SBD/Issue 33/Facilities & Venues

Let It Rock: Bon Jovi Opens New Prudential Center

Vanderbeek (3rd from l) And Booker
(2nd from r) Help Cut Ribbon At Ceremony
The Prudential Center opened Thursday night to a crowd of more than 17,000 with the first of ten performances by Bon Jovi, and fans called the show, "and perhaps more important for the city, their trip to Newark -- a success," according to Wang & Mueller of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Nine minutes into the band's set, Jon Bon Jovi declared, "I'm a New Jersey Devil, and this is my new house." Newark Mayor Cory Booker said without former mayor and current state senator Sharpe James, "we would not be here today." Wang & Mueller note James, who is awaiting trial on corruption, was the arena's "earliest and most ardent booster." He attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony but "was not invited to speak." Electronic signs around the city read, "Welcome to Newark," traffic moved "relatively smoothly" and police reported no problems (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/26).

REVIEWS: In New Jersey, Brennan & Lamb write under the header, "Pru Center Makes Glittering Debut." There was a "red-carpet-and-strobe-light ceremony out front and helicopters hovering overhead," but the celebrity appearances "weren't quite A-list." Fans were "warned to use mass transit or to arrive early by car to avoid potential traffic snarls, and the crowd of fans visible hours before the opening song suggested many heeded the message" (Bergen RECORD, 10/26).  In N.Y., Jim Farber writes the arena "boasted good sounded, by its own clangy standards, ample bathrooms and crack security" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/26). In Newark, Steve Politi notes safety is the “biggest issue facing the arena, and it won’t go away soon.” Molnar and Victoria Fischer had a 15 minute walk from their parking spot to the arena for the  concert. Victoria said, “The police are everywhere,” to which her husband replied, “They should be!” Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek said, “I’m very confident it will be unbelievably safe, but people are going to find out for themselves” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/26).

DEVILS PLAYGROUND: The Devils host the Senators Saturday night at the Prudential Center, their first game in the new arena. FSNY will be telecasting, with Mike Emrick and Chico Resch announcing.  FSNY will hold a one-hour pregame show from 6:00-7:00pm ET and will give viewers a tour of the new arena. The net will have interviews with Booker and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, among others.  Also, Resch will sample the food offered at the arena throughout the season. The postgame show, hosted by Steve Cangialosi, will be held from one of the three bars in the arena - "The Goal Bar" -- which overlooks the ice (THE DAILY).

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