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"As a musician, I just want to say thank you for a real
place to play in
Los Angeles.”
——Joe Walsh
MSG TAKES IT TO THE LIMIT WITH $100M FORUM RENOVATION
Eagles Will Return to the Spiffed-up Venue to Headline a Concert on the Jan. 15 Reopening

Believe it or not, we were actually invited to Tuesday’s press conference at Inglewood’s once-Fabulous Forum announcing the Madison Square Garden Company’s $100 million renovation of the iconic arena. Unfortunately, we were on print deadline and couldn’t attend; fortunately, our pals at the L.A. Times and the bible were on hand to let us know what went down.

 

Three members of the Eagles, who will headline the arena when it reopens next Jan. 15, joined Irving Azoff, MSG Co.’s James Dolan and Hank Ratner and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts on the dais of a tent erected in the venue’s parking lot. 

 

“It was always a great-sounding room,” Glenn Frey told the Times Randy Lewis moments before addressing a crowd of more than 100 members of the press, city officials and community leaders. “I think it’s not only going to be a premier venue again, I think it could be the premier place to play.”

 

On the dais, Joe Walsh quipped, “I spent a couple of days in the Forum Club one night. I don’t remember much about it, but I’m told I had a really good time.” After a “But seriously, folks” pause, he continued. “When we come off the road and fly into L.A., looking out on the Forum and seeing it in a state of disrepair, it always made me really sad. Southern California does kind of have a habit of tearing down places of significance, and building up silly concrete things in their place. I’m so happy they saved the building… As a musician, I just want to say thank you for a real place to play in Los Angeles.”

 

Before the press conference, Azoff recounted the chain of events that led to MSG’s decision to return the Forum to its former Febulousness. Two years ago, officials at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, which had bought the Forum in 2000 after the Lakers and the Kings moved to their new home at the Staples Center, lamented to Azoff there wasn’t enough activity going on in the Forum to sustain payment on their debt.

 

“They told me that they were planning to sell it to some real estate group that wanted to come in and tear it down,” he recalled. “At that point, I was chief executive of Live Nation, and unlike AEG, we weren’t in the business of ownership of buildings. In fact, we were trying to reduce our ownership of real estate. I went to Dolan because we’re close friends and I had been involved with [MSG]… Jim, who is as big a fan of music as anyone, got it immediately.”

 

The MSG Co. acquired the Forum in June 2012 and subsequently locked down Chase as Presenting Partner.

 

Said Dolan in a press release disseminated before yesterday’s event: “Since we first explored the opportunity to acquire the Forum and expand The Madison Square Garden Company’s presence on the West Coast, our vision has been clear: return the venue to its celebrated position as one of the most beloved and well-known venues in the country for the benefit of the community, fans and performers for generations to come. We are pleased with the substantial progress on our ambitious plans, and starting with the Eagles in January, the Forum will return to its rightful position as a thriving destination for both artists and music fans.

 

“I would also like to say a special thank you to Irving Azoff, who brought this opportunity to our attention. Irving’s prominence in and knowledge of the L.A. market, along with his unmatched success in the music industry, are what led us here today. He knew that the Forum was a venue that artists loved to play, and that MSG could make this historic venue great again. As one of the most respected and creative executives in the entertainment industry, we have no doubt that Irving will play an important role in helping us meet our ambitious goals, and that his vision and insights will ensure that the revitalization of this iconic arena is a total success.”

 

Azoff stated: “The Forum is an iconic Southern California landmark and with the vision of the Madison Square Garden Company is sure to become the world’s quintessential music-focused venue. Since the 1970s, the Eagles have a long and rich history with the Forum. The building has played an important role in the growth and development of the band from their early Southern California roots to becoming a worldwide touring phenomenon. With its unsurpassed acoustics and warm intimate arena experience, it’s always been the band’s favorite building to perform in and we’re anxiously looking forward to kicking off the next era of the Forum this January.”

 

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