In 1979, coming off the chart-topping success of The Long Run, the Eagles played four nights at L.A.’s “Fabulous” Forum, as it was known, with Roy Orbison opening. Like so many acts, from Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Van Halen, the Cars and many more, the Eagles were regulars at the Inglewood, California, venue.
Yet with the opening of Staples Center in downtown L.A. in 1999 and other factors, the Forum – a venue that once rivaled New York’s Madison Square Garden for cachet – was nearly razed for a housing development. But the Madison Square Garden Company stepped in last year and closed a deal to buy the Forum. Yesterday in L.A., they announced that the Eagles would reopen the venue with a three-night stand kicking off on January 15th, 2014.
Joe Walsh, who spoke to Rolling Stone with Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmit before the press conference, is thrilled the venue is making a return. “Most of southern California has great memories here, be it sports or concerts, and I’m so happy they saved the building because it was almost too late,” Walsh said. “And we just tear everything down and build condos, and it’s nice to have a little bit of heritage. It’s not for sports, it’s for music and it’s gonna be state of the art.”
Frey agrees that the Forum will regain its status as a peak destination. “Everybody is gonna want to play here, that’s gonna be the phenomenon that we see,” he said. “It’s gonna become the premiere place to play west of the Mississippi, maybe all of the country.”
Melissa Ormond, president of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, said the company is already starting to hear from acts interested in playing the Forum. “I think the artists who played here want to come back and experience it again and the artists that never had the opportunity to play here are psyched to come for the first time,” she said. “We’ve got a ton of acts that want to play, we’ve got a lot of shows that are already committed through as long as September.”
To help regain the Forum’s previous stature, the company intends to provide high-end VIP and artist lounges, the ability to cut down the venue to a half-size performance space, outdoor eating areas and refurbished seats as part of a $100 million investment. “I’m really thrilled and I think that the history that rolls through these walls is still gonna roll through these walls and we’re gonna add to it,” General Manager Nick Spampanato said.
The Eagles will likey come up with a few of their own ideas about how to add to the Forum’s history come January 15th. “We’re thinking already of what’s gonna happen that night and we might want to spice up our show with a few things,” Frey said. “[But] we haven’t really talked about it seriously because we literally just stepped off the road.”
At the moment, they’re focusing on a tour that Schmit says will run well into next year. “What’s interesting is this tour that we just started, it’s sort of like this celebration of our fans’ relationship with us,” Frey said. “And that’s what keeps making me feel so good, that’s what we kind of witness every night besides trying to play our best and sing in tune, hit our marks, do it all with feeling, there’s this other thing that happens every night.
“And people have the same feeling about the Forum, people have had relationships with this building for a long, long time. NBA championships have been won here, incredible music events, Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills and Nash, I saw them here for the very first time. When we played here in ’76 we had Toots and the Maytals open for us for Hotel California and then for The Long Run we had Roy Orbison. I’m just being reminded that we always tried to do a little something special.”