After 40 years of seeing some of the biggest names in music perform on its stage the Gibson Amphitheatre will be closing for good in September. Artist such a Megadeth, Weezer, Foo Fighters, NoDoubt, Oingo Boingo, The Cure, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac to just name a few. The venue also hosted Presidents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and in 1988 a special mass by Pope John Paul II was held at the venue when he visited Los Angeles.
When the venue first opened as Universal Amphitheatre in 1972. It was originally built as an outdoor venue, opening in the summer of 1972 with a production ofÂ Jesus Christ SuperstarÂ that was extended until cold weather forced the show to close. To the chagrin of many, was remodeled and converted into an indoor theatre in 1982 to improve acoustics.
One of its longest runnings event at the venue KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas and the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas show are just some of the longest events held at the famed venue. It was one of the few places in LA were the sound was alway in tip top shape and every seat was a good seat.
The venue has in recent years struggled to book bigger artist since the opening of the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live in 2007 and the increase of business with the Greek Theater in Griffith Park. Shows that have already been booked for after September will be moved to other venues in the city. Live Nation said in their statement that its Southern California office will be putting together a final farewell show as a fitting farewell to the legendary venue.
The Gibson Amphitheatre will be demolished so that the land can be used in the expansion of Universal Studios Hollwood Theme Park for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has been a huge success for its theme park Island’s of Adventure in Orlando Florida. A move the theme park had to make to compete with the Disney Resort that has seen a huge boost in tourism since it finished construction of Cars Land and the renovated Disney California Adventure. A statement was released today by Live Nation and can be read below:
RENOWNED LOS ANGELES VENUE WILL CLOSE ITS DOORS
FOR THE FINAL TIME IN SEPTEMBER 2013
VERY SPECIAL GRAND FINALE CONCERT LINEUP PLANNED
AS A CELEBRATION OF ITS ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY
(Los Angeles, CA / Wednesday â€“ April 24, 2013) This fall, a celebrated chapter in Los Angeles’ rich musical history will come to a close when the Gibson Amphitheatre shuts its doors in September. The landmark venue will cease operations at that time due to the end of the building’s lease agreement.
As a celebration of the many legendary artists who have played its stage and the tremendous performances that have thrilled millions of fans, Live Nation’s Southern California office will assemble a very special lineup of shows as a fitting farewell. More details will be announced soon.
“We, like music lovers across Los Angeles, will miss Gibson Amphitheatre,” said Bret Gallagher, President of North American Concerts, Southern California/Las Vegas. “It is a tremendous venue with a uniquely intimate setting that has made it a very special place for fans and artists alike. The list of musicians that have played here is simply staggering. We are honored to have been a part of its remarkable story. While a change like this is difficult, we look forward to putting together a series of great shows that will celebrate everything about this marvelous building.”
Fans with tickets to shows that are scheduled after September 2013 should hold on to them. Live Nation is currently working on moving these events into other venues and will notify fans when there is more information. If a show cannot be moved then fans will receive a full refund.
Since opening as Universal Amphitheatre in 1972, originally as an outdoor venue on the Universal Studios lot, Gibson Amphitheatre has become a prime touring destination for top performers from across the musical spectrum. Icons such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and Miles Davis have all graced its stage. In fact, the Chairman of the Board headlined the amphitheatre’s grand 1982 reopening as an enclosed theatre, calling it, “acoustically sensationalâ€¦ as large as the building is, I get a feeling that it’s a small room.” Now, “El Rey” â€“ Norteno legend Vicente Fernandez — who holds the venue’s record for most consecutive sellouts (14), will close his final tour with three Gibson performances this weekend.
Contemporary artists like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Shakira, James Taylor, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Kanye West, Keith Urban, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Lil’ Wayne, D’Angelo, Joni Mitchell and BB King have played Gibson, as well as other legendary performers like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, Steely Dan and the Grateful Dead.
Pearl Jam, Rush and No Doubt, bands who command arena-sized crowds, chose to give special, intimate residencies at the amphitheatre. The Los Angeles Times said of Pearl Jam’s five-night 2009 run, “Gibson helped Pearl Jam get bigger. The sound was excellent, crisp and crackling with detail, and the medium capacity of just over 6,000 let fans and band connect without being cramped.” Conversely, One Direction, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae sold out Gibson as they were becoming household names.
The amphitheatre has reflected Southern California’s rich cultural diversity as well, becoming the preeminent Los Angeles venue for Latin artists as their music steadily moved into mainstream popular culture. Julio Iglesias sold out ten nights in the early 80’s. Luis Miguel has frequently visited as well, selling out six shows on one tour. Pepe Aguilar, Juan Gabriel, Marco Antonio Solis and Ramon Ayala also have played multiple night runs at the building. A short list of luminary female headliners includes
Celia Cruz, Rocio Ducal, Shalia Durcal, Ana Gabriel , Jenni Rivera and Selena. Mana gave their first major Los Angeles performance at Gibson and Jaguares filled the house during their Revolucion tour.
Gibson Amphitheatre has also been at the forefront of Los Angeles’s ever-evolving modern rock landscape. 106.7 KROQ FM’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, a yearly “It List” of top alt-rock talent like Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, The Cure, Linkin Park, Phoenix, The White Stripes and more, has called Gibson home since 1998. In addition, Ground-breaking bands like Radiohead, the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, Jane’s Addiction, Incubus, Tool, The Smiths and R.E.M. have all headlined Gibson. The venue also hosted Danny Elfman’s Oingo Bongo and their yearly Halloween extravaganzas, including their 1995 farewell show.
Thanks to its unique combination of theatre capacity and expansive backstage accommodations, Gibson has hosted many other live radio events. Other holiday shows include Emmis’ Power 106 (KPWR FM) Cali Christmas, Clear Channel’s KFI AM Mistletoe & Martini, CBS’ 94.7 The Wave (KTWV FM) Winter Wonderland, Go Country 105 (KKGO FM) Winter Fest, and more. Moving beyond the holidays, Clear Channel’s Hot 92.3 (KHHT FM) presents several annual shows at the venue, including Love Affair, Chicano Soul Legends, Funk-Tastick and Freestyle Explosion. Lieberman Broadcasting’s Que Buena Premios has also taken place here.
Gibson’s intimate feel has also made it a great venue for live comedy. Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin, Louis C.K., Chelsea Handler, George Carlin, Cheech & Chong, George Lopez, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Daniel Tosh, Gabriel Iglesias and more have performed at the amphitheatre, which has also hosted Comic Relief and several editions of the Def Comedy Jam tour.
In addition, Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford have all appeared at Gibson Amphitheatre. Other world leaders and dignitaries who have visited the venue include Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
Gibson has also provided a perfect home for special events including awards shows such as the MTV Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, VH1 Honors, the Academy of Country Music Awards, HBO’s Comic Relief, NAACP Image Awards among many other events. Former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton received a prestigious Commitment to Life award at a landmark 1994 AIDS Project Los Angeles ceremony. Barbra Streisand received a similar honor in 1993. Gibson also hosted the memorial celebration for legendary Hollywood executive Lew Wasserman, who as MCA chairman and CEO spearheaded the amphitheatre’s construction. Also, the American Jewish University’s prestigious Lecture Series saw top political figures such as former Secretaries of State Gen. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Madeline Albright discuss top issues and current events.