Covelli Centre had 12,000 in attendance this weekend for concerts by KISS and Lionel Richie

By David Skolnick


It was the biggest back-to-back concert weekend in the Covelli Centre’s 11-year history with 12,000 fans in total attending shows by KISS and Lionel Richie on consecutive nights, its executive director said.

The center had KISS “Rock and Roll All Nite” Friday, and then Richie partied “All Night Long” Saturday.

Transforming the center from a venue featuring the hard-rock band with the “biggest productionwise rock show we’ve ever done” to a more-traditional stage for the 1980s pop singer went smoothly even though the cleanup for KISS, which included picking up about 200 pounds of confetti, was a challenge, said Eric Ryan, the facility’s executive director.

“We had to clean the confetti out of everywhere, including the rafters, and clean up [spilled] beer, but we got it done,” he said.

The center started doing preliminary work for KISS on Thursday, but the work really picked up when 17 trucks carrying the band’s stage and other equipment arrived at the center about 7 a.m. Friday, Ryan said.

The work was finished about 3 p.m. Friday, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. The concert was done about 11 p.m., and 120 stagehands and 30 people on cleanup duty went into action, Ryan said. The band’s trucks and crew were done about 2 a.m. Saturday, with the cleanup finished around 5 a.m., he said.

This was Lionel Richie’s only U.S. concert this year outside of Las Vegas, and the center used its stage with FortyTwo Event Production of Boardman handling the production of Saturday’s show, Ryan said.

“We’ve never done two concerts of this magnitude back to back,” he said. “It was a team effort to pull that off. It was an epic weekend.”

Richie’s five trucks arrived about 8 a.m. Saturday with about 30 crew members handling the work and finishing about 3:30 p.m., Ryan said. About 40 people spent two hours taking down Richie’s set, finishing near midnight, Ryan said.

The center sold 5,800 tickets for KISS, and Richie had 6,200 at his show, he said.

Had Richie performed first, it would have been more of a challenge to get the KISS stage ready for Saturday, Ryan said.

“Certainly, we could have done it, but it was a little bit easier to do it this way,” he said.

While planning the concerts, the center also was the location of an outdoor private party with tents for about 1,400 people put on by the Surgical Hospital at Southwoods, the Richie concert’s co-sponsor with Ryan, to celebrate the business’s 20th anniversary.

“It was the biggest private party we’ve ever had,” Ryan said.

The center will have considerably more time to prepare for its next concert. Bryan Adams performs Sept. 13 at the arena.