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Goodbye Roseland: Lady Gaga closes historic venue with dance party
Lady Gaga closed Roseland Ballroom Monday night the way it opened -- with a dance party.
Beneath the spinning mirror ball, Gaga led Roseland's last dance with a performance of her current single "G.U.Y." for the capacity crowd and a worldwide Internet audience. In honor of the closing of the historic venue that entertained New Yorkers since 1919, including 56 years at its current location on West 52nd Street, Gaga filled Roseland's stages with replicas of fire escapes -- covered in roses, of course -- and even an F train subway car.
"Everybody is here for one reason -- to say goodbye to this beautiful fantasy, this Roseland," she said after "Born This Way" opened her seventh sold-out show at Roseland, a record for the room. "We have to give this place a proper send-off," she added later.
What separated Roseland from other music halls was the converted skating rink's enormous open design -- creating Manhattan's largest dance floor and allowing thousands to stand on the floor and see the stage relatively unobstructed.
Monday night, like so many other nights, thousands stood shoulder to shoulder dancing and screaming -- this time for Lady Gaga, who proudly tells the story of getting caught in a mosh pit at a Franz Ferdinand show there 10 years ago and ending up with a broken nose.
"It is a legendary epic venue that is important to the fabric of the New York music scene," said Jason Miller, president of Live Nation's New York operations and the man responsible for concerts at Roseland since 2008. "It is one of those rare places that has global recognition . . . I'm sad to see it go," he said.
With its capacity of 3,500, Roseland had a unique standing in the New York market. It was big enough that headlining there is a sign that an artist has arrived, as Grammy-winning teen sensation Lorde proved when she sold it out three times last month. It's also small enough for veteran acts to offer fans a more intimate, scaled-down-from-arenas show, as the Rolling Stones, Madonna and now Gaga have done.
No announcements have been made about what will replace Roseland Ballroom.
However, Miller said an announcement could come as early as this week about which places Live Nation plans to use to book the midsized concerts that used to come to Roseland. Whether that means Live Nation will have a new deal with an existing similarly sized space like the Hammerstein Ballroom or converting a previously unused venue to regular use for concerts remains unclear.
"Roseland closes an important chapter for the fans and for Live Nation," Miller said. "But there are opportunities that will open up as a result of this particular closing -- maybe two or three."