ALBANY, NY (CelebrityAccess) A gala reopening of the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., featuring John Legend and James Taylor was canceled Jan. 21 because of alleged nonpayment by the show’s promoter, John Scher’s Metropolitan Entertainment Consultants.
Bob Belber, GM at the SMG-managed facility, told CelebrityAccess that the situation was “unfortunate,” especially because the gala, scheduled for Jan. 26, was to celebrate $20 million in renovations, specifically for the atrium, and had a number of local politicians and community figureheads coming to the show.
“Last week, we got word that [Metropolitan] did not have the money to pay the deposit so we had to terminate the licensing agreement,” Belber said. “We hoped that [Scher] would come through (with the money) but he just did not have the wherewithal.”
He added that there will be a celebration at some point. The 28-year-old Times Union Center is boasting the results of a 14-month renovation funded through bonds, with the front atrium and the walkway to the Empire State Plaza getting the most attention, according to the Times Union newspaper, which has the naming rights to the building. Renovations to the bathrooms and LED screens on one side of the building’s facade were also included in the $19.8 million Albany County project.
The event, which also featured local singer Moriah Formica, was a fundraiser for the pediatric emergency department at Albany Medical Center Hospital, the paper said.
Scher and his Metropolitan Entertainment are legendary figures in the New York area, and Metropolitan promoted A Perfect Circle at Times Union in November, and even opened the building 28 years ago with Frank Sinatra when the facility was known as the Knickerbocker Arena.
Metropolitan Entertainment provided CelebrityAccess with the following statement:
“Due to unforeseen circumstances the performance scheduled to occur on January 26, 2018 at the Times Union Center in Albany has been cancelled.
“John Scher, president of Metropolitan Entertainment says: ‘We’ve been successfully promoting shows throughout the Northeast for over 35 years including many in the Albany area. Unfortunately, performances often get cancelled for any number of reasons. In this case there were just untenable issues that could not be overcome. In fact, the venue was a full partner on this event and the show was canceled without our input. We wish the Times Union Center the best with their renovations and look forward to continuing to work together. It has certainly come a long way since we presented Frank Sinatra on the opening night of the Knickerbocker Arena 28 years ago.’”
Belber told the paper that the concert was not canceled because of slow ticket sales, saying about 6,000 of the 16,000 seats had been sold over the weekend with the venue in recent days promoting seats at new prices. He added that if the show was close to selling out, SMG would have likely taken on promotion of the show.
Belber noted that the show was technically a co-promote but SMG was promoting “in a small capacity,” according to the paper.