Atlantic City casinos’ regional A-list headliner monopoly will be put to rest May 16, the day the Event Center at Sands Casino- Resort in Bethlehem opens with a concert by alt-rockers Incubus. The unit’s date is one of four announced Friday morning. The others are country star Alan Jackson (May 19), Irish rock band Flogging Molly (May 24) and longtime AyCee regular Paul Anka (May 27). More bookings will be announced in the weeks ahead, according to Geoff Gordon, president of Live Nation Philadelphia, the local branch of the national concert-promotion behemoth that also handles booking at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Event Center and Music Box.
The Sands Event Center is designed as a multi-use facility with such programs as conventions, trade shows and family shows expected to be part of the mix along with performances by big-name acts. The state-of-the-art facility’s single-level seating area will accommodate 2,250 people for seated shows and 3,500 for standing-room-only concerts. According to Jeffrey Trainor of Vision Entertainment Group LLC, one of the partners in the Event Center project, the farthest seats in the house—located in seven second-floor luxury boxes—are just 137 seats from the stage. “All seats are good seats,” bragged Trainor.
A unique aspect of the building is Vision Bar, the 12,000-square-foot nightclub that will serve as the hall’s entrance. According to Trainor, the bar will be open hours before a performance as well as for post-show partying. Those without concert tickets will still be able to be part of the scene there (cover charges will be in effect on weekends).
Although Live Nation works with Borgata, Gordon noted the two casinos’ offerings will not be identical. “There will be some [acts] that will be routed through if it makes sense in both markets,” he said. But, he added, the two locales are not monolithic in terms of artistic preferences, so some artists who play one of the casinos won’t automatically be booked at the other.