Billings books Elton John

The arena will not be completed by show time
2011-02-07T14:08:00Z 2011-02-12T09:36:02Z Billings books Elton John5:01 Bloggers The Billings Gazette
February 07, 2011 2:08 pm  • 

It's Elton!

MetraPark's general manager Bill Dutcher announced Monday afternoon that Elton John is performing at Rimrock Auto Arena on Sunday, April 10.

The arena will not be completed by then, but Dutcher assured county commissioners, MetraPark board members and other officials Monday that concert promoters AEG Live have approved the facility for the show. Since the main entrance into the arena will not be finished, fans will use the exhibit hall entrance on the lower west side of the arena.

“After 30-some years looking up at the same ceiling, it's nice to look at all those new steel beams,” Dutcher said. “With all the acoustic work, ductwork, and new house sound system, our sound will be nicely improved.”

Dutcher said the new ceiling beams will hold 130,000 pounds of equipment, which compares with the old rigging that held 85,000 pounds of sound and light equipment for the Eagles show several years ago.

Dutcher said MetraPark has been working on booking John for more than three years. John performed in Missoula twice in 2009 and also played shows in Bozeman and Casper, Wyo., in recent years, disappointing Billings fans who blamed MetraPark for not securing a date for John.

“This concert will celebrate all the effort that has gone into rebuilding our venue after last summer's tornado,” Dutcher said.

Tickets for Elton John are $29, $79 and $129. They go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. at the MetraPark box office, temporarily located in the Montana Pavilion, online at metrapark.com, by phone at 800-366-8538 or 256-2422, or at Rimrock Mall or Cellular Plus stores. There is an eight-ticket limit per person.

Numbered wristbands are available starting Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Montana Pavilion and will be available through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will also be available from 8 to 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Montana Pavilion.

Full concessions, including beer, will be for sale at the concert. A job fair will be held in March to hire workers to staff the arena.

It will be the first concert at MetraPark's Rimrock Auto Arena since a tornado blew the roof off the building on Father's Day in June 2010. Yellowstone County commissioner Jim Reno is heading a committee to prepare a celebration for MetraPark's grand reopening with a shindig set for June 19, which is Father's Day.

“If there's even a cloud in the sky that day, we're canceling,” Reno joked.

John's classic songs include “Your Song,” “Daniel,” “Rocket Man,” and “Bennie and the Jets.” “The Union,” John and Leon Russell's new album, has been nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for the single “If It Wasn't For Bad.”

John is one of the world's top-selling solo artists of all time, with 35 gold and 25 platinum albums.

He holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time, “Candle in the Wind,” which has sold 37 million copies. Since his career began in 1969, John has played 3,000 concerts.

Contact Jaci Webb at 657-1359 or jwebb@billingsgazette.com

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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