|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
|Former names||Empire Pool (1934–1978)
|Location||Wembley, London, England|
|Owner||Quintain Estates and Development|
2012 Summer Olympics
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
It was built for the 1934 British Empire Games, by Arthur Elvin, and originally housed a swimming pool, as reflected by its former name, Empire Pool. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics. The building is used for music, comedy and family entertainment and for sport.
The venue was renovated, along with Wembley Stadium, as part of the early-21st-century regeneration of the Wembley area. The arena refurbishment cost £35m and the new arena opened to the public on 2 April 2006, with a concert by the English electronic-music band Depeche Mode.
With 12,500 seats, it is London's second-largest indoor arena after The O2 Arena and third-largest indoor concert venue after the O2 and Earls Court Exhibition Centre, an exhibition hall which regularly stages concerts.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2013)|
Since its opening in 1934, the venue has become the third-largest indoor concert venue and London's second-largest indoor arena, having hosted concerts by the world's most famous artists, spanning many different genres of music.
When the venue was known as the Empire Pool, it hosted the annual New Musical Express Poll Winners' concert during the mid-1960s. Audiences of 10,000 viewed acts like The Beatles (who performed there three times), David Bowie, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, Joe Brown & the Bruvvers, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Simply Red, Status Quo, The Who, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and many others, hosted by Jimmy Savile and Pete Murray. The individual performances were then finished by a famous personality joining the respective performer on stage and presenting them their award. The Beatles were presented one of their awards by actor Roger Moore and Richard was joined on stage by Roy Orbison, to present him his. He also received a letter of congratulations from Elvis Presley. It was 1963 when Richard won best male solo artist worldwide outstripping Elvis, Richard having sold more records that year than any other musical act worldwide. These were filmed and recorded and later broadcast on television.
The Grateful Dead have released recordings of complete shows from 7–8 April 1972 as part of Europe '72: The Complete Recordings.
In 1978, The Electric Light Orchestra sold out eight straight concerts (a record at the time) during their Out of the Blue Tour. The first of these shows was recorded, televised and later released as a CD/DVD.
ABBA played six sold-out concerts, from 5 to 10 November 1979. The shows were filmed by Swedish television for a documentary which was released in 2004 on DVD as "ABBA in Concert". Afterward the members of the band talked about the warmth of the Wembley audience. "It was like coming home after a couple of nights," said guitarist Bjorn Ulvaeus. A finale from these concerts, "The Way Old Friends Do", is the closing track on ABBA's seventh studio album, Super Trouper. Vocalist Agnetha Faltskog said it was the vibe from the audience that made the track work so much better as a live performance than as a studio track.
Cliff Richard has sold the most shows out at the venue. He has headlined 63 shows at the venue with his first headliner being in 1984 and his latest being 2009. Richard holds the record for the most headline shows by one artist, having played his 61st concert in October 2009. Tina Turner is the female artist with the most shows, with 25 and with 5 at Wembley Stadium (three in 1996 and two in 2000).
U2 first played Wembley Arena in for two consecutive nights in November 1984 on the UK leg of their Unforgettable Fire Tour. The songs Bad and A Sort of Homecoming from these shows were recorded and appeared on the Wide Awake in America EP. They returned to the arena in 1987 as part of the UK leg of The Joshua Tree Tour.
Dire Straits took up a 13 night residency at the Arena as part of their phenomenally successful Brothers in Arms tour, only breaking off to head down the road to Wembley Stadium for an afternoon slot at Live Aid, in July 1985.
George Michael performed four consecutive shows during his Cover to Cover Tour on 19–20 and 22–23 March 1991. During the final show, on the 23rd – Elton John made a surprise guest appearance and together they sang, as a duet, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". This was recorded and released later that year, becoming a massive hit, with even greater success than the song's original release in 1974.
In April 1994, Barbra Streisand began her Barbra – The Concert Tour, with four performances at the arena. They marked her first performances in the UK after 28 years and were the only shows outside of the US. The opening song on the first night, "As If We Never Said Goodbye", was recorded and transmitted on BBC TV's Top of the Pops.
Diana Ross previewed her "Here and Now Tour" in November 1990 with two sold out dates. She returned in June 1991 for 4 more sold out nights of her "Here and Now World Tour". Diana had previously filmed her HBO "World Stage Tour" in 1989 and platinum live album, Greatest Hits Live from Wembley. Diana is the second most popular female solo artist, behind Tina Turner for the most sold out dates. Diana began appearing at Wembley in 1982 for her world tour.
Christina Aguilera performed during her Stripped World Tour on 2-3 and 5 November 2003. The shows were filmed and later released as a DVD, entitled Stripped Live in the U.K.. She also returned to performed on the arena in 2006 for her Back to Basics World Tour.
Feeder stopped by at the venue during their December 2003 Comfort in Sound Arena Tour, which was a follow-up to their 23 date tour of the same album where they played theater sized venues. The show was recorded with microphones facing the stage and crowd with plans to release the show as a live album, but never has been released. The start of the show was also filmed, but the footage has to date not been used.
Beyoncé Knowles performed on two consecutive nights, during her Dangerously in Love Tour on 10–11 November 2003. Her show on the 10th was filmed and later released as a DVD, entitled Beyoncé: Live at Wembley.
Westlife performed two shows on 18 May and 19 May 2006. The shows were filmed and released on a DVD.
McFly have performed at the arena seven times over their career, selling more than 70,000 tickets there. From which they have released two concert DVD's and have streamed one concert over the internet, seen by people from all over the world.
Alter Bridge have performed on 29 November 2011 and released a DVD later.
It was announced that the 2011 X Factor UK final would be the shot at the Wembley Arena over two days; girl band Little Mix won the competition on 11 December 2011. The X Factor UK will return to film their final at the Wembley Arena for the series' tenth series on 14th and 15th December 2013.
The Saturdays made their arena debut here on the 16 December 2011, in front of a capacity of 11,500.
Frank Turner performed on 27 April 2012 to a sell-out audience. A DVD was to be released later in the year.
The surviving members of Bad Company (Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke) with Howard Leese and Lynn Sorensen, played to a sold out crowd in April 2010, with a DVD and CD recorded for the occasion.
You Me At Six performed on 8 December 2012 and sold out the venue. The show was filmed with a live DVD to be released in 2013.
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds : The New Generation came Wembley Arena on December 6 as part of the new productions arena tour of the UK in late 2012. The original version of the War of the Worlds was also on stage at Wembley in 2006 and was recorded for the DVD release of the show.
From 1934 until 1990 the Empire Pool / Wembley Arena was the venue for the Wembley Professional Tennis Championships which was a part of the professional grand slam from 1927 until 1967.
Indoor sporting events such as boxing, mixed martial arts and ice hockey have long been popular at the venue, notably the World Championship bout between then champion Alan Minter and challenger Marvin Hagler, which the latter won, after which a racially motivated riot followed.
From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, the Skol 6-Day cycle race was held here. An indoor velodrome of 166 metres was assembled from sections each September. This was Britain's first indoor velodrome. Top professional riders from the European 6-Day circuit came to London, including Eddy Merckx, Peter Post, Patrick Sercu and many others. British riders such as World pursuit champion Hugh Porter and British Champion Tony Gowland rode with distinction. Another rider was the Australian Gary Wiggins, father of Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France winner 2012.
The Wembley Lions and Wembley Monarchs were two ice-hockey teams that used the venue regularly during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, while the London Lions used the venue for a season in the 1970s. Wembley also hosted the British Hockey League play-off finals weekend at the end of each season up until the league's disbandment in 1996. The arena also played host to NHL teams the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers for a pair of challenge matches in 1993. Rumours suggest that professional ice hockey might return to the Wembley Arena in the near future, with Notthingham and Braehead owner Neil Black reportedly behind a drive to establish an Elite League franchise in the capital.
More recently netball, darts, basketball, five-aside football, cage fighting and The Masters of snooker have made regular appearances on the calendar.
It hosted the final of the Whyte and Mackay Premier League Darts 2009 where James Wade triumphed against Mervyn King, who beat Phil Taylor in the semi-finals as he failed to successfully defend his 4 titles. Whyte and Mackay Premier League Darts also hosted the playoff finals in 2010 at Wembley Arena when Phil Taylor won the title beating James Wade and making history by being the first dart player to hit a 9 Darter in a final, and being the first dart player to hit 2 9 Darters in a darts match live on TV! The 888.com 2011 Premier League Darts Finals also took place at Wembley where Adrian Lewis beat Phil Taylor 8–3 in their semi-final but ultimately lost against Gary Anderson 10–4 in the Final itself on the same night.
The Horse of the Year Show was held there from 1959–2002.
Square of Fame
With the reopening of Wembley Arena in 2006, a "Square of Fame" area has been created in front of the arena. Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, notable Wembley Arena performers are invited to have bronze plaques imprinted with their names and handprints. The first star to have a plaque was Madonna, on 1 August 2006.[not in citation given]
On 9 November 2006, Cliff Richard added his handprints to the Square. Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, of Status Quo, unveiled a plaque, with one of each of their handprints, on 16 December 2006. On 9 January 2007, Kylie Minogue included her handprints, on the final day of the London leg of her Showgirl Homecoming Tour.
Seven-time World Snooker Champion Stephen Hendry added his handprints on 21 January 2007. International country superstar Dolly Parton unveiled her plaque, on the final night of her UK tour, on 25 March 2007.
Canadian music star Bryan Adams unveiled his plaque on 10 May 2007, just before his 25th appearance at the venue. Just three days later, former Commodores frontman Lionel Richie was presented with his plaque on 13 May 2007, after another sold-out performance at the arena.
Members of the Irish boyband Westlife unveiled their plaque on 28 March 2008, after 27 sell-out shows in the space of 10 years. They have sold 250,000 tickets. All four members, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily, were presented with a cast of their hands, which can also be seen in the Square of Fame, putting them as the arena's biggest selling pop band.[not in citation given]
Wembley Arena has been used in 2011 and 2012 for episodes of the highly popular show Strictly Come Dancing during the week of Children in Need. The Wembley Arena is also the location of the first round on ITV1's Red or Black?. Named the Red or Black? Arena on the programme, players must sit on a colored seat that corresponds to one of the two colours. If they get it right, they'll move on to the next round.
On 22 September 2013, Wembley Arena hosted The Love School Event with a crowd of over 11,000 people when TV presenters Renato and Cris Cardoso shared their experience and delivered a hearty lesson of love for all. It was also the first time when a book (Bulletproof Marriage) was launched at the Wembley Arena.
Wembley Arena is served by Wembley Park Station on the London Underground via Olympic Way, and Wembley Central via the White Horse Bridge. It also has a rail link provided by the Wembley Stadium railway station to London Marylebone and Birmingham. The 92 bus route stops directly outside the arena.
The onsite parking facility is shared with Wembley Stadium, essentially being the open air surface parking surrounding the eastern flank of Wembley Stadium and the multistory car park. These are called Green Car Park and Red Car Park respectively. There is disabled parking available onsite, at the Green Car Park, at a reduced rate but on a first come first served basis.
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