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60 years of SSE Arena, Wembley celebrated in pictures

Heroes – the Exhibition, a photographic exploration of the sixty-year history of the SSE Arena, Wembley, is opening to the public on Thursday 28 November at Getty Images Gallery, Wembley Park.

The exhibition will feature over 100 photographs of artists at the London music venue, which celebrated its busiest year yet in 2018.

From 1960s snaps of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to more recent images of Kendrick Lamar, Queens of the Stone Age and the Prodigy, the exhibition will cover the arena’s rich musical history. Other artists to feature in the collection include David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Whitney Houston, Queen, Prince, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Rihanna.

Words by the arena’s vice president and general manager John Drury accompany the photos, which are taken by renowned music photographer Michael Putland and former and current Getty photographers Dave Hogan and Brian Risac, among others.

“Over the past 60 years The SSE Arena, Wembley has earned its place as one of the most iconic live music venues in the world,” comments Drury. “There is a chemistry that keeps bringing artists and fans back, that feeling of connection, passion, and shared experience.

“Heroes brilliantly captures the magic on stage and in the audience that could happen nowhere else”

“Playing Wembley for the first time is a special milestone in any artist’s career and each show builds on its legendary status. That is what Heroes brilliantly captures, the magic on stage and in the audience that could happen nowhere else.”

Built in 1934, the arena in Wembley – originally known as the Empire Pool – has been a live music venue for over six decades. Following a £26 million refurbishment, the arena reopened in 2006, taking the name of the SSE Arena, Wembley in 2014.

“Wembley Park has always been about people coming together to share experiences, and The SSE Arena, Wembley is central to this,” says Josh McNorton, cultural director of Wembley Park.

“Over the past 60 years, it has played an enormous part in the cultural history of the area and in global music history, and Heroes is a great way to celebrate this through the performances of some of the world’s most famous performers.”

The exhibition is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Getty Images Gallery, Wembley Park. Admission is free for the first three days. All photographs are available for purchase, priced from £70 to £648.

 


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John Langford promoted to AEG Europe COO

AEG Europe has made three internal promotions, including the appointment of the O2 general manager John Langford as chief operating officer.

Paul Reeve, currently finance director of the O2 and SSE Arena, Wembley, becomes chief financial officer, while Emma Bownes, the O2’s programming director, is elevated to the newly created position of vice-president of programming across AEG’s European venues.

The appointments follow the recently announced promotion of Alex Hill to president of AEG Europe, following the retirement of long-serving president and CEO Tom Miserendino.

Langford, who joined AEG from Scotland’s SECC in November 2016, comments: “We’ve got amazing venues and superb people across the AEG global family, and I’m really proud that I can continue to play a key part in delivering on our vision to give the world a reason to cheer.”

“I’m looking forward to working closely with John, Paul and Emma in continuing our vision of excellence across our portfolio of European venues”

Bownes has worked for AEG for eight years, developing and curating content for London’s two largest arenas. She programmed the O2’s recent tenth-birthday shows, which included performances from Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, alt-J, Jamiroquai and more.

“It’s an honour to be recognised in this way by AEG, and I’m looking forward to focusing on programming across all of our venues in Europe,” she says. “With the way European touring is developing this is a brilliant opportunity for us to be joining forces and making planning simpler for our promoters.”

In addition to the O2 and Wembley Arena, AEG’s European venue portfolio includes Hamburg’s Barclaycard Arena, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and the newly opened Verti Music Hall, Stockholm Live and AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

Commenting on the appointments, Alex Hill adds: “I’m looking forward to working closely with John, Paul and Emma in continuing our vision of excellence across our portfolio of European venues and other live entertainment and sports properties”.

 


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Slayer, Jackson and Copping awarded for final Wembley Arena show

US thrash-metal legends Slayer, along with their management, agent and promoter, were presented with award frames by the SSE Arena Wembley following their last-ever show at the 12,500-cap. London venue.

The awards were handed out by arena GM John Drury and booking manager James Harrison following the sold-out 3 November concert, part of the band’s Farewell world tour. After support from Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb of God, the show kicked off with ‘Repentless’, accompanied by 10ft columns of fire erupting from the stage, and came to a close nearly an hour and a half later with an encore comprising ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’.

Pictured after the show, left to right, are Tom Araya and Ernie Gonzalez (Slayer); John Jackson (K2 Agency); Kristen Mulderig (manager); Kerry King (Slayer); Rick Sales (manager); Gary Holt (Slayer); John Drury; Andy Copping (Live Nation); Jane Miller (K2 Agency); James Harrison; and Paul Bostaph (Slayer).

 


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Hollywood Vampires presented with plaque for Wembley show

Rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires – comprising rock legends Joe Perry and Alice Cooper and actor Johnny Depp – have been presented with an award plaque to mark their first ever headline show at the SSE Arena Wembley on 20 June.

The gig in question saw the band make their way through their collective works as well as a catalogue of classic rock covers, all gratefully received by a rapturous audience. On top of this, fans also got to see The Darkness and The Damned supporting the main act.

Whilst last week’s gig was the first time Hollywood Vampires have performed at Wembley, the same can’t be said for Cooper himself. With this latest gig, Cooper has played the venue a total of thirteen times and is the only artist to have played the venue every decade since the 1970s.

Last week’s gig was the first time Hollywood Vampires have performed at Wembley

The awards, presented by SSE Arena Wembley’s vice president and general manager John Drury and operations director Sharon Smith, also celebrated those who worked behind the scenes of the headline gig. Hollywood Vampires management team members Shep Gordon, Paul Geary and Steve Wood, as well as Steve Homer of AEG Presents and Neil Warnock of UTA, were also all presented with the commemorative plaques.

The history of the Hollywood Vampires is even more star-studded than its current line-up. Looking back to the 1970s, the original Hollywood Vampires were patrons of the Rainbow Bar & Grill on LA’s Sunset Strip. They included the likes of Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and just about any other rock star who found themselves passing through at the time.

In 2015, Cooper and his long-time friend Depp decided to reignite the spirit of the Vampires. Since then, the band has played gigs and festivals and has worked with stars including Sir Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl in the recording studio.

 


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Awards all round for Arcade Fire SSE Arena shows

Arcade Fire have been presented with award frames by the SSE Arena, Wembley, after last week’s sold-out three-date run at the London venue.

The Canadian act played three nights in the round at the 12,500-cap. arena on 11, 12 and 13 April, for which they were gifted plaques by SSE Arena Wembley vice-president/GM John Drury and bookings manager James Harrison.

Over the course of the three-night run, part of their Infinite Content tour, the band were also joined by special guests on stage for surprise performances: Chrissie Hynde on the first night, Jarvis Cocker on night two and Florence Welch and Boy George on night three. Boy George’s band, Culture Club, will play a headline show at the AEG-operated arena on 14 November.

Also receiving awards were the band’s managers, Izvor Zivkovic and Dounia Mikou, agent Emma Banks (CAA) and promoter Toby Leighton-Pope (AEG Presents).

 


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LiveStyled lands major AEG Europe partnership

LiveStyled, a London-based white-label app platform for venues, artists, sports teams and retailers, is to develop venue apps for five of AEG’s European arenas.

The company will roll out venue-branded mobile apps for The O2 and The SSE Arena, Wembley, in London; Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin; Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg; and Tele2 Stockholm, along with the Eisbären Berlin ice-hockey team over the course of the year, with The O2 the first to move over to the new platform.

“Venue mobile apps are a key part of AEG’s strategy to embrace digital technology to enhance the customer experience,” comments David Jones, vice-president of IT for AEG Europe. “With an embedded ticket, our apps will make it easier to get into the venue, detailed maps will help our customers to find their way around and, once at their seat, they can use the app to purchase food, drinks and merchandise.

“In addition, the apps will help us to learn more about our customers, so that we can better tailor our offer and communications to them.

“We look forward to driving a mobile-led transformation in the entertainment industry”

“We are very excited to be partnering with LiveStyled to deliver this vision. Out of all the providers we evaluated from around the world, they were the clear favourite on the strength of the mobile technology platform they have built and its ability to personalise content to individual users.”

Adam Goodyer, CEO of LiveStyled, adds: “We are thrilled to have been selected by AEG Europe to deliver this project. They are an organisation which truly understands the potential that mobile has to enhance the experience for customers, as well as the importance of placing customer data at the heart of business strategy.

“By combining our expertise in leveraging mobile data and analytics to improve business performance with AEG Europe’s vision of the fan experience, we look forward to driving a mobile-led transformation in the entertainment industry.”

 


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Brian Cox breaks record at SSE Arena Wembley show

British physicist Brian Cox OBE set a new Guinness World Record for most tickets sold for a science show with his performance at The SSE Arena, Wembley, last Friday (26 May).

Cox was presented with an award frame by the arena’s operations manager, Audrey Kane, after the show, which had an attendance of 8,787.

Cox comments: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has come to see these arena shows. We’ve shared evenings chatting about the size and scale of the universe, our place amongst the limitless stars and, crucially, the value of human life on our small planet.

“8,787 people at Wembley Arena? Who does Brian Cox think he is: Ed Sheeran?”

“The size of the venues has allowed us to display the most beautiful images of the cosmos taken by Cassini, the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory on a spectacular scale, and I am honoured to have had the opportunity to showcase the work of hundreds of astronomers across the world to so many people.”

Guinness World Records’ editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday, adds: “8,787 people at Wembley Arena? Who does Brian Cox think he is: Ed Sheeran? Another fantastic achievement from the now-multiple record holder” – Cox also holds the record for most tickets sold for a science tour – “the galaxy is the limit for the professor.”

During the Wembley show, the arena joined music venues across Europe to hold a minute’s silence – followed by a minute of noise – for victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

 


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Uber strikes transport partnership deal with AEG

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, has become the official rideshare and transportation partner for 27 AEG venues, festivals and other assets.

The multi-year agreement, announced today, includes, among others, London’s The O2 and SSE Arena Wembley; Staples Center and LA Live in Los Angeles; StubHub Center in Carson, California;  Mo Pop Festival in Detroit; Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle; Brooklyn Steel in New York; the Verizon Theater in Dallas; Frisco, Texas, country music festival Off the Rails; ticket agency AXS; ice-hockey team LA Kings and football team LA Galaxy.

The deal will give Uber customers easier access to AEG events with designated ‘Uber zones’, as well in-venue perks, “surprise elements” for Uber passengers and promotions via the Uber, AXS, LA Kings and LA Galaxy apps.

Uber branding will also be integrated into in-venue signage and AEG’s marketing and promotion, including several AEG Presents festival apps.

“The AEG portfolio of globally recognised assets is unmatched,” comments Nick Baker, senior vice-president of AEG Global Partnerships. “Having a chance to build this multi-entity partnership across major world markets can only be shared by equally powerful organisations that share a vision to enhance experiences through technology and live events.

“With the help of Uber’s global platform and innovative technology, our fans will experience a new level of convenience, safety and ease”

“With the help of Uber’s global platform and innovative technology, our fans will experience a new level of convenience, safety and ease as we continue to raise the bar and deliver top-notch experiences around the world.”

Amy Friedlander Hoffman, head of experiential marketing at Uber, adds: “Uber already plays a big part in a fan’s game day, concert or event experience by getting you there safely and on time. This partnership with select AEG venues takes that experience to a whole different level. Now, fans will have access to new perks, designated pick-up and drop-off spots and exclusive promotions, creating the best event experiences for all fans.”

Transportation network company (TNC) Uber, which connects passengers with privately hired cars – usually owned by the drivers – was last year hailed by Vector Arena’s Judith Clumpas as a “service game-changer” that has “left the concert experience standing”.

While the company is financially successful, with revenues topping US$10.8 billion in 2015, it has been criticised for its allegedly poor company culture, shortcomings in driver background checks and ‘predatory’ pricing that undercuts traditional taxi drivers.

 


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Amazon strengthens AEG ties with O2, BST deals

Amazon Tickets has deepened its relationship with AEG, today announcing a string of new initiatives at AEG UK-operated venues and festivals.

Amazon Tickets branding is to appear at The O2, The SSE Arena, Wembley, and British Summer Time Hyde Park as part of an expansion of Amazon’s Prime subscription service, which will see members given access to exclusive presales, lounges and premium seating.

British Prime subscribers – who, for £79 annually, get faster delivery and membership of the Prime Music and Video streaming services – will be eligible to purchase tickets that include access to ‘Amazon lounges’ at The O2 and Wembley Arena, ‘Amazon Deck’ premium seats at The O2 and the ‘Amazon Prime terrace’ at BST Hyde Park.

A full list of events with premium seating is available at tickets.amazon.co.uk/prime.

A source tells IQ Amazon is also in the process of moving its ticket inventory from Ingresso to Outbox – the technology behind AEG’s AXS ticket agency – although a spokeswoman declined to “discuss our arrangements with our partners”.

“Enhanced live entertainment experiences are a fantastic addition to Amazon Prime in the UK”

In addition to its presence at AEG venues, Amazon Tickets is, as of Thursday, introducing 24-hour presales for Prime customers to shows across the UK, including tours by Sparks, ABC, The Darkness and Art Garfunkel.

“Enhanced live entertainment experiences are a fantastic addition to Amazon Prime in the UK, which already offers members great value with fast delivery, streaming of movies, TV and music and lots more,” says Amazon Tickets GM Geraldine Wilson.

“We’re always looking to add to Amazon Prime, and today we’re delighted to give our members exclusive access to tickets to our new Amazon lounges, premium seating and presales for live music and entertainment experiences across the UK. [From] Justin Bieber to The Killers, Emeli Sandé and Little Mix, Prime members will now be able to get access to the best seats in the house and our presales, and this is just the start – we’ll be adding new shows every week.”

Although currently only available in the UK, Amazon Tickets is known to be recruiting staff ahead of a rumoured launch stateside. Wilson spoke at ILMC 29 on the platform’s fan-friendly ethos, outlining its commitment to “fair”, all-inclusive prices and – significantly – ruling out any move into the secondary market.

 


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