BEANTOWN ROAD: Chris Stapleton performed September 1 at the new MGM Music Hall in Boston’s Fenway Park. (Getty Pictures)
Boston promoter Don Law’s newest venture
MGM Music Hall in Fenway held the ribbon cutting on August 22, kicking off a series of major music events with support from the Boston Red Sox and concert giant Live Nation.
The new 5,000-capacity venue is tucked into a parking lot at the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswitch Streets, just behind Fenway Park, the historic home of the Sox.
Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group Real Estate company launches the project, while Fenway Music Company and Live Nation – under the guidance of legendary Boston promoter Don Law – will operate the 91,500 square foot venue. The facility spans four levels that are just 110 feet from the stage.
There are 2,000 fixed seats, removable seats on the floor for general admission, jacket controls on all levels, and 10 bars. The venue debuted on August 29-30 with James Taylor. Three nights of Bruno Mars on September 7, 9 and 11 marked the official launch. Upcoming concerts include Porcupine Tree, Rosalia, Roxy Music, Lil Nas X, and Lamb of God.
More than 65 actions have been booked by the end of 2022.
Law, president of Live Nation Boston, said the success of the 2,500-capacity House of Blues Boston made it clear that the market needed bigger room.
“The size, versatility and thoughtful design serve as a convincing option for artists of all sizes looking to play in the market,” he said. “A room this size fits well with our other venues in the market.” This list includes the 450-seat Brighton Music Hall, the 900-seat Paradise Rock Club, the 2,700-seat Orpheum Theater and the 5,000-seat Leader Bank Lodge.
The design and construction of the venue was done by Gilbane, Inc. (general contractor), DAIQ (architect) and Jones Lang LaSalle (project management). The open-air roof offers a view of the downtown Boston skyline. Solar energy increases the sustainability of the space.
More than 2.7 million pounds of steel were used to construct the building, with 80,000 concrete wall blocks forming the walls of the venue. During the construction process, approximately 8,500 cubic meters of concrete was poured and 600 tons of reinforced concrete iron was used.
“Fenway Sports Group owner John Henry had a keen vision for the aesthetics of the space and how it would fit into historic Fenway Park,” Law said. “He took us out on a winter’s day during the early planning stages and drew attention to all the design elements that the stadium needed to be included.”
Law, who has typically performed at larger venues like Bruno Mars, Chris Stapleton, and Roxy Music, says his strategy doesn’t necessarily involve underplays.
“Opening a special venue with world-class entertainers was very important to us,” he said. “Many big acts, yearning for a more intimate setting, have expressed their interest in the space. It makes sense for them to have multiple appointments at a venue like this rather than a single show at a larger venue.”
MGM Resorts International, co-founders who bought the naming rights after a successful launch of MGM Springfield, Avid Technologies, Boston Beer Company, Curve, Jim Beam, MassMutual, and Wasabi.
The MGM Music Hall in Fenway will partner with its neighbor, the Boston Academy of Arts, the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts.
His collaboration with Fenway Park culminated in the organizer’s over two decades relationship with the Red Sox, with over 90 shows at the historic stadium.
For Law, the MGM Music Hall in Fenway is the culmination of a concert promotion career that saw him run the famous Boston Tea Party club in 1968.
“Boston as a music market has always risen above its weight class,” he said. “He has very progressive tastes and a real passion for live entertainment and the arts.”