Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG, and known colloquially as The Garden, has been the name of four arenas in New York City. It is also the name of the entity which owns the arena and several of the professional sports franchises which play there. There have been four incarnations of the arena. The first two were located at the Northeast corner of Madison Square (Madison Ave. & 26th St.) from which the arena derived its name. Subsequently a new 17,000-seat Garden (opened December 15, 1925) was built at 50th Street and 8th Avenue, and the current Garden (opened February 14, 1968) is at 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.
The arena lends its name to the Madison Square Garden Network, and sister channel MSG Plus, two cable television networks that broadcast most sporting events that are held in the Garden, as well as concerts and entertainment events that have taken place at the venue.
It is controlled by the Madison Square Garden, L.P. subsidiary of Cablevision.
Madison Square Garden calls itself "The World's Most Famous Arena".
Madison Square Garden derives its name from the park where the first two gardens were located (Madison Square
) on Madison Avenue
at 26th Street
. As the venue moved to new locations the name still stuck, although since 1925 Madison Square Garden has been neither a garden nor on Madison Square.
The location of the first Madison Square Garden (now known as Madison Square Garden I), was at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. The site was formerly occupied by the passenger depot of the New York and Harlem Railroad. When the depot was moved to what is now the site of Grand Central Terminal in 1871, the old depot was sold to P.T. Barnum who converted it into "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome." In 1876 Barnum's was converted into "Gilmore's Garden," an open air arena named in honor of Patrick Gilmore. Gilmore was America's most well-known bandmaster at the time. His most famous composition was "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
Finally, Gilmore's Garden was renamed "Madison Square Garden" by William Henry Vanderbilt and the facility was reopened to the public on May 31, 1879. The first Garden was originally designed for the sport of track cycling. This is still remembered in the name of the Madison event.
The second Madison Square Garden (now known as Madison Square Garden II), also located at 26th and Madison Avenue was designed by Stanford White, who would later be killed at the Garden's rooftop restaurant. White kept an apartment in the tower; there are conflicting accounts of whether the famous "red velvet swing" was located there, or in a nearby building on 24th Street.
The new structure was by of Moorish architecture with a minaret-like tower soaring 32 stories over Madison Square Park and was the city's second tallest building. The Garden's main hall, which was the largest in the world, measured 200 by with permanent seating for 8,000 people and floor space for thousands more.
Topping the garden was a statue of Diana, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The original bronze statue was . tall and weighed ., but spun with the wind. It was placed on top of the tower in 1891, but was soon thought to be too large by Saint-Gaudens and White, the architect. (It was removed and placed on top of a building at The World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago - the bottom half was destroyed by a fire after the close of the Exhibition, and the top half was lost.) In 1893 a gilded, hollow copper, 2nd version of Diana, replaced the original on top of the Garden tower. This 2nd version was . tall and is now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a copy is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Saint-Gaudens made several smaller variants in bronze, one of which was on display in the entryway of Madison Square Garden III, and also in a similar location in the current Garden, MSG IV.
It hosted the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which nominated John W. Davis after 103 ballots. Afterwards, it was torn down to make way for the landmark New York Life Insurance Building.
White was a member of the architecture firm McKim, Mead and White which designed Pennsylvania Station which was torn down to make way for MSG IV. The firm also designed the James Farley Post Office which is being proposed as the anchor for the proposed new Pennsylvania Station. The New York Life Insurance Company decided to demolish Madison Square Garden.
The third garden, now known as Madison Square Garden III, was built on 50th Street and Eighth Avenue by boxing promoter Tex Rickard and was dubbed "The House That Tex Built." The New York Rangers, owned by Rickard, got their name from a wordplay on his name (Tex's Rangers). It was built in 249 days on the site of the city's streetcar barns. However, the Rangers were not the first NHL team to play at the Garden; the New York Americans had begun play in 1925 and were so wildly successful at the gate that Rickard wanted his own team as well. The Rangers were founded in 1926 and both teams played at the Garden until the Americans folded in 1942, the Rangers having stolen their commercial success with their own success on the ice (winning three Stanley Cups between 1928 and 1940). This was the basis for the Curse of 1940 that supposedly prevented the Rangers from winning the Stanley Cup again until 1994.
While the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had debuted at the Garden in 1919, the third Garden saw large numbers of performances. The circus was so important to the Garden that when the Rangers played in the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals, the team was forced to play all games on the road (the Rangers won the series anyway). The circus would continue to perform as often as three times daily, repeatedly knocking the Rangers out of the Garden at playoff time, throughout the life of the third Garden. Even at the fourth Garden, games would have to begin as late as 9:00 p.m. to accommodate the circus. The Circus Acrobatics were very dramatic including acts in the Rings as well as on the high wire and trapeze. One dramatic act which was only performed in the Garden, and not taken on the road with the traveling Circus, involved Blinc Candlin, a Hudson, New York fireman, who rode his (already antique) 1880s High Wheel bicycle on the high wire every season for over 2 decades starting in the 1910s and running well through the 1930s.
Boxing was Madison Square Garden III's principal claim to fame. The building exterior in contrast to the ornate towers of the first two Garden was a simple box. Its most distinctive feature was its ornate marquee that was above the main entrance, with its seemingly endless abbreviations (Tomw., V/S, Rgrs, Tonite, Thru, etc.) Even the name was abbreviated: Madison Sq. Garden. On January 17, 1941, 23,190 people witnessed Fritzie Zivic successful welterweight defense against Henry Armstrong. That is the biggest attendance record of any of the Gardens. MSG III was featured prominently in the 2005 Ron Howard film Cinderella Man (although exterior montage shots glorified it by placing it against the Times Square signs on Broadway when it was in fact one block west).
It hosted the only indoor bout in the career of Jack Dempsey. It cost $4.75 million to build; this one hosted seven NCAA men's basketball championships between 1943 and 1950.
City College of New York (CCNY) was one of the first schools banned from playing at MSG due to the 1951 CCNY Point Shaving Scandal.
It also hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1954 and 1955. Ironically one type of event that was never held in the 50th St. MSG (except in the movies) was a national Democratic or Republican nominating convention as neither of these parties met in New York to select their candidates for President and Vice President of the United States between 1924 and 1976.
The third Garden had poor sightlines, especially for hockey, and fans sitting in the upper deck could count on having some portion of the ice obstructed, unless they sat in the first row. The fact that there was poor ventilation and that smoking was permitted often led to a haze in the upper portions of the Garden.
When it was torn down, there was a proposal to build the world's tallest building on its site prompting a major battle in its Hell's Kitchen neighborhood that ultimately resulted in strict height restrictions. The space remained a parking lot though until 1989 when Worldwide Plaza designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill opened.
Madison Square Garden Bowl
Madison Square built an open air arena, the Madison Square Garden Bowl at 48th and Northern Boulevard in Long Island City in 1932 that could seat 72,000. This was the site where James Braddock defeated Max Baer for the World Heavyweight title on June 13, 1935 that was dramatized in the film Cinderella Man. Braddock was born on West 48th Street in Hell's Kitchen just a few blocks from the West 49th Street location of MSG III. Braddock's first comeback fight against John "Corn" Griffin was also in the venue. Jack Sharkey and Primo Carnera also captured the heavyweight crown in the 1930s at the Madison Square Garden Bowl.
The bowl was torn down after World War II to make way for U.S. Steel and Ronzoni Macaroni Company factories. They in turn were torn down and the area is now home to a shopping center.
On February 11
Madison Square Garden IV opened after the Pennsylvania Railroad
tore down the above-ground portions of Pennsylvania Station
and continued railway traffic underneath. The new structure was one of the first of its kind to be built above an active railroad system and the platforms of an active railroad station. It was an engineering feat constructed by R.E. McKee of El Paso, Texas.
Public outcry over the demolished Beaux-Arts structure led to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The current Garden is the hub of Madison Square Garden Center in the office and entertainment complex formally addressed as Pennsylvania Plaza and commonly known as "Penn Plaza" for the railroad station atop which the complex is located.
In 1972, the Garden's Chairman, Irving Mitchell Felt, suggested moving the Knicks and the Rangers to what was a proposed venue in the New Jersey Meadows (now completed and known as Meadowlands Sports Complex or Izod Center.) This location now hosts its own NBA team (New Jersey Nets) and from 1981–2007, the NHL's New Jersey Devils. The NFL's New York Giants were the only established New York-named team that actually did move there, and they were later joined by the Jets. Felt's efforts fueled controversy between the Garden and New York City over Real Estate Tax. The scenario again flared in 1980 when a reported threat by the Garden supposed a similar move of popular sports teams in an effort to again challenge property tax. Efforts were ignored by city leaders.
MSG was the home arena for the NY Raiders/NY Golden Blades of the World Hockey Association.
In 1991, Garden owners spent $200 million to renovate facilities and add 89 suites. The process involved hundreds of upper-tier seats being removed to make way. The project was designed by Ellerbe Becket.
In 2004–2005 Cablevision (the Garden's owner) battled with the City of New York over proposed West Side Stadium which would compete with the Garden. New stadium proposals halted; and Cablevision announced its own plans to raze the Garden, replace it with high-rise commercial buildings and build a new Garden one block away at the James Farley Post Office site in conjunction with the Moynihan Station project. However, on April 3, 2008 MSG executives announced plans to once again renovate and modernize the current Garden in time for the Knicks and Rangers' 2011–12 seasons, though the vice president of the Garden says he remains committed to the original Moynihan project - the installation of an extension of Penn Station in the Farley Post Office.
The present Garden hosts approximately 320 events a year but it is best known as the home of the New York Rangers of the NHL; the New York Knicks of the NBA and their sister operation the New York Liberty of the WNBA. The aforementioned professional sports teams play their home games in the arena and are owned by the Garden itself. It also hosts the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus when it comes to New York City (although the Izod Center and Nassau Coliseum also host the circus each year), selected home games for the St. John's men's Red Storm (college basketball), the Big East Men's Basketball Conference Tournament, the annual pre and postseason NIT tournaments, the NBA Draft, the Millrose Games athletics meet, and almost any other kind of indoor activity that draws large audiences, such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the 2004 Republican National Convention. It has previously hosted the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions, and hosted the NFL Draft for many years (now held at Garden-leased Radio City Music Hall). In 2008, all five home games for the New York Titans will be played at the Garden. The "sixth" home game will be at Sovereign Bank Arena in
Trenton, New Jersey. The other two games were lost to the Buffalo Bandits and the Toronto Rock due to scheduling difficulties following the cancellation and subsequent resurrection of the 2008 NLL Season.
MSG hosted the 1994 NHL All-Star Game and 1998 NBA All-Star Game, three WNBA All-Star Games (1999, 2003 and 2006), and a portion of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment considers it a home arena as well, due to the fact that all generations of the McMahon family, including Vince McMahon's father and grandfather, have promoted shows at the Garden. MSG has hosted several WrestleMania and SummerSlam events, two Survivor Series events and the 2000 and 2008 Royal Rumble. More WWE Championships have been won at MSG than any other arena. WWE's strong relationship with Madison Square Garden prevented competitor World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from ever having a show at the Garden. In 2005, WWE severed business ties with the arena because WWE felt that increased rental costs would prevent them from making a profit in the building. However, over a year later, World Wrestling Entertainment temporarily patched things up with MSG and the hiatus ended with a September 11, 2006 edition of Raw and HEAT. Though they pulled the 20th installment of SummerSlam, which would have been held at the Garden on August 26 2007. (It was held at the Continental Airlines Arena) WWE continues to make occasional appearances at MSG, and returned for the 2008 Royal Rumble in January.
MSG is also known for its place in the history of boxing. Many of boxing's biggest fights were held at Madison Square Garden, including many of Joe Louis, the Roberto Duran-Ken Buchanan affair, and the first Joe Frazier–Muhammad Ali bout. In March 1947, Herbie Kronowitz of Brooklyn and Artie Levine of Cleveland thrilled a crowd of 12,000 during a 10-round battle between the two Jewish fighters. Levine won the decision, although Kronowitz claimed that while Levine "won the decision. There was no question that I won the fight." Before promoters such as Don King and Bob Arum moved boxing to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden was considered the mecca of boxing. The original 18½' × 18½' ring, which was brought from the second and third generation of the Garden, was officially retired on September 19, 2007 and donated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame after 82 years of service. A 20' × 20' ring replaced it beginning on October 6 of that same year.
Many large popular-music concerts in New York City take place in Madison Square Garden. Particularly famous ones include George Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh, The Concert for New York City following the September 11 attacks and John Lennon's final concert appearance before his murder in 1980. The Garden usually hosts a concert each year on New Years Eve, with the Knicks and Rangers usually playing on the road.
Many musical acts released seminal live albums recorded at MSG, including, Paul McCartney, Luis Miguel, Shania Twain, Jay-Z, Led Zeppelin, Fania All Stars, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Joel, Phish, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Mary J Blige, U2, The Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, Shakira, Slayer, Kelly Rowland, Gareth Gates, Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Spice Girls, The Who, Beyonce, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Barbra Streisand, RBD, and Se7en. Other artists, yet including Led Zeppelin and others such as Janet Jackson, Pearl Jam, Mariah Carey, O.A.R., Marc Anthony and Victor Manuelle have released DVDs showing their live performances at the Garden. Some of these releases, such as by Cream and Michael Jackson, show special anniversary or reunion concerts at the venue. An extensive list of live performances played at the venue is included below.
The arena is also used for other special events, including tennis and circus events. The New York Police Academy, New York University, Baruch College/CUNY and Yeshiva University also hold their annual graduation ceremonies at Madison Square Garden. It has become the New York site of the annual Grammy Awards (which are normally held in Los Angeles) and hosted the 2005 Country Music Association Awards (normally held in Nashville).
The Big East Conference men's basketball tournament has been held at MSG every year since 1983 making it the longest period a conference tournament has been held at a single location.
Seating in the present Madison Square Garden is arranged in six ascending levels. The first level, available for basketball games and concerts, but not for hockey games, is the "floor" or "court-side" seating. Next above this is the loge seating, followed by the 100-level and 200-level promenades, the 300-level promenade, and the 400-level or mezzanine. The seats of these levels originally bore the colors red
, and blue
, respectively. For hockey, the Garden seats 18,200; for basketball, 19,763; and for concerts
20,000 center stage, 19,522 end-stage. The arena features 20,976 square feet (1949 m²) of arena floor space.
Because all of the seats, except the 400 level, are in one monolithic grandstand, distance from the arena floor is significant from the ends of the arena. Also, the rows rise much more gradually than other North American arenas, which can cause impaired sightlines, especially when sitting behind tall spectators or one of the concourses.
Today's Madison Square Garden is more than just the arena. Other venues at the Garden include:
- The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, which seats between 2,000 and 5,600 for concerts and can also be used for meetings, stage shows, and graduation ceremonies, and was also the traditional home of the NFL Draft until 2005, when it moved to the Jacob Javits Convention Center after MSG management opposed a new stadium for the New York Jets. It also occasionally hosts major boxing matches on nights when the main arena is unavailable. No seat is more than 177 feet (54 m) from the -by-64-foot stage. The theatre has a relatively low ceiling at stage level and all of its seating except for boxes on the two side walls is on one level slanted back from the stage. There is an lobby at the theater. When the current Garden opened in 1968, the Theater was known as the Felt Forum, in honor of then president Irving Felt. In the early 1990s, it was renamed the Paramount to be the successor to the Paramount Theater (New York City) in Times Square which had been converted to an office tower (the name change being due to the fact that Paramount Communications (which had previously been known as Gulf+Western) owned the Garden during this period). The theater received its next name of The Theater at Madison Square Garden in the mid-90s, after Viacom bought Paramount, and sold the MSG properties to a group consisting of ITT and Cablevision, which each owned 50% of the Garden. In 1997, ITT sold their share to Cablevision, giving the cable company full control of the venue. The fall 1999 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament as well as a Celebrity Jeopardy! competition were held at the theater. In 2004, it was the venue of the Survivor: All Stars finale. On May 17, 2007, the theater received its current name due to a naming rights deal with Washington Mutual. Since Washington Mutual is no longer a bank after being seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision and FDIC and sold to JP Morgan Chase, it is currently unknown as to the fate of the name WaMu Theater.
- The Expo Center (formerly known as "The Rotunda") is used for trade shows, cat shows, stamp shows, often in combination with the arena, banquets, and receptions.
- A terrace and two restaurants: the Garden Club and the Play-by-Play.
Other corporate operations
In addition to the Garden itself, Madison Square Garden, L.P. also operates two theaters in Manhattan: Radio City Music Hall
and the Beacon Theater
. In 2008, they took over operations of the Chicago Theatre
, marking the first time MSG has operated a facility outside New York City area.
Past Corporate Operations
Madison Square Garden also used to operate the XL Center
(formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center) and Rentschler Field
under contract with the state of Connecticut until the 2007 season when it was replaced by Northland/Anschutz Entertainment Group
The XL Center, an indoor arena in Hartford, Connecticut, is home to the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The arena also serves as the part-time home of the men's and women's basketball teams of the University of Connecticut.
Rentschler Field, a stadium in East Hartford, hosts UConn's college football team. It was built for the University of Connecticut after a plan to build a larger stadium that would have accommodated both the Huskies and New England Patriots fell through. It also hosts various concerts and soccer matches.
- February 12, 1879 - The first artificial ice rink in North America opens at the Garden.
- 1902 - The first indoor professional American football game is played.
- 1934 - The first college basketball game at the Garden is played, between the University of Notre Dame and New York University.
- February 28, 1940 - Basketball is televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh).
- March 19, 1954 - Joey Giardello knocks out Willie Tory in round seven at the Garden in the first televised prize boxing fight shown in color.
- February 8, 10, 11, 1979 - The Challenge Cup, a three-game series between the All-Stars of the National Hockey League and the Soviet National Team took place at the Garden. The Soviets won, two games to one.
- January 23, 1984 - Hulk Hogan wins the World Wrestling Federation Championship from The Iron Sheik in five minutes, 40 seconds. The victory kicks off the pop culture movement known as Hulkamania, and ushers in a golden age for the sport of professional wrestling.
- November 8, 1984 - Michael Jordan plays his first game as a professional at MSG, and drops 33 against the Knicks. He left midway through the 4th quarter of this game to a standing ovation from the awe-struck crowd. Over the course of the 90's, the Knicks-Bulls would have a heated rivalry in many postseasons, with the Bulls always coming out on top while Jordan was in uniform.
- March 31, 1985 - The World Wrestling Federation (today known as World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE), presents the inaugural WrestleMania. The annual event would return to Madison Square Garden in 1994 and 2004 for WrestleMania X and WrestleMania XX, celebrating the 10th and 20th anniversaries of WrestleMania.
- August 29, 1988 - The WWE presents the first SummerSlam event. The annual events would return to Madison Square Garden for SummerSlam 1991 and SummerSlam 1998.
- June 14, 1994 - In the most-watched NHL game, and after 54 years, the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup at Madison Square Garden. It is the first time that a Stanley Cup has been won by the Rangers at the Garden.
- June 29, 1997 - The New York Liberty professional women's basketball team plays its first home game - the first WNBA game to be played at Madison Square Garden.
- March 1, 2003 - Quinnipiac University defeats the University of Connecticut 4-3 in the first college hockey game played at Madison Square Garden since 1977.
- July 13 - 15, 2007 - Popular Boston-based indie band Dispatch, sold out MSG for three nights in a row and became the first independent band to either headline, or sell out MSG.
- June 23, 2008 - Coldplay played the first free show ever at the Garden in support of their album Viva La Vida.
Political and social events
Throughout its long history, the Garden has been involved in its share of historical events. These events have included famous political
rallies and celebrations.
- The 1924, 1976, 1980, and 1992 Democratic National Conventions were held at MSG.
- On February 20, 1939, A large German-American Bund convention was held prompting riots and protests in and around the arena by American Jews and others.
- Former Republican Party presidential candidate Wendell Willkie led 20,000 African-Americans on June 7, 1943, the largest Civil Rights rally of its time, in calling for equal rights and for victory in the war against Hitler.
- President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration took place at the Garden on May 19, 1962. During it, Marilyn Monroe sang her now infamous Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
- On July 1, 1982 Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon held a Blessing Ceremony in the Garden for 2075 couples. This event attracted much public and media attention (including a story in Life Magazine), often being called a "mass wedding."
- The 2004 Republican National Convention at MSG marked the first time that the Republican party held their convention in New York City.
Concerts and live performances
Since 1968, Madison Square Garden has been host to a number of concerts and live performances.
Listed in chronological order with name of artist and date of performance
- The Rolling Stones 1970 live album Get Yer Ya Ya's Out was made with the band's performances at MSG on November 27 and 28th 1969, during their legendary 1969 North American Tour.
- A twelve-act show dubbed the Winter Festival for Peace took place at MSG on January 28, 1970.
- On August 1, 1971, George Harrison held his Concert For Bangladesh. This historic event was the first special benefit concert to raise funds for charity (in this case, the country of Bangladesh, which was at that time in a severe and desperate state). There were two concerts held that day, with one taking place at 2:30pm and the other at 7:00 pm. The show featured artists such as Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, and Klaus Voormann, to name a few. A live album of the concert was released in 1972.
- In June 1972 Elvis Presley made his first and only appearances in New York City at the Garden. Elvis played four shows to 80,000 people, which at the time was a record for the venue. A week after the shows an album of the Saturday evening performance was rushed to release making it the fastest turnaround between a live performance and its recorded release. To mark the 25th anniversary of Elvis' Garden shows, a recording of the Saturday afternoon performance was released entitled An Afternoon in the Garden.
- John Lennon performed a concert at The Garden on 30 August 1972 which was professionally recorded and posthumously released on the 1986 album Live in New York City.
- Rick Nelson put MSG into song with his 1972 million seller "Garden Party".
- English rock band Led Zeppelin performed three consecutive, sold-out performances which were filmed and recorded on their live album, and for many years, only live album and accompanying concert film, The Song Remains the Same, at The Garden during their 1973 U.S. tour. Additional footage from these concerts was released in 2003 on the Led Zeppelin DVD.
- In June 1974 The Who played 4 sold-out dates. A single radio announcement during a December 1973 radio broadcast was enough to sell out the shows in a matter of hours.
- In October 13, 1974, to cap his comeback after his retirement in 1971 Frank Sinatra played in front of 20,000 fans at the Garden in a show dubbed "The Main Event" that was broadcast nationally and internationally. The concert was recorded and released along with other concerts as The Main Event – Live
- On November 28, 1974, John Lennon made a surprise guest appearance at an Elton John concert - Lennon's last ever concert appearance. They sang together as a duet on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" and "I Saw Her Standing There". The concert was released as the "There" portion of John's 1976 live album Here and There. Elton John's song "Empty Garden", a beautiful tribute to John Lennon, clearly refers to The Garden.
- In December 1976, The Bee Gees performed at MSG during their Children of the World tour and donated the proceeds to the New York Police Athletic League.
- On February 18, 1977, New York-based rock band Kiss made their Madison Square Garden debut, as part of a world tour supporting their fifth studio album Rock And Roll Over. Kiss have since made The Garden a regular stop on nearly every tour they have made, most notably a four-night sellout in July 1996.
- That same month, English rock band Queen made their Madison Square Garden debut, as part of a world tour supporting their fifth studio album A Day at the Races with opening act Thin Lizzy. Queen would make The Garden a regular stop on every subsequent US tour they would make with their classic lineup (1982's Hot Space tour would be the last tour the original lineup of Queen would play America), most notably a four-night sellout in September 1980.
- Earlier that month, fellow English band Genesis made their Madison Square Garden debut, as part of a world tour supporting their eighth studio album Wind and Wuthering (which was their last tour with guitarist Steve Hackett). Genesis would make The Garden a regular stop on every subsequent US tour they would make (save the 1992 We Can't Dance tour), most notably ex-lead singer Peter Gabriel joining the band for an encore in July 1978.
- In June 1977, Led Zeppelin performed six sold out concerts at The Garden. The band spent no money on advertising for the gigs, relying on street demand to sell out the shows. Enough ticket applications were received to sell out a further two nights, had time permitted.
- In July 1977, English rock band Pink Floyd performed at MSG for the first time in their then ten year recording career, playing four consecutive sold out nights from July 1 through July 4 on the final North American dates on their Animals tour. The show on July 1 saw problems between the band and local lighting technicians, whom they had to use instead of their own lighting crew due to union technicalities, and on July 3 when fans lit off fireworks which disrupted the Pink Floyd's performance. The band (minus Roger Waters) would not play the venue again until the 1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour, when the shows ran a lot more smoothly.
- On June 17 1978 reggae superstar Bob Marley raised the profile of reggae music in America with his performance at the Garden. In 1980 Marley played two concerts at the venue as the opener of The Commodores; the performances were sold out, but the Garden was almost empty after Marley's show. The day after Marley, already fatally ill, collapsed while jogging in Central Park and performed one last concert in Pittsburgh before canceling the tour. Marley died months later of cancer.
- In October 1978 Jethro Tull filmed a concert at this venue on their Bursting Out tour which aired on television. Some parts were released on the re-issued Thick as a Brick album and various concert videos. These concerts were of note as Tull's leader Ian Anderson's friend Tony Williams filled in for then-Tull bass player John Glascock, who was suffering from ailing health (Glascock would pass away in 1979).
- During Queen's show in November 1978 the band had numerous naked women on stage riding bicycles during their song "Bicycle Race" This stunt attracted considerable media attention.
- The same year, Chicago based rockers Styx performed here for the first time on their Pieces of Eight tour. They would play there again on the Grand Decathlon and Paradise Theatre tours in 1979 and 1981.
- In September 1979, Musicians United for Safe Energy (a.k.a. MUSE) held a series of five No Nukes concerts at the Garden. Performers included Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, The Doobie Brothers, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Chaka Khan, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The concerts were documented in an album, No Nukes: The MUSE Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future, and a 1980 feature film titled No Nukes.
- Woodstock '79: a rock concert in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival.
- Also, Supertramp would play here on their Breakfast in America tour in 1979 (at the time they played their album was at #1 in the US) and would subsequently play there on their ...Famous Last Words... tour in 1983.
- In May 1981 Rush performed at MSG for the first time in their then seven year career on their Moving Pictures tour. The band would subsequently perform here again in 1982 (two shows on their Signals tour), 1984, 1988, 1991, 1994 (two shows on their Counterparts tour), 2002 and as recent as September 2007.
- In December 1981 AC/DC performed at MSG for the first time in their then seven year career on their For Those About to Rock We Salute You tour. The band would subsequently perform here again on every subsequent US tour.
- In October of 1982 Judas Priest played MSG for the first time in their career on their 1982 North American tour in supporet of their US breakthrough album Screaming for Vengeance. The band would not ever play the venue again after they were banned from the venue after fans destroyed seats during one of their shows on the band's 1984 Defenders of the Faith tour.
- On New Year's Eve, 1982 Billy Joel played his first sold out new year's eve concert as well as ended his Nylon Curtain tour on the same night at The Garden.
- In September 1983 Iron Maiden headlined at MSG for the first time in their career on their World Piece '83 tour (they previously played MSG a year earlier as opener for fellow British heavy metal band Judas Priest). Iron Maiden would subsequently perform here again in 1986, 1988, 1990, 2000 and 2006.
- In 1985 Madonna finished The Virgin Tour with two sold out shows.
- On May 14, 1988, the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary celebrations were held at The Garden, consisting of a non-stop concert lasting almost 13 hours. Those performing included Led Zeppelin, Yes, Genesis, Iron Butterfly, The Rascals, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Foreigner, Paul Rodgers, Bob Geldof, Booker T. Jones, Wilson Pickett, The Coasters, The Spinners, Peabo Bryson, Dan Aykroyd, Roberta Flack, Manhattan Transfer, Debbie Gibson, The Bee Gees, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Ben E. King, and Vanilla Fudge.
- Comedian Andrew Dice Clay became the first comic to do two sold out shows in a row in 1991 in a film entitled Dice Rules.
- In August 1991 Thrash Metal band Metallica throw a free listening party for the black album for fans only.
- During the New York stops for her 1993 tour, Girlie Show, Madonna performed 2 sold-out nights.
- In 1993 Luis Miguel became the first Latin artist to sell out at the Garden and received a special recognition during the middle of the show.
- In 1994 Barbra Streisand did six shows here and recorded her album The Concert here.
- In 1994 Scoob Lover, Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls), Tupac Shakur, Shyheim and Big Daddy Kane freestyled live.
- On 10 October, 1995, Mariah Carey performed at The Garden, which was filmed and released on the DVD/Home Video Fantasy: Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden.
- On December 31, 1995, rock band Phish performed for a sellout crowd and played a show that was later called one of "the Greatest Concerts of the 90s" by Rolling Stone magazine. It was recorded and released on December, 20th 2005 to commemorate the show's 10th anniversary as a three disc set entitled: Phish: New Year's Eve 1995 - Live at Madison Square GardenThe band also sold out a show the night before & three new year's shows in 1997, four in 1998, & a hiatus-ending NYE show in 2002.
- On November 25, 1996 the hard rock band Stone Temple Pilots performed an extended set at The Garden in support of their third album Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. Most notably, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of the rock band Aerosmith joined the band midway through the show to perform the Aerosmith songs "Sweet Emotion" and "Lick and a Promise."
- On July 1, 1998 the Spice Girls played Madison Square Garden, after selling out the venue in 12 minutes, the shortest time ever for a band to sell out the venue.
- On July 16, 1998, Page and Plant performed a concert at The Garden.
- On Sunday, October 11, 1998, Janet Jackson performed her Velvet Rope concert live on HBO. R&B artist Usher was her opening act, hip-hop star Q-Tip made a guest performance, and former Secretary of State General Colin Powell made a special appearance.
- Billy Joel played a four-hour concert for New Year's 1999, dubbed 'The Night of Two Thousand Years." Two songs from this concert were broadcast live on ABC-TV as part of the ABC 2000 news program. Highlights from the show were also used for the live album 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert.
- TLC performed at the Garden on January 21, 1999
- Former boy-band NSYNC sold out two concerts at the Garden in May 2000 for their No Strings Attached Tour, which was later released on DVD, titled simply "NSYNC Live From Madison Square Garden"
- Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters sold out two concerts at the Garden in June 2000 for his In the Flesh Live tour.
- New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen sold out a then-record 10-night stand at the Garden in June and July 2000. Highlights of the show were used for his live CD/DVD Live In New York City.
- Barbra Streisand set the highest grossing event at MSG with her two "farewell" concerts on September 27-28, 2000.
- Elton John recorded a live performance and MSG called Elton John One Night Only - The Greatest Hits. The album was recorded on October 20, and 21, 2000, an extended version was also released as a DVD.
- The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special took place on September 7 and 10th, 2001. Including various artists from Usher to Whitney Houston. Notable for the performance of the Jackson 5
- During the New York stops for her 2001 tour, Drowned World Tour, Madonna performed 5 sold-out nights.
- On October 20, 2001 The Garden played host to "The Concert for New York City" after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The benefit was as famous for its emotional performances by Billy Joel and The Who.
- On October 24, 2002 Canadian rock band Rush sold out Madison Square Garden the band's first tour in nearly six years. The band was awarded on stage from the Recording Industry Association of American for shipments of 25 million in the United States of America.
- On October 28, 2002 Latin American Mexican rock band Maná performed here for their Revolución de Amor Tour. They also played the following year on October 13, 2003 for the same tour.
- On December 31, 2002 jamband Phish made their triumphant return to the stage after a 2 year hiatus to a loving MSG crowd. This would be their last performance at the garden after the band called it quits in the summer of 2004
- On June 20 & 21, 2003 the Dixie Chicks performed in there Top of the World Tour.
- Pearl Jam's 2003 live DVD Live at the Garden was recorded on July 8, 2003 at The Garden.
- On July 30, 2003 Iron Maiden played the arena alongside fellow Metal bands Dio and Motörhead.
- On November 25, 2003, Jay-Z held a concert at the Garden, which would later be the focus of his film Fade to Black. This concert was his "retirement party." All proceeds went to charity. Other performers included collaborators like The Roots (in the form of his backing band), Missy Elliott, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel, Freeway, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Twista, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Pharrell and R. Kelly with special appearances by Voletta Wallace and Afeni Shakur; the mothers of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur respectively.
- March 14, 2004 witnessed the 20th anniversary of World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania PPV in front of 20,000 fans. The return to MSG for WrestleMania generated more than $2.4 million USD in ticket sales.
- During the New York stops for her 2004 world tour, Re-Invention Tour, Madonna performed 6 sold-out nights.
- June 22, 2005 witnessed British rock band Oasis make their long awaited debut at the Garden, some 10 years into their career. The concert sold out in record time and was later praised by many critics.
- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Garden played host to yet another charity concert. From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, was an event held on September 20, 2005. It has since been referred to as "Apple Easy". The funds raised went to helping rebuild New Orleans after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
- From October 24-26, 2005, Cream played at MSG for their United States reunion. The shows were marred by some controversy in regards to tickets: the show's promoters had made a deal with credit card company American Express to make tickets available to American Express customers only in an unprecedented week-long pre-sale. Ticket scalpers charged high prices for tickets. Nevertheless, the shows were a financial success and received critical praise.
- On November 27, 2005, nu metal band Slipknot performed a sold-out night at the gardens as part of their Vo. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) tour with support from Lamb of God and Shadows Fall .
- In 2006, Billy Joel set a record with a string of 12 sold-out performances, breaking the record of 10 set by Bruce Springsteen in 2000. On night 12 of the stand, MSG raised a #12 to the rafters on top of the Garden to join the numbers of Rangers and Knicks players that have had their numbers retired by their respective teams, making Joel the first ever non-sports individual to have his "number" retired at The Garden. The concerts were released as the album 12 Gardens Live in 2006.
- During the New York stops for her 2006 record-breaking world tour, Confessions Tour, Madonna performed 6 sold-out nights, grossing $16,507,855.
- Barbra Streisand performed her two Streisand: The Tour concerts here on October 9 and 11, 2006.
- On November 12, 2006, comedian Dane Cook performed two sold out shows in one night.
- On December 1, 2006, comedy rock band Tenacious D, featuring actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass performed at MSG in their first headlining concert at a major American arena, with comedian Neil Hamburger the unlikely opener.
- On January 27, 2007, O.A.R. performed a sold out show.
- On March 14 and March 15, 2007 Latin American Mexican rock band Maná performed here for there Amar es Combatir Tour.
- On March 23, 2007, Christina Aguilera came to the Madison Square Garden in NYC with the Back to Basics Tour.
- On March 24, 2007, soca artist Machel Montano performed two sold out shows in one night.
- On March 25, 2007, Elton John celebrated his 60th birthday and 60th Sold Out concert at Madison Square Garden. In honor of this achievement an Elton John #60 banner was raised to the rafters.
- On May 30, 2007, Roger Waters played for the second time at MSG in a year.
- On August 4 & August 5 2007 R&B singer Beyoncé performed 2 sold-out shows part of her 2007 World Tour "The Beyoncé Experience".
- In 2007, Dispatch reunited at MSG and sold out shows on the nights of July 13 14th, and 15th. There was originally supposed to be only one show, but after selling out the first scheduled concert in 15 minutes, the band added another show that sold out in 24 hours, then added a third night on the 15th. These shows were all 100% concerts. Dispatch became the first unsigned band to ever sell out Madison Square Garden.
- On August 22, Ciara and T.I. Performed a sold out show on their Screamfest '07 Tour.
- On August 15 & August 16 2007, Justin Timberlake Performed 2 sold-out Shows on his FutureSex/LoveSounds Tour. A combination of the two dates were made into an HBO Concert of the same name, and on November 13 was released on DVD, named "FutureSex/LoveShow Live From Madison Square Garden".
- On October 9, 2007 Latin American Mexican rock band Maná performed for the second time that year for their Amar es Combatir Tour.
- On December 21 , 2007 R&B singer Chris Brown performed a sold out concert during his The UCP Exclusive Holiday Tour
- On December 22, 2007 "Metal God" Ozzy Osbourne performed in the arena for the first time in over 20 years. At this show fellow hard rock legend Rob Zombie made his first Garden Performance of his career.
- On February 18, 2008 The Spice Girls performed to a sold out audience as apart of their reunion tour.
- On February 19, 2008 The Foo Fighters headlined a Garden show for the first time to a sold out crowd.
- On February 21, 2008, Linkin Park performed for the first time in the Garden to a sold out audience. Jay-Z made a performance with them as well since the Grammy Awards of 2006.
- From February 25-28, 2008 Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood performed three concerts. It was their first full scale live collaboration since Blind Faith almost 40 years earlier.
- On March 17, 2008 Van Halen played there second show at MSG as part of their 2007/2008 World Tour which included Alex, Eddie, and Wolfgang Van Halen along with David Lee Roth.
- On May 2, May 6, and May 7, 2008 Jay-Z and Mary J Blige performed three sold out performances. The May 2 show was scheduled late because the first two sold out in less than two minutes each, and gave fans who did not receive tickets for the other two shows another chance to see the show.
- On May 9, 2008 My Chemical Romance performed a sold out show with Drive By and their long time friends Taking Back Sunday.
- On May 13, 2008 Kanye West performed on that day during his Glow In The Dark Tour
- On May 15, 2008 Kid Rock performed with special guests Reverend Run from RUN-DMC and Peter Wolf from J. Geils Band. Opening for Kid Rock were Rock N Roll Hall of Famers, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Of note: This was Skynyrd's first show ever at the historic Madison Square Garden in the band's 40+ year existence.
- The Eagles performed three nights at MSG as part of there Long Road out of Eden World Tour on May 28, 30, and 31 2008.
- On June 15, 2008 heavy metal band Iron Maiden returned to a sold out show in the Arena for the first time in five years.
- On June 18, 2008 Alicia Keys performed a sold out show with Ne-Yo and Jordin Sparks during As I Am Tour
- On June 24 & 25, 2008, Pearl Jam made a much anticipated return to the arena, their first performance there in five years and sold out both nights within seconds. On both nights C.J. Ramone guest performed and on the second night Ace Freehly guest performed.
- On July 14 & 15, 2008, Bon Jovi wrapped up their Lost Highway Tour there.
- On July, 2008 English musician George Michael performed at MSG for the first time in 17 years, playing two sold out nights on July 21 and July 23. He has performed at MSG during three of his tours: 3 times with the Faith-tour in 1988, 2 times with the Cover to Cover tour in 1991 and now the 25Live tour.
- On August 7, 2008, The Police performed what they describe as their last concert, with The B-52's opening.
- On August 9, 10, & 11 Jonas Brothers will perform on that day with opening act Demi Lovato during their Burning Up Tour
- On September 13, 2008, Japanese rock band X Japan will play their first US concert at the arena as part of their 2008 world tour.(postponed)
- On October 6, 7, 11, and 12, Madonna is set to perform 4 sold out nights at the arena as part of her Sticky & Sweet Tour. Also, the last 2 nights will be filmed in the arena for DVD.
- On October 31st, Luis Miguel is set to perform at the arena as part of his Complices Tour.
- On October, 16, Janet Jackson is set to perform at the arena as part of her Rock Witchu Tour with LL Cool J opening the show.
- My Morning Jacket will perform a New Year's Eve show on December 31, 2008.
Madison Square Garden hosted three WrestleMania
events. It hosted the first WrestleMania in 1985. The event became an annual event and is the biggest event in Sports-Entertainment and in the WWE
. It then hosted WrestleMania X
and returned for WrestleMania XX
which gave $2.4 million USD.
Madison Square Garden hosted other various WWE events. It has already hosted Raw
and Saturday Night's Main Event
and the other four big WWE pay-per-views (Wrestlemania
, Royal Rumble
, Survivor Series
) while it also hosted the first ever Elimination Chamber
match at the 2002 Survivor Series
. It recently hosted the Royal Rumble 2008
, and it set to host Night of Champions
Regular performances and concert records
Traditionally, Madison Square Garden hosts a concert on New Year's Eve
. The Knicks and Rangers usually play on the road that evening. Recent NYE performances include multiple performances by the band Phish (1995, 1997, 1998, 2002), Billy Joel
(1982, 1999), Blues Traveler
(1996), Marc Anthony
& The Flaming Lips
(2004), The Black Crowes
& Trey Anastasio
(2005) and Chris Rock
in 2007. A planned 2003 New Years show by Jane's Addiction
and Marilyn Manson
was cancelled due to low ticket sales. No show was booked for December 31
Since 1985, Irish band U2 has performed 17 shows at the Garden, more than at any other venue, including a combined 8 sold out shows on the 1st and 3rd legs of their most recent Vertigo Tour. Their two performances on the Elevation Tour in October 2001 were considered by many not only among their best concerts ever, but among the best ever at the Garden, with emotions running high after September 11, and Bono inviting dozens of firemen and emergency workers onstage at the end of the performance.
The single artist holding the all-time record for the greatest number of appearances at the Garden is Elton John who has played the arena 60 times. For this feat he has had a banner stating "60" raised up to the ceiling in the arena for his record and age. The band that has played more dates in the Garden than any other is The Grateful Dead, performing at the arena 52 times from 1979 through 1994. Van Halen has also performed at the Garden numerous
Film and television appearances
As an iconic figure, Madison Square Garden has made various appearances in film
and television programs
. It was featured in the 1979 Robert Redford
film The Electric Horseman
. Madison Square Garden is featured in the opening scenes of Highlander
(1986), which included footage of former tag team The Fabulous Freebirds
. (It is worth noting, however, that only the exterior was used; the interior shots were from the then Brendan Byrne Arena
). The Garden's marquee is seen in the 1984 comedy film, Top Secret!
advertising a concert by the protagonist, Nick Rivers. In 1988 it featured scenes in the cult comedy hit Coming to America
Madison Square Garden was the "nest" for the carnivorous Godzilla babies and was later destroyed by F/A-18s in the Americanized version of Godzilla (1998). Madison Square Garden was featured in the films Glitter, Forget Paris, Finding Forrester, and the Adam Sandler remake of Mr. Deeds. In Paternity, Burt Reynolds plays the manager of the Garden. The famous scene from Citizen Kane with Orson Welles standing in front of his giant picture took place in the third Garden (though it was not filmed there).
The Garden was briefly featured in the film Saw II in a photo.
In the movie Rocky III, the rematch between Clubber Lang and Rocky Balboa is in The Garden.
The American sitcom Friends has used shots of Madison Square Garden several times. In the episode The One with George Stephanopoulos, Chandler, Joey, and Ross go to see a Rangers game, in The One with the Late Thanksgiving, Joey and Ross are late to Thanksgiving dinner because they go to see a Rangers game and in The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-Sits Mike proposes to Phoebe on the big screen during a Knicks game. The Garden was also frequently featured on Seinfeld, as characters sporadically attended Rangers or Knicks games; David Putty's face-painting as a fan of the New Jersey Devils features the infamous Blue seats.
The arena has also made various appearances on television. The television series Futurama, set in the year 3000, features "Madison Cube Garden" which appears like a cube standing on one partially-buried corner.
In episode 409 of South Park, Something You Can Do With Your Finger, Cartman has a dream where he, Stan, Kyle and Kenny perform there in their boy band dubbed "Fingerbang". The crowd was completely female.
The garden's front rail was frontside boardslided by skateboarder Brian Anderson in Girl Skateboards' "Yeah Right".
One of the concert venues in the video game Rock Band is a fictitious New York concert hall called "Empire Square Garden", a clear reference to The Garden.
In the anime Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, the character Ryohei Sasagawa, obsessed with boxing said he always saw stars and the Madison Square Garden, even when it was the afternoon.
Madison Square Garden was also featured in Madonna's 2006 CD/DVD I'm Going to Tell You a Secret. The DVD is a documentary that follows Madonna on her 2004 Re Invention Tour.
A scene in the romantic comedy movie "Hitch" starring Will Smith took place at Madison Square Garden during a Knicks basketball game.
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- Anderson, Dave "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; DUES FOR THE CITY". The New York Times, .
- "WaMu Buys Naming Rights to MSG Theater". The Associated Press, .
- "WaMu Theater at MSG". Madison Square Garden, .