Gibson Goes Away

It has been assumed that Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif., would be closing its doors someday soon, but now it’s official: the iconic building on the grounds of Universal Studios will see its last concerts in September.

Live Nation’s Southern California will assemble a “very special lineup of shows as a fitting farewell,” but the announcement is forthcoming. Events already scheduled after September are expected to be moved to other venues, and patrons who bought tickets to those shows were asked to hold on to them.

“We, like music lovers across Los Angeles, will miss Gibson Amphitheatre,” Bret Gallagher, Live Nation President of North American Concerts, Southern California, said. “It is a tremendous venue with a uniquely intimate setting that has made it a very special place for fans and artists alike. The list of musicians that have played here is simply staggering. We are honored to have been a part of its remarkable story.”

Rick Merrill, the highly respected GM of Gibson, was unavailable for comment at press time.

The closing has been anticipated, and by most accounts Universal plans to replace the venue with a ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The venue, meanwhile, has ever-increasing competition in Southern California from spaces like Nokia Theatre.

The venue is unique in that its description as an amphitheatre is a misnomer – it is roofed, but was originally an outdoor venue that became an indoor venue in 1982 to quiet that section of the theme park. It opened in 1972 and has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra to Bob Marley. It has hosted five U.S. presidents, Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama.

Events have included the MTV Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards. Vicente Fernandez holds the venue’s record for most consecutive sellouts with 14, and will close his final tour with three Gibson performances April 26-28.  It also hosted an evening honoring Irving Azoff, who received City of Hope’s Spirit of Live Award in 2011, and the park became a private party for the concert industry.