, will close the day after the party.Some time after 2 am. April 1 the current management, Dave “Wabs” Walbert and his wife, Ellen “Iggy” Walbert, will close their doors the last time and turn the building over to its new owners, Ron Garfield and Andy Hecht of the Aspen law firm Garfield & Hecht PC.The partners have said they plan to renovate the 115-year old structure and reopen it next winter under the same name, but with an additional dining area in the adjacent building to the east, where the Omnibus Gallery is now.On Saturday, according to Wabs, the party will get going when the doors open, at noon instead of the usual luncheon hour of 11:30 a.m.Live music is set to commence at 3 p.m., coming from what party planner Jesse Graber described as five bands that have been playing at the Onion for years.Graber, who said Wabs is “one of my oldest and bestest friends,” said of the lineup: “Wabs wanted to have some of the bands that would show up and play for free, for benefits or just for fun, over the past 23 years.”The lineup, he said, includes:• Rick Rock, with a lineup of musicians that has yet to be announced;• Paver, a pickup band with Brad Mansoweitz, Jason Upper, Curtis Sparrow and Barry Gareb;• The Kevin Connor Band, featuring Jeff Paglioni, Don Spence and Jess Graber;• Ira and the Bombers, the band that has performed for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the Onion and also played at the closing parties for two other local institutions, Sardy’s Hardware and Palazzi’s service station. The band features Jeff Elston, Steve Ferry, Jerry Peetz, Mike Moran, Dale Coon and Jess Graber;• The Crossroad Jam Band, lead by Mike Moran and with a lineup yet to be announced.Graber said party goers can expect “a lot of really old-time rock ‘n’ roll.”Wabs said the bar will stay open until 2 a.m., adding that he has taken on five doormen to keep control of the entrance and prevent the bar from becoming overcrowded.He predicted there will be lines of waiting revelers starting fairly early in the day because fire codes prevent more than a certain number from being in the bar at once, adding, “and since I’m a fireman, I can’t be going against my brothers on the law.”John Colson’s e-mail is


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