MGM Music Hall at Fenway, a state-of-the-art music venue located near Fenway Park, officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday afternoon.
The ceremony capped years of planning for the new 5,000-seat venue, an effort led by Fenway Music Company, a collaboration between Fenway Sports Management and entertainment giant Live Nation, which also owns and operates the nearby House of Blues.
The unconventional triangular shape of the 91,500 square foot venue, a necessity of its location on the Triangle Lot on the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswich streets, meant the team at Somerville’s DAIQ Architects had to be creative in its layout. But like the neighboring park, the end result is an intimate space in which no seat is more than 110 meters from the stage.
One advantage of the triangular space is the lack of reverberation, an auditory echo effect that can occur in square venues “due to the surfaces directly facing each other,” according to Live Nation New England president Don Law.
Divided into four levels, the venue offers ample floor space for general admission performances, as well as two levels of auditorium seating and “box” seating along the railing, all of which have excellent sight lines to the stage. There are also ample food and beverage areas throughout, three lounge areas and an open-air roof deck with views of Lansdowne Street and downtown Boston.
MGM Music Hall will cater to artists of all stripes, with plans to use the space for some of pop music’s biggest acts, as well as community programming, such as student performances for the nearby Boston Academy of the Arts. For smaller shows, seating can be added and removed on the first floor.
MGM Music Hall is positioning itself as the premiere option for mid-sized music venues, offering a space that’s smaller than arenas like the TD Garden, but larger than the House of Blues (2,500 people), the Roadrunner (3,500) and the Big Night Live (2,000). ).
After the ribbon was cut, a handful of VIP guests settled into seats on the floor as Springfield native Michelle Brooks-Thompson performed a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
First to take to the stage to give prepared speeches was FSG chairman John Henry, who spoke about his early life as a musician and his dreams for the new country. (Henry also owns Boston Globe Media Partners, the parent company of Boston.com).
“I started adulthood as a professional musician. That was the central focus of my life through my 20s, all the way through high school,” Henry said. “I’ve developed other interests over time, but the musician in me that stands here today couldn’t be more proud of it. new home for the world’s greatest artists, as well as up-and-coming artists who will share their craft with our community.”
The music played as the scheduled speakers went to and from the stage included tunes from artists who would be playing MGM Music Hall in the coming weeks. Some of the acts taking to the stage for their first shows in the country are hard rock band Godsmack (August 27), singer-songwriter James Taylor and his All-Star Band (August 29 and 30), pop star Bruno Mars (September 7, 9 and 11), and rapper Lil Nas X (September 18).
The earliest tentative plans for MGM Music Hall were announced in 2018, and a groundbreaking ceremony took place in late 2019, just months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking back, Boston Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy marveled at how far the project had come since then.
“It was a cold November morning. We stood in what used to be an empty triangular parking lot that served as a service yard for Fenway, and took pictures shoveling mounds of dirt as we tried to imagine what this space could become,” Kennedy said. “I have to say , at that time, no interpretation could do justice to what the experience of this country has become.”
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