Technically, the rock band Live opened the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) Stage at Canada’s Fallsview Casino on Oct. 29. But now that the new Niagara Falls concert venue has a real big shot lined up, it’s billing Billy Joel as its “official” opening artist on Feb. 25, 2023.
Tickets to see the Piano Man – which start at CAD$175 (US$132) – go on sale 10 a.m. EST Nov. 25 via ticketmaster.com.
“OLG is very excited to showcase the spectacular new OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino with an incredible award-winning performer like Billy Joel for the grand opening celebration,” said Duncan Hannay, president and CEO of OLG, which owns the Fallsview Casino. “This state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat entertainment center will draw world-class entertainment that will enhance the experience for residents and the growing number of visitors to the Niagara region for years to come.”
OLG is a governmental agency that manages a slew of gaming operations for Canada’s most populous province. For the past 47 years, it has generated more than CAD$55 billion (US$42 billion) for Ontario. That funded health care, addiction services, and support for amateur athletics.
The Longest Time
Costing CAD$130 (US$99.3 million), the OLG Stage at the Fallsview Casino was actually completed more than two years ago. Its first concert was supposed to have been Brad Paisley on April 2, 2020, but the pandemic had another schedule in mind. Government restrictions in Ontario kept the casino closed until July 2021. According to the Niagara Falls Review, problems with the acoustics kept the concert hall closed longer.
The Niagara Fallsview Casino sits just north of the iconic tourist destination on the Canadian side. Opened in 2004, it’s the largest casino in Canada, featuring more than 3,500 slot machines and 130 gaming tables. Its CAD$1 billion (US$764.1 million) construction cost remains the largest investment the Ontario government has made in the Niagara area.
When it opened, the Fallsview’s 1,500-seat Avalon Theatre was sufficient in size to compete for the smaller musical and comedy acts whose tours typically circled the area. Among its upcoming slate of performers are The Monkees (Celebrated by Micky Dolenz) from April 25-27, 2023, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers on May 17, 2023.
However, in 2003, the Seneca Nation of Indians opened their Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino directly across the Niagara River on the US side. Featuring a 2,400-seat events center, in addition to a more intimate 440-seat theater, it proved that more of the A-list was attainable than previous conservative estimates predicted.
“From the time we opened the conversation about bringing a world class venue to Niagara, we knew the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino was going to enhance the entertainment landscape of Niagara,” Richard Taylor, president of Niagara Casinos, said in a statement. “Today, with this announcement of a true rock and roll hall of famer and cultural icon as our grand opening act, we are achieving that goal.”
Billy Joel, 73, has sold over 160 million records worldwide, won six Grammy Awards – including the prestigious Grammy Legend Award – and has been inducted into the both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is a 2013 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation’s highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts, and became the sixth recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2014.
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