By Chris Richards, Friday, July 22, 12:05 AM
It’ll be an evening fit for a queen — namely, the queen of hip-hop soul.
The Fillmore Silver Spring will finally open its doors Sept. 15 with a performance from R&B great Mary J. Blige — the first in a handful of concerts the venue is announcing on its Web site Friday. Tickets for the Blige show go on sale July 29 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Other notable acts on the schedule include Black Star, Blondie, Primus, Cheap Trick and Louis Black.
The 2,000-capacity venue is scheduled to open nearly four years after Live Nation, the world’s largest producer of concerts, sealed a deal to build one of its Fillmore venues on Colesville Road, near Georgia Avenue, where a J.C. Penney department store once stood.
Now, after years of red tape and construction, the venue is promising big names and a wide variety of entertainment offerings.
“We’re working to make this venue representative of the really rich diversity that’s in this region and in Silver Spring in particular,” says Stephanie Steele, the Fillmore Silver Spring’s general manager.
Fans can expect R&B singers, classic rockers, country acts, alternative-rock bands, rock en Espanol groups, comedians, local musicians and collaborations with the Fillmore’s across-the-street-neighbor, the AFI Silver Theatre. The Fillmore will also be available for private events.
Steele says the general-admission, all-ages club will be open three to five nights a week to start, with hopes of booking all seven nights in the future. Concerts will finish in time for patrons to catch the last Red Line trains out of the nearby Silver Spring Metro station.
Music fans can preview the space Sept. 13 at an evening open house.
The original Fillmore in San Francisco became a legendary hub for psychedelic rock in the 1960s, hosting the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and countless others. Since then, the venue has spawned into a Live Nation-owned chain with locations in Denver, Detroit, Miami and Charlotte. Live Nation rebranded New York City’s Irving Plaza with the Fillmore name in 2007 but bent to pressure from fans and switched it back in 2010.
The promotion company says its newest Fillmore is here to stay.
“We’re in it for the long haul, says Arich Berghammer, the Fillmore’s executive vice president of clubs and theaters for North America. “We have the full expectation that in 20 years, we’re going to renew the lease for another 20 years.”
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