Live Nation plays Palladium

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Live Nation has signed a long-term lease to operate, manage and exclusively book the 4,000-capacity Hollywood Palladium.

Bruce Eskowitz, Live Nation's CEO of North American Music, said the lease agreement is part of the company's strategy to accommodate touring acts at all levels.

"Basically, wherever an artist is in their career, we'd like to have a venue in the major markets that can accommodate the right play for them," Eskowitz said in an interview. "We've been working on this for some time."

In Southern California, Live Nation owns and/or operates venues including the Sunset Strip House of Blues (1,000 capacity), the Wiltern Theatre (2,300), Gibson Amphitheatre (6,185), the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine (16,300) and the Hyundai Pavilion near San Bernardino (65,000).

The Los Angeles-based company also holds exclusive booking deals at the Avalon in Hollywood (1,400 capacity), the Long Beach Arena (13,500) and the Honda Center in Anaheim (17,500).

The Palladium, which opened in September 1940 with a concert by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, will immediately undergo an 18-month overhaul with plans to reopen in fall 2008. Planned renovations to the Sunset Boulevard venue include upgrades to the stage infrastructure to accommodate larger productions, a top-to-bottom overhaul of the hall's interior and exterior and additional restrooms and back-of-house space.

"We're working hard to make sure that a lot of the things that made it the Palladium are maintained," Eskowitz said. "The building is in great shape. … We think this is a great addition to Los Angeles and Hollywood, and we can't wait to begin construction."

Mitchell Peters is a correspondent for Billboard.
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