Key Word For 2015: Residency

Why go to the fans when the fans can come to you? That’s what made Celine Dion a force in Las Vegas, it’s working for Billy Joel, and it will be coming to the West Coast soon. 

Photo: Jeff Schock
The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., has proven to be a successful addition to the Los Angeles market.

If one delved into the rock ‘n’ roll history books, certainly it can be found that musicians have had live performances in static locations, from Springsteen at the  to the Neville Brothers in New Orleans. But the model didn’t come into focus until Dion, Concerts West, and Ceasars Entertainment created a permanent home for the Canadian singer in Las Vegas.

A rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” became part of a Vegas vacation for many. Joel decided to stick around New York City in 2014, playing  once a month.

Although he could be seen in places like Kansas City and Pittsburgh now and again, he anchored himself in the Big Apple. Like Dion in Vegas, Billy Joel performances became part of the monthly tapestry of NYC.

Many people are buying tickets to multiple shows, MSG said. “There’s no question that a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden has become a destination show for visitors of New York City,” Bob Shea, MSG’s executive VP of booking, told Pollstar. “Fans have planned their travel to New York City based on Billy’s concert schedule at MSG.”

Shea said Joel’s original request was simple: he’d play a show a month “as long as there’s demand.” And there is demand. He grossed an average $2 million for each of his sold-out monthly gigs.

Setting Dion aside, the concept of an “open-ended” residency could be sparking interest. It’s something MSG will very likely be expanding on in the near future. MSG’s recently refurbished Forum in Inglewood, Calif., will apparently soon announce a similar model, according to sources who would not elaborate.

Quite possibly, it would be an artist who can fill up the 17,500-capacity building once a month, has ties to Southern California, and tired of touring.

Joel announced dates through October at press time.