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MSG Ent announces first-ever virtual residency

MSG Entertainment has announced its very first virtual residency with Phish frontman Trey Anastasio at New York City’s historic venue, The Beacon Theatre.

The eight-week residency, The Beacon Jams, will be livestreamed exclusively through video live streaming service Twitch every Friday from 9 October to 27 November.

The Beacon Jams performances will have no live audience and will feature acoustic and electric performances as well as home audience interaction.

All proceeds from The Beacon Jams donations will benefit Phish’s long-running non-profit, the WaterWheel Foundation, and its new Divided Sky Fund (DSF).

The proceeds will be used to deliver help to those affected by addiction and help further plans to open a treatment centre in Vermont.

“As we navigate the live music scene through this socially distant world, we couldn’t think of a more natural way to bring live music to so many fans for such a great cause,” says Darren Pfeffer, executive vice president, MSG Entertainment.

“Trey’s connection not only with the Beacon Theatre, but with all our venues over the years, including Madison Square Garden, The Chicago Theatre, and Radio City Music Hall, have made this unique concept a perfect partnership.”

“Fans of Trey and Phish will be able to attend from anywhere in the world, feeling like they are in the front row of the Beacon”

Will Farrell-Green, head of music content at Twitch says: “We could not be more excited to be part of this amazing partnership with Trey Anastasio and MSG Entertainment to help raise donations for such worthy causes.

“Twitch offers the same intimate experience that artists and their audiences have come to expect from live shows. Over the course of this virtual residency, fans of Trey and Phish will be able to attend performances from anywhere in the world, while feeling like they are right in the front row of the Beacon.”

“I’ve been sober for 13 years,” Anastasio says, “It’s a great blessing in my life. We started talking about the idea of a treatment centre about a year ago.

“I was worried that the project would get derailed because of the pandemic but it didn’t – it actually picked up steam; things are really rolling along now. The Beacon Jams emerged as a way to raise money for it while also allowing me to play for the fans again.”

This is Anastasio’s second residency with MSG Entertainment in recent years after Phish completed a residency at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2017 – a 13-night run known as The Baker’s Dozen.

Alongside Madison Square Garden and The Beacon Theatre, MSG Entertainment’s venues include Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden; Radio City Music Hall and The Chicago Theatre.

The company is also building a new state-of-the-art venue in Las Vegas, MSG Sphere at The Venetian, and has announced plans to build a second MSG Sphere in London, pending necessary approvals.

 


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NHS takes award for ‘longest O2 Arena residency’

After turning the London venue into a training facility for 44 days, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been declared the longest residency to date at the O2 Arena.

The record – previously held by the likes of Prince, Take That and comedian Michael McIntyre – is commemorated by a piece of artwork, by illustrator Madeleine Floyd, signed by NHS educational staff stationed at the venue during its time as a ‘Nightingale’ hospital training centre.

The framed artwork is displayed backstage alongside signed photos of the artists, comedians and sports stars who have played the AEG-operated venue, which remains the most-visited in the world.

“It has been a privilege for AEG … to have been able to play our part during these challenging times”

Danielle Kennedy-Clark, the O2’s deputy general manager, says: “We’ve hosted some real heroes during these past few weeks and it has been a privilege for AEG, along with our partner O2, to have been able to play our part during these challenging times. This has been our most important residency to date, and we’re grateful to the team for this special piece of artwork to remind us of such a poignant time.”

The NHS team have now left the O2, as the coronavirus crisis eases in the UK, though all 120 are invited back to climb the Up at the O2 attraction when it reopens in July. The O2 staff recently raised £8,000 in memory of Up at the O2 climb guide Mark Griffiths, who died from Covid-19.

 


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Gaga’s Vegas residency is the Strip’s hottest ticket

It might not have started yet, but Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency, Enigma, is already the hottest ticket in Sin City.

Enigma, the star’s first-ever concert residency, kicks off on 28 December 2018 at the 5,200-capacity Park Theatre, at the Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. Announced in August, it is produced and promoted by Live Nation and comprises two distinct shows: Lady Gaga Enigma, showcasing Gaga’s pop hits, and Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, featuring stripped-back versions of her songs and music from the Great American Songbook.

The show will run for a minimum of two years, with 28 dates announced so far.

Gaga is pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears

According to Ticket Club data, the show is dominating its competition, with sale grosses outstripping Celine Dion’s eight-year residency, which closes in June 2019, and Britney Spears’s Domination show, with Gaga “pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears”, according to the US resale site.

While Lady Gaga is currently riding high on the success of the film A Star is Born – for which she is tipped for an Oscar nomination alongside co-star Bradley Cooper – the show’s sales success is skewed by its high ticket price, with tickets for the 28–31 December shows selling for an average of US$535 on the secondary market, compared to around $330 for Spears, $277 for Dion.

Tickets for Gwen Stefani’s residency at Planet Hollywood, meanwhile, are selling for $248 apiece, with Mariah Carey’s the Butterfly Returns show pulling in $160 per ticket.

 


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Lady Gaga announces “spectacular” Vegas residency

Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency will kick off on 28 December, promoter/producer Live Nation announced today, and comprise two distinct shows showcasing the star’s pop and jazz output.

Lady Gaga Enigma, which runs from 28 to 31 December 2018 and then intermittently from 17 January to 8 November 2019, is a “brand-new odyssey of her pop hits built as an experience unlike any other”, while Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, taking place on 20 January, 3 February and 2 and 9 June 2019, will feature “stripped-down versions of her hits, as well as music from the Great American Songbook”,  made famous by her 2014–15 collaboration with Tony Bennett.

All shows will take place at the 5,200-seat Park MGM, operated by MGM Resorts International.

“What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular”

Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, says: “Working with Lady Gaga and her team has been a career highlight for me. What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular. Welcoming her into our family will firmly position Park MGM as the city’s most exciting new destination.”

“I can’t wait to share Enigma with all of my fans and with Las Vegas,” adds Lady Gaga. “We’re creating a show unlike anything I’ve done before. It will be a celebration of all that is unique and different within us. The challenges of bravery can be overcome with creativity and courage that is grown out of adversity, love and music.”

GA tickets are priced at US$77.90, with VIP options, including meet-and-greets, also available.

Live Nation has produced and promoted all Gaga’s tours since 2009–2011’s the Monster Ball tour, including, most recently, the Joanne world tour.

 


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Billy Joel MSG residency to hit 1m tickets sold

Billy Joel’s long-running Madison Square Garden residency has added a 55th show, set to bring the total number of tickets sold to more than a million over the course of the four-year run.

The latest concert, on 23 August 2018, is the latest in a residency that began in January 2014 and has seen the Piano Man play a show at the 20,000-capacity Garden every month since.

The shows are promoted by Madison Square Garden Company in association with AEG Presents, with tickets for the 55th date on sale next Monday (5 February) at 15.00 GMT.

Joel’s Billy Joel in Concert tour, which includes his MSG shows, was the world’s 15th highest-grossing in 2017.

 


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CEOC set to emerge from bankruptcy

American venue giant Caesars, which operates 47 casinos in five countries, has been given the go-ahead for its main operating unit to emerge from bankruptcy after two years in administration.

Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. Inc. (CEOC) is expected to emerge from chapter-11 bankruptcy protection later this year – with US$10 billion shaved off its $18bn debt burden – following the approval of its reorganisation plan yesterday by the bankruptcy court of northern Illinois.

Under the plan – which still requires the approval of gambling regulators – CEOC will separate its gambling operations and US property assets, with parent company Caesars Entertainment continuing to own and manage the the former and a newly created ‘real estate investment trust’ (REIT), owned by certain creditors, taking over the latter.

“While there is still much work ahead to complete this process, we are excited about the future of the Caesars enterprise”

“The new Caesars will be a stronger company with a healthy balance sheet, a plan for growth and investment, operating discipline and a relentless focus on employee and customer satisfaction,” says group CEO and president Mark Frissora. “Upon CEOC’s emergence, we will be positioned to strengthen our financial and operational performance by pursuing new opportunities to invest in and expand our brands and business. While there is still much work ahead to complete this process, we are excited about the future of the Caesars enterprise.”

Many CEOC casinos also double as live entertainment venues, with its flagship venue, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, hosting residencies by Celine Dion, Elton John and Rod Stewart this spring.

 


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