THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Mega 80s and Leon Russell Usher in a Welcome Addition of Entertainment Possibilities
Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, From Issue 796 By: Robert E Martin
11th September, 2014 0
While the Great Lakes Bay has enjoyed clusters of clubs & bars along with larger concert venues such as The Temple and State Theaters, The Midland Center for the Arts, and The Dow Event Center to showcase local as well as national entertainment; something missing from the mix that opens an important door to experiencing many notable recording & performing artists is the 400-1200 seat Showcase Nightclub – similar to what many larger Metropolitan Towns such as Grand Rapids and Detroit have with venues like The Intersection and The Magic Bag.
Now an entirely fresh plateau of live entertainment will be exposed to audiences throughout the region with the Grand Opening of The Red Room on Friday, September 26th. The latest addition to The Dow Event Center that was conceived by visionary Director Matt Blasy, who also opened the First Merit Event Park last Fall, The Red Room occupies the newly renovated space that once housed the Dow’s Banquet Hall and has transformed the space with a permanent bar, stage, and premier sound & lighting package open to a broad variety of events and parties.
Replete with incredible state-of-the-art house lighting and substantial stacks of QSC Speakers and a 32-input sound counsel and projection video, opening night on September 26th will feature the popular Detroit-based Retro-Rock artistry of Mega 80s, followed by musical icon and legend Leon Russell in a special performance on October 12th.
With a career spanning 50 years, Russell is both an accomplished songwriter and versatile musician who led Joe Cocker with Mad Dogs & Englishmen and just released a new album of original duets with Elton John last year. He has written and arranged some of the most memorable recordings in popular music. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in March 2011. Advance tickets are only $30.00 and currently available at The Dow Box Office & Ticketmaster; while tickets for the Mega 80s Grand Opening bash are only $10.00.
“We’ve been looking for the last few years for some new ideas for the old Unity Hall, which as a Banquet facility was being under-utilized,” explains Blasy. “We tossed various ideas around, but feel with The Red Room we can compliment events that go on in either the Theatre or Arena here at the Dow, and also showcase broader tiers of entertainment by offering a smaller scale concert entertainment venue.”
“We have a lot of efficiencies in place and with the sound and light package we can offer, along with our other amenities, it gives promoters a lot of flexibility in terms of sizing and breakdown,” he continues. “There’s a lot of competition for banquets in this region, but with this new venue open to accommodate 400-1200 people, we can enhance our schedule and draw more people downtown. It lends itself to a wide range of events.”
“From an events standpoint, the range we can accommodate is incredibly broad, which is why we wanted to give the room a look and a name that offered a wide range of possibilities. We wanted a name that didn’t have a feel or appeal to any one type of crowd but was open to a wide range of events.”
Matt explains that while they had the concept for The Red Room rolling around for at least two years, they also lacked the capital dollars to realize it. “We had a $225,000 budget in terms of best-case scenario,” notes Matt, but then we were fortunate to have some meetings with Lamar Woodley, who was very interested in doing something to impact Downtown Saginaw. We threw the idea out to him and he became very interested in the project and donated $125,000. Without his generosity and concern, the idea would still be all that existed.”
With a ‘soft’ opening slated for Fall, hopes are high that regular weekly entertainment will be rolling through The Red Room in 2015. “We want to do comedy acts, country shows, classic rock, Tribute bands, and feature notable artists to compliment a broad demographic,” notes Matt. “With seating we can accommodate 800 people and if events are oriented towards younger crowds and arranged without seating, we can handle 1200-1300 people. But we can also accommodate 200-400 people by cutting the room in half with a removable wall, so we definitely have flexibility. This is perfect if people wish to set up dinner shows.”
“I’m glad we’re able to have Mega 80s opening the room for us, because we are geared for looking at doing more shows like that,” states Matt. “They are a Michigan band with a great following for larger clubs throughout the state, so now we can bring them up here and give them exposure throughout this region. Before all we had was the Theatre and Arena and they are not really suited best for the theatre; but for a large club they are perfect.”
For the Dow Entertainment Center, they can now accommodate all ranges of entertainment offered by promoters on their ‘campus’, which can handle 150—1200 in The Red Room, 1000-2200 in the Theatre, all the way up to 6000 in the Arena & Event Park.
“By this winter I would like to see us offering something every weekend,” continues Matt; and the nice thing is that we can also work with the owner of The Magic Bag and other clubs in the state and leverage together to bring artists like Leon Russell into town.”
“Additionally, when we have hockey games going on or different events happening in the arena, we can also feature comedy and different types of entertainment in The Red Room that gives people somewhere else to go after the main event. So yes, these are very exciting times for us at the Dow.”
For more information about The Red Room you can call 989-759-1320 or to get tickets for Mega’80s Grand Opening and Leon Russell, phone 800-745-3000 or visit www.doweventcenter.comor any ticketmaster outlet.
Please login to commentLOGIN
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)