Elbow “ready” to open the Co-Op Live arena after weeks of chaos

Elbow have said they are “ready” to open the new Co-Op Live arena in Manchester tonight (May 14), after weeks of chaos at the venue.

Guy Garvey and co. will perform at the 23,500-capacity arena – Britain’s largest indoor venue – as part of their current UK headline tour. The dates come in support of their latest album, ‘Audio Vertigo’.

  • READ MORE: “Manchester’s own Fyre Festival” – disappointed fans speak out about Co-Op Live cancellations

The £365m Co-Op Live was initially due to open with two Peter Kay stand-up shows on April 23 and 24. However, these dates – along with many others – were postponed due to ongoing problems in the building.

News of the postponed performances followed a reduced capacity test event featuring a performance by Rick Astley on April 20, before arena boss Gary Roden resigned shortly afterwards.

Other concerts affected by the problems include those of Olivia Rodrigo, The Black Keys, Take That and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

The latter event was canceled at the last minute due to a “location-related technical issue” – which was later confirmed to be an air conditioning component falling from the ceiling (via Manchester Evening News). No one was injured.

In a statement on May 2, Co-Op Live announced a new opening date of May 14 and said the team was “working incredibly hard to get the building up and running.” Speaking to the Manchester Evening News last week the venue explained: “At this time we do not expect any further impact to our opening season.”

According to BBC newsthe Co-Op Live has now passed a final inspection so that the opening can finally go ahead.

Yesterday (May 13), Elbow shared a photo of their gear set up on the venue’s stage – suggesting everything was finally going smoothly. “Ready for tomorrow at the Co-Op Live Arena. See you soon,” the band captioned the photo. See below.

Some of the postponed Co-Op Live dates were moved to rival AO Arena in Manchester.

Earlier this month, NME spoke to a number of angry and disappointed live music fans whose plans had been affected by the chaos – with one calling it “just a joke at this point”.

While discussing their experiences at the planned A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie event, another person shared NME: “We traveled for two hours… it’s just pathetic. If you’re going to cancel it, please cancel in advance so we don’t spend money to get here.

“There were thousands of people outside and you cancel it half an hour after the doors were supposed to open?”

Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) recently said the Co-Op Live arena was “a great idea” but urged bosses to “work in a way that safeguards the future of live music”. It came after the venue agreed to meet with the MVT to discuss the proposed £1 ticket charge.

Manchester's Co-op Live
The Co-Op Live arena in Manchester. CREDIT: Peter Byrne/PA Images/Getty

Before his resignation, Gary Roden had rejected calls for a ticket levy on all performances at arenas and larger, which should be to secure the future of smaller venues in the UK. He also caused controversy by saying some grassroots venues in Britain were “poorly managed”.

In response to this, MVT CEO Mark Davyd said NME that he believed Roden’s comments were “disrespectful and unfair.” He cited the irony of making such “thoughtless, unnecessary and misleading” comments in the week the Co-Op Live Arena had to postpone its launch due to numerous logistical issues.

The new arena had initially “declined invitations to appropriately participate in the discussion about the future of the UK’s live music ecosystem”, Davyd said.

Other acts set to perform at the Co-Op Live include The Black Keys, Eric Clapton, Nicki Minaj, Eagles, Pet Shop Boys, Liam Gallagher and The Killers.