03 May 2024

Barry Manilow makes a ‘back up plan’ as problems continue at Co-op Live

03 May 2024

Barry Manilow has announced a “back up plan” to move his Manchester performance from the beleaguered Co-op Live after Take That moved their gigs and other shows were cancelled.

Take That said their shows next week will be moved from Co-op Live to the AO Arena due to “ongoing technical issues”.

Manilow has also booked the AO Arena for his May 19 show as an alternative venue if the Co-op Arena is not ready, his manager announced in a social media post.

The new music venue, which has postponed its opening numerous times, said it will be taking “a short pause to events” before welcoming members of the public to the arena from May 14, when Elbow are due to play.

A statement from Co-op Live said this is to “fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists” and allow for an “independent inspection of all elements of the arena ceiling” following an issue with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

A statement from Manilow’s husband and manager Garry Kief said the star’s team shared the “concerns” of fans so had booked the AO Arena as “a back up plan”.

“Right now, that’s a big IF. And we don’t know. We promise that we will let you know as soon as we know IF we have to move the concert from Co-op Live to AO Arena.

“Like you, we would love to have this resolved sooner than later.”

On Instagram, Take That said: “Given the ongoing technical issues around the opening of Co-op Live we have taken the difficult decision to move our May shows to the AO Arena where we have enjoyed many great nights over the years.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we wanted to give our fans as much notice as possible.

“We’re mindful many of you will already have travel and accommodation plans in place, so we have chosen this option to minimise inconvenience to as many people as possible.”

The band were due to play at Co-op Live on May 7-8 and 10-12 and all of those shows have been transferred although the May 8 performance has been moved to May 9.

Their June 11 and 12 dates at Co-op Live are unaffected.

On Thursday, British pop rock group Keane, who have been celebrating 20 years of their debut album Hopes And Fears, said they were “really disappointed” as they revealed the postponement of their gig which had been scheduled for Sunday.

On Instagram, the band said they were “gutted”, adding: “This is due to ongoing technical issues at the venue and is entirely beyond our control.”

The statement added: “We are really disappointed that this has happened and are doing all we can to reschedule the show.”

Vampire singer Olivia Rodrigo had been due to perform at the venue on May 3 and 4 as part of her Guts world tour but those shows have been postponed.

On Wednesday, the £365 million venue postponed its opening show just over an hour before rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was due to perform, confirming there was a problem during the soundcheck.

It is understood a nozzle from the ventilation and air conditioning system fell to the ground from the ceiling shortly before the event.

The American rapper’s gig is now scheduled to take place on May 4 at the AO Arena.

In a statement posted to X, Co-op Live said the venue had decided “to take a short pause” to events to allow an independent inspection of “all elements of the arena ceiling” and “to fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue”.

It added: “At this time, we do not expect further impact on our opening season.

“We are aware our actions have frustrated and angered ticket holders.

“We know you’ve incurred significant disruption, and are finding a way to help make it right.”

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of US-based venue operator Oak View Group, said “it’s not been the smooth start we had planned for, and I know that has caused a huge amount of disruption and frustration to thousands of people”.

“On behalf of all of us at Oak View Group, I’d like to express my sincere apologies to all those that have been affected.

“We understand that there is work to be done to rebuild your trust in us.

“This starts now and at the request of the naming rights partner, The Co-op Group, we will be addressing impact on affected ticket holders, details of which will be shared soon.”

Bolton-born stand-up Peter Kay was scheduled to be the first performer at the new venue but his show had to be postponed with less than 48 hours’ notice following a test event.

The rescheduled dates at the end of April were rescheduled again – to May 23 and 24 – alongside dates for The Black Keys because the venue had to undertake “extensive protocol of testing critical procedures to ensure all areas are ready for fans”.

So far only a test event by Rick Astley has gone ahead.

The arena’s general manager, Gary Roden, announced his resignation last month following the slew of issues that led to the delays in the venue opening.

A Co-op Group spokesperson said: “Co-op is a sponsor and does not own or run the venue, and we have made it clear to Oak View Group, who are responsible for the building, that the impact on ticketholders must be addressed as a priority.

“We are pleased that they will shortly be putting plans in place to do so.”

They added that safety checks would be independently verified so Co-op members and other ticket holders “can be reassured that the venue has the very highest levels of security and safety measures”.

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