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GLSS "Around Town" Interview with Jamie Marsh

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Lynn Takes Center Stage
City Hall Auditorium Becoming Region's Showpiece

Steve Krause | The Daily Item | January 2015
City Hall Auditorium becoming region’s showpiece
By Steve Krause / The Daily Item | Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 3:00 am

City Hall Memorial Auditorium’s concert roster has grown exponentially since it became a viable venue for shows in 2007, but when it comes to rocking the house, nobody does it better than Get The Led Out, the Zeppelin tribute band that played there last Friday.

“Usually,” says auditorium general manager Jamie Marsh, “we have a little elbow room, and we like to have it, too, in case something gets messed up.” Friday, however, Marsh and the city taxed the hall to the max. “We sold all our relocation seats, plus seats we had on hold, and we went to the max,” he said. “There were so many people coming up the day of the show for tickets, and we didn’t want to turn anyone down. So we went right to the fire code.” In this case, that meant there were 2,086 seats available for patrons to hear the band’s spot­on replicas of the Led Zeppelin repertoire, and all of them were filled.

“It was the most people we’ve ever had,” Marsh said. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Get The Led Out was back for their fourth show, and word travels. “The first time they came, we had about 900,” Marsh said. “But the last three times we’ve had them, we’ve sold the place out.” After a successful 2014 slate that included Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Boz Scaggs, Ian Anderson, Who’s Bad (Michael Jackson tribute) Night Ranger and .38 Special, Natalie Cole, KC and the Sunshine Band and B.B. King, Marsh is confident the thrill hasn’t gone out of the auditorium as a venue. “We’re selling out left and right,” said Marsh, who is also Lynn’s director of community development.

“When we started (putting on shows at the auditorium) we were doing two or three big ones a year. But from October through December of last year, we were doing one a week.” Get The Led Out Get The Led Out played to a packed house at City Hall Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.Get the Led Out was the first show for 2015, and Marsh says there’s a pretty ambitious follow­up, including George Thorogood and the Destroyers with Barrence Whitfield, an already sold­out Wild Kratts show (for children), Spank! The 50 Shades Parody, Brit Floyd (a Pink Floyd tribute band), Celtic Woman, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “Live and Let Die,” a symphonic Paul McCartney show. Marsh says the venue has a lot of competition, including the Lowell Auditorium, the Wang Theatre in Boston, Cape Cod Melody Tent and Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.

But he’s happy Lynn has scored some big shows. “For me it’s about the music and the entertainment value,” Marsh said, “but also as important is the spin­off and what the auditorium and the 2,000­plus people create outside the auditorium before and after shows at nearby restaurants,” including Rossetti's, the Blue Ox and the soon to be open R.F. O’Sullivan, all the way up to Rolly’s Tavern and the Lazy Dog in Wyoma Square, and Old Tyme in West Lynn. “Although our wheelhouse is within the 495 belt, we are drawing patrons consistently from the Cape, Western Mass. and New Hampshire,” Marsh said, crediting the auditorium staff: Joanna Mills, Ann Marie Leonard and Henry Ryan, who helps book the acts.

“And to have the support from the corner office (Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy), and what she’s doing, is great for us,” Marsh said.


2012 Fall Lineup for Lynn Auditorium Announced

Chris Stevens | The Daily Item | July 2012
The fall and winter schedule has been booked for Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the shows reflect what Community Development Director James Marsh is calling its new trend.
“I think we’ve found our niche,” he said. “Current Latin pop, classic American rock and family shows — that seems to be our niche.” Marsh has booked six shows for September through December, including Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson (Oct. 3), Foreigner (returning, date TBA), Supertramp (TBA), Imperial Acrobats of China (Nov. 11), Get the Led Out (returning, Nov. 16), and Kenny Rogers (returning, Dec. 22). Marsh said he is also working on booking 10 additional shows for the 2012-13 season, which runs September to early June. Eventually the season will run all year when the auditorium is air-conditioned, he noted.

Bids to install air conditioning in the auditorium are due July 24. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has said she expects installation work to begin midsummer and wrapped by late fall. Marsh said the concert venue continues to grow and he is happy with its progress. He said 38 percent of the tickets for Ian Anderson’s sold-out show were sold on the first day they went on sale. “And a good 30 percent of those were from out-of-state.” Marsh said that’s an important side note because it proves the auditorium is a draw.

Box Office Manager Joanna Mills sat at her desk Wednesday with about a four-inch stack of concert tickets for Anderson’s show. As she slipped tickets into envelopes and marked them for people to pick up at the “will call” window the night of the show she said, “This is my favorite part. I get to see where everyone is coming from.”

The stack included tickets for people coming from all over New England, as far away as California and from two Canadian Provinces, New Brunswick and Quebec. Mills said the man coming from California told her he is originally from the area, but that visiting family was second to seeing Anderson. “He has the last seat in the last row in the balcony but he still wanted to come,” she said.

Marsh said that proves the auditorium is causing more than just local buzz, which is good for the city as well as the venue. The auditorium is also making a profit but Marsh said that money goes right back into attracting new shows. “It takes money to buy the shows and you don’t recoup your investment overnight,” he said. Aside from paying the star, Marsh said there are ancillary expenses such as advertising, catering, hospitality and depending on the act, lights, labor, sound and equipment expenses. “We negotiate those as terms and conditions of each contract,” he said. “Every contract is different.”

This past season Marsh brought in Peter Frampton, Pat Benatar and Charlie Daniels along with several wildly popular Latino performers who Marsh said came from Madison Square Garden to Lynn. There were also other shows including Southside Johnny, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Circus Shanghai, “Menopause the Musical” and a full run of “The Nutcracker,” along with smaller shows and acts that came via outside promoters. Two years ago performers at Lynn Auditorium included Kansas and the Women of Ireland, and comics including Howie Mandell.

“We opened in 2005 and we limped along that first year,” he said. “What I love about the (Item) article that ran is it said that free movies may lead to other uses for the auditorium - and it did.”


JethroTull's Ian Anderson Announces the THICK AS A BRICK Tours for 2012

Ian Anderson will be performing both his composition THICK AS A BRICK in its entirety for the first time since 1972, and his new album, THICK AS A BRICK 2 for a world tour, commencing in the UK in Mid-April. Then, it's on to Europe and the United States from September through November.

This tour will feature a more theatrical production with video and additional musicians, including Ian's band: bassist David Goodier, keyboardist John O'Hara, drummer Scott Hammond, and wunderkind guitarist Florian Opahle-- all of whom have performed with Ian on his solo dates over the years as well as having performed at various times as members of JethroTull. Ian's new album, THICK AS A BRICK 2 (TAAB2) also features David, John, Scott, and Florian. It was produced by Ian Anderson and mixed by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson (who also re-mixed JethroTull's AQUALUNG-Special Edition, released this past fall.)

After 44 years of leading Tull to 54 countries worldwide and over 60 million albums sold, Ian Anderson celebrates these true progressive rock classics with old and new fans across world-wide. Ian is known as the flute, voice and composer of the legendary JethroTull which formed in England in 1968. Since their first performance at London's famous Marquee Club in 1968, the band has released 30 studio and live albums and earned a prominent place in rock history.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to a Lynn Auditorium show can visit lynnauditorium.com or the box office in Room 311 at City Hall, or call 781-581-2971 or 1-800-594-8499.


Lynn Sees Strong Ticket Sales for Frampton, Benatar Shows

Sarah Mupo | The Daily Item | January 2012
Community Development Director James Marsh said ticket sales are going strong as the Lynn Auditorium moves into the second half of its performance season before its summer hiatus. No shows are sold out yet, but Marsh said he has high hopes that all tickets will be purchased for the Peter Frampton performance on Feb. 3 and the newly-announced Pat Benatar performance on April 19. "Pat Benatar first-day sales were over 400 tickets," he said. "It was the strongest first on-sale date since we had the grand reopening with the Boston Pops in October 2006." Ticket sales are not as high for the other auditorium shows this season, like the Charlie Daniels Band on March 22. Marsh attributed that to "soft on-sale dates," which means the on-sale date is not promoted and the advertising for the show is done closer to the performance date. "We went into the greater Boston new year [announcing] Frampton and Benatar," he said. "With the others, it was a local, word-of-mouth thing, but we'll do a specific advertising blitz with Charlie [Daniels] in mid-February." To line up acts for the 2012-2013 concert season, Marsh said Henry Ryan, who is in charge of production and promotion for the auditorium, will travel to New York City on Monday for the 2012 Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference. Agents for a variety of performers attend the conference and negotiate with venue representatives. Marsh also said that he is very close to securing a "big-name" comedy act that will most likely be taking the auditorium stage in April. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to a Lynn Auditorium show can visit lynnauditorium.com or the box office in Room 311 at City Hall, or call 781-581-2971 or 1-800-594-8499.

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