ENGLAND (CelebrityAccess) The BBC recently took a look at King’s Hall, Northern Ireland’s biggest concert venue at one time, which is closing its doors.
The venue opened in 1934 and hosted acts like The Beatles, U2, Bob Dylan and David Bowie but last month Belfast City Council’s planning committee approved plans for a £100 million private health care facility on the venue site.
The FAb Four played King’s Hall Nov. 2, 1964, in front of 16,000 fans and, at the time, they were the biggest group in the world and making their second and last visit to Ireland.
“The 1963 visit was a cinema tour and they played at the Ritz, but 1964 was the big one. We ran two shows in the one night at the King’s Hall, which I don’t think has been done too often,” promoter Trevor Kane told the BBC. “We were clearing 8,000 people out of one and getting the next ones in. The top price then was £1.”
Nick Newbery was sent to cover a story on “a band coming to town called The Beatles”, for student magazine The Gown, because another photographer “wasn’t interested.”
“I wasn’t particularly fond of the rock group but they were famous and I had a front row seat,” he told the BBC.
Home-grown heroes like Thin Lizzy held a special place at King’s Hall, according to the BBC, even though their last concert there was derided. U2 performed there in 1987 during the Joshua Tree tour.
“I can’t drive past the King’s Hall now without thinking about that fantastic evening,” fan Paul Duffy, who was lucky enough to meet his heroes, told the BBC. “I’ve seen loads of bands there over the years but to me, U2 and the King’s Hall are synonymous with Belfast. It was just such a magical time.”
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler saw a young band called Nirvana there and it inspired him to start a band.
“It was such a great intro to music,” the singer said. “I had been into metal and stuff before but this was great, really getting into pop tunes. It was a very young crowd and very dramatic show.”
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