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Elbow “ready” to open Co-Op Live arena after weeks of chaos

May 14th, 2024

Elbow have said they are “ready” to open the new Co-Op Live arena in Manchester tonight (May 14) following weeks of chaos at the venue.

Guy Garvey and co. are scheduled to perform at the 23,500-capacity arena – which is the UK’s largest indoor venue – as part of their current UK headline tour. The dates come in support of their latest album, ‘Audio Vertigo’.

The £365million Co-Op Live was initially due to open with two stand-up shows from Peter Kay on April 23 and 24. However, these dates – along with numerous others – were postponed as a result of ongoing issues in the building.

News of the postponed gigs followed a reduced-capacity test event featuring a performance by Rick Astley on April 20 before arena boss Gary Roden resigned soon afterwards.

Other concerts to have been impacted by the problems include those of Olivia Rodrigo, The Black Keys, Take That and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

The latter event was cancelled at the last minute because of a “venue-related technical issue” – later confirmed to be a part of the air conditioning unit falling from the ceiling (via Manchester Evening News). Nobody was injured.

In a statement on May 2, the Co-Op Live announced a new opening date of May 14 and said the team was “working incredibly hard to get the building up and running”. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News last week, the venue explained: “At this time, we do not expect further impact on our opening season.”

According to BBC News, the Co-Op Live has now passed a final inspection to allow the opening to finally go ahead.

Yesterday (May 13), Elbow shared an image of their gear set up on the stage at the venue – suggesting that things were finally running smoothly. “Ready for tomorrow at Co-Op Live arena. See you there,” the band captioned the photo. See below.

Some of the postponed dates at the Co-Op Live were moved to the rival AO Arena in Manchester.

Earlier this month, NME spoke to some angry and disappointed live music fans whose plans had been affected by the chaos – with one calling it “just a joke at this point”.

Discussing their experience at the axed A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie event, another person told NME: “We travelled like two hours… it’s just poor. If you’re gonna cancel it, cancel beforehand, so we don’t spend money on getting here.

“There’s thousands of people stood outside and you cancel it half an hour after the doors were meant to be open?”

Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) recently said the Co-Op Live arena was “a great idea” – but urged bosses to “work in a way that secures the future of live music”. It came after the venue agreed to meet the MVT to discuss its proposed £1 ticket levy.

The Co-Op Live arena in Manchester. CREDIT: Peter Byrne/PA Images/Getty

Before his resignation, Gary Roden had dismissed calls for a ticket levy on all gigs arena-sized and above, which has been suggested to ensure the future of smaller venues across the UK. He also courted controversy by stating that some grassroots venues in the UK were “poorly run”.

In response, MVT CEO Mark Davyd told NME that he believed Roden’s remarks were “disrespectful and disingenuous”. He called out the irony of making such “ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading” comments on the week that the Co-Op Live Arena was forced to delay its launch following numerous logistical problems.

The new arena had initially “declined invitations to engage properly in the discussion about the future of the UK’s live music ecosystem”, according to Davyd.

Other acts scheduled to perform at the Co-Op Live include The Black Keys, Eric Clapton, Nicki Minaj, Eagles, Pet Shop Boys, Liam Gallagher and The Killers.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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