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Gibson Amphitheatre To Shut Down

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Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

click to enlarge From the Slayer and Megadeth show at the Gibson in 2010 - TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
  • From the Slayer and Megadeth show at the Gibson in 2010
Gibson Amphitheatre, the mainstay mid-size concert venue at Universal City, will close its doors in September, according to its operator Live Nation Entertainment.

As announced in December 2011, the 6,200-capacity amphitheatre is expected to be demolished to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park area.

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
See also: Our Weezer slideshow from their Gibson concert

Ticket holders for shows scheduled for Gibson after September 2013 should hold on to them, according to Live Nation's press release (below), as these events may be moved to other venues. Ticket holders will be fully refunded for any shows that cannot be moved.

Opened as Universal Ampitheatre in 1972 and originally an outdoor venue on the Universal Studios Lot, it was remodeled and reopened as an indoor theatre in 1982. Naming rights were acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in early 2005.

Music icons including Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley and Johnny Cash performed at the landmark amphitheatre, which is renowned for excellent acoustics and sightlines. As well as hosting contemporary artists like David Bowie, No Doubt, Shakira and Kanye West, Gibson Amphitheatre also became home to special events like 106.7 KROQ FM's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas.

The Gibson has hosted the MTV Music Awards, VH1 Honors, HBO's Comic Relief and NAACP Image Awards among many other high-profile events.   L.A. Weekly's "101" concerts, -- featuring Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, The Airborne Toxic Event, and others -- were held at Gibson Amphitheatre in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

In addition, world leaders and dignitaries including presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, and the 14th Dalai Lama have all appeared at the Gibson. 

Personally, I witnessed (and reviewed) some incredible shows at Gibson, like No Doubt in 2006, The Sounds opening for The Strokes in 2004 and the Deftones in 2007. There were occasional indifferent performances (Evanescence in 2003) and the sad spectacle of The Damned being all but ignored opening for Rob Zombie (2002).

I conducted my most memorable interview (a prostrate Phil Anselmo) on a tour bus behind the venue, and one of my most bizarre (Glen Danzig in a dressing room shower) at the Gibson. The biggest brawl I ever saw in L.A. -- between a pair of shirtless tag-teaming drunks and the venue's burly security team -- happened in the hospitality area backstage at Universal Amphtiheatre before a Cult show in 2001.

The gap left by the Gibson's disappearance will be best filled in the short term by the 7,100-capacity Nokia Theatre L.A. Live and the much older and less frequently-used, 6,300-capacity Shrine Auditorium, both in downtown L.A.

Though there is no scheduled opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park area, on April 23 NBCUniversal cleared the final hurdle to its $1.6-billion expansion plan for Universal Studios Hollywood by receiving a unanimous vote in approval of the 25-year expansion by the county Board of Supervisors.

Live Nation's statement says the venue will cease operations due to the end of the building's lease agreement.

The full press release and more photos are below

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