About 100 guests and members of the media looked on Wednesday evening as the ribbon was cut just outside the arena in Visions Bar, opening the new Sands Event Center just before its first concert.
Set adjacent to the Sands casino and hotel on the former Bethlehem Steel site, the new venue boasts 3,500 seats, with all of them 137 feet or less from the stage.
The space was created by Vision Entertainment Group, which was credited by center representatives with it being “a world class entertainment venue.”
Mayor John Callahan praised the new concert space and the people responsible for it, calling it “a huge investment in our city.”
The added that 30 acts are already scheduled to appear at the event center, with more to come.
Geoff Gordon, mid-Atlantic region vice president for concert promoter Live Nation, said he has high hopes for the center's success.
“This is a great area, and I'm proud we're allowed to be here,”Gordon said, adding, “We'll just keep bringing world class entertainment.”
Wielding a huge pair of scissors, Jeff Trainer, president of Vision Entertainment Group cut the ribbon to officially open the new venue, strung appropriately between two guitars.
Incubus, the first band to play the space, played to a full house. Center reps indicated that more than 35,000 tickets have already been sold for upcoming shows, and more than half are already sold out.
Upcoming concerts include performances by Melissa Etheridge, Crosby Stills and Nash, Styx, Yes, the B-52's, and Meatloaf, to name a few.
The Beach Boys will play tonight.