July 31st, 2013
02:53 PM ET
The legendary rock band The Eagles will headline three concerts in January to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Forum, an arena best known as the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The iconic venue was rescued from demolition by the Madison Square Garden Company in its first venture on the West Coast. MSG is sinking $100 million into restoring the Forum, which will become the largest indoor performance venue in the United States.
“As fond as I am of all my memories with The Eagles,” he said, “my fondest memory is a picture of my four-year-old son and six-year-old daughter sitting on each of Magic Johnson’s knees eating popcorn during a Laker game.”
Bandmate Joe Walsh shared another type of memory. “I spent a couple days in the Forum Club one night. I don’t remember a lot about it, but everybody says I had a really good time,” he quipped.
The Eagles played the Forum 11 times (some of which can be heard on the album "Eagles Live"); Led Zeppelin played there a whopping 16 times. Built in 1967, the venue hosted such top tier acts as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Van Halen and Prince before it was purchased by Faithful Central Bible Church in 2000 for a reported 22 million dollars. But that kind of mortgage is hard to keep up when you’re a house of worship.
Several years ago, the Eagles’ manager, Irving Azoff, heard the Forum could be leveled to make room for a housing development. He made an impassioned pitch to his good friend Jim Dolan, who not coincidentally is Executive Chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company.
With flagship properties on the East Coast and in Chicago, Dolan was looking to expand MSG’s footprint to the West Coast. The company now says the Forum is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
And that’s great news for Joe Walsh, who gets a bird’s eye view of the arena every time he flies home to Los Angeles with The Eagles.
“When we come off the road, and we are in a landing pattern and we look down at the Forum, it’s been in a state of disrepair for a long time, and it always made me really sad,” he says. “Southern California has a bad habit of leveling places of significance, and building silly things on top of it. We need some heritage. We need some history. I’m so happy this is here.”
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