Brandi Carlile says that she’s capable of visualizing some pretty big things for her life, but headlining Madison Square Garden Arena Sept. 14 “may have even been outside of my imagination.”
If that’s the case, it’s a good thing her friends at MSG made a video for the singer and erstwhile Highwoman to remember it by.
The sold-out appearance, in which Carlile was joined by the inimitable Mavis Staples who opened the show at The World’s Most Famous Arena, marked but one milestone in a whirlwind of a week-plus for Carlile.
She’d won the Americana Music Association’s Artist of the Year Award two nights earlier and saw the Sept. 6 release of The Highwomen, her project – no, movement – with fellow country compatriots Amanda Shires, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s top country albums chart and in the Top 10 across all genres. In fact, the famed Staples sister joined Carlile and surprise guests Shires and Hemby for an emotional rendition of “The Highwomen” during the show.
Carlile may not have been able to predict that the first days of September would be the cascade of honors and achievement that it was, but certainly the planning for how it would be come to be capped off was the result of months – years, really – of forward-looking thinking by self-admitted “big dreamer” Carlile and Madison Square Garden Co. staff including MSG Live Executive Vice President Darren Pfeffer.
Both spoke to Pollstar a month or so before the big date about artist development and the visionaries that make Madison Square Garden Arena more than just a building and why playing there is an event.
See Also – Getting To The Garden: How The MSG Company Is Growing Artist Careers
“I always felt really partnered with MSG in that way because it feels really strategic from day one,” Carlile told Pollstar. “From the first Beacon [Theater] show, they’d always come and they’d say, ‘You’re going to be at MSG some day,’ and I’d just laugh. But I know they meant that and as much as I can dream big, I felt like the people at MSG saw it before I even saw it. They sort of chaperoned me through those years and through that process.”
“She has a creative vision, specifically around Madison Square Garden, which made it even more special,” Pfeffer added. “It looks like we’ll have another sold-out concert with Brandi Carlile at Madison Square Garden.”
And it was. Carlile had an advance sellout of 12,862 tickets sold for a gross of $749,447 with tickets priced from $19-$119 by the time she arrived at the celebrated venue for sound check.
“It feels really right to have done it the right way, to have worked my way up with the appropriate gigs into being considered for an opening, to an actual opening slot, and into actually headlining Madison Square Garden,” Carlile says. “That trajectory is what really means the most to me.”