New York: Radio City Music Hall

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Tonight’s concert at the famed and very grand Radio City Music Hall is the first of three shows in New York before the North American leg concludes with back-to-back performances at Madison Square Garden.

This is where David kicked off the North American leg of his On an Island tour in April 2006.

And what a place it is. It’s not been dubbed “the Showplace of the Nation” for nothing, you know.

The iconic, opulent Art Deco venue, with instruments depicted in its lobby carpet within a symmetrical patchwork of rectangles (be sure to take a look), is the world’s largest indoor theatre – its marquee a full city-block long – with an auditorium measuring 160 feet from its back wall to the stage and an incredibly high ceiling reaching some 84 feet. It’s little wonder that its stage demands the world’s largest stage curtain.

(Its “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ is the largest ever built for a movie theatre, too.)

The Great Stage, 65 feet deep and 144 feet wide, is framed by a huge proscenium arch which measures 60 feet high, 100 feet wide and is truly a sight to behold: resembling a setting sun with that giant, majestic stage curtain sparkling shimmering gold, amber lighting enhances the effect.

Opened in late December 1932, the vast hall was originally used for stage shows and as a movie house for more than 700 film premieres. It is now the country’s leading venue for concerts as well as stage shows and other special attractions (such as the Cirque du Soleil and the NFL Draft, to give just two recent examples), as well as home to the historic, high-kicking precision dance team – the Radio City Rockettes.

In addition to the many legendary performers who have utilised that enormous stage down the years (big enough to fit a regulation-size professional basketball court, which has in fact been done), there have been major televised events: the Grammy, Tony and MTV Video Music Awards, even America’s Got Talent.

Would you believe that this sumptuous place, reminiscent of a luxury ocean liner, was almost demolished in 1978? Thankfully it was given landmark status by the New York City Landmarks and Preservation Commission, which prohibited alteration to its glamorous interior without the Commission’s approval.

Will you be there tonight? Let us know. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, as this video illustrates.