We’ve bid farewell to Canadian royalty: The Tragically Hip.
Fans from all over the world tuned in to watch beloved lead singer Gord Downie end the band’s final show in his hometown of Kingston with a sincere “Thank you for that.” After learning his cancer diagnosis, Downie and the band decided it was time to say goodbye to a glorious 30 years of music-making. By watching the fans sing along to every word, it was a venue experience unlike any else. And it made us consider the best concert venues around the world.
With the help of travelcuts, we’ve compiled the top concert venues you must visit to see your favourite musician or band at least once in your life so you too can revel in the indescribable atmosphere of sing-alongs, lights, drinks and perhaps a few tears.
1. Carnegie Hall – New York City, United States
Since 1887, Carnegie Hall has played an integral part in American history with iconic guests – from political figures like Theodore Roosevelt, to authors including Mark Twain and esteemed musicians like Bob Dylan. Located near Central Park, this concert hall made of Roman bricks has become one of the most prestigious in the world with 250 performances each season. With the finest conductors, rock ‘n roll legends, pop stars and jazz musicians, Carnegie Hall has welcomed musicians from diverse genres and backgrounds. The hall is constantly adding new space to inspire a lifelong love of music in young musicians, students and educators, and to serve the increasing number of people in New York.
2. The Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia
Noted as a World Heritage architectural masterpiece for its unique take on expressionist modernism, the Sydney Opera House has established itself as one of Australia’s foremost tourist destinations with eight million people visiting each year. In the name of its talented architect Jørn Utzon, the opera house strives to produce and present the most acclaimed performing arts experiences from around the world. With 3,000 events per year, the house has seven venues within it. Since opening in 1973, it has garnered so much attention that even the Queen has visited four times.
3. Le Grand Rex – Paris, France
As the largest theatre in Europe, Le Grand Rex oozes a classic Parisian charm with ornate Art Deco architecture and a ceiling that mimics a starry night. While you can catch any upcoming Hollywood film here in French, this venue is noteworthy for its ability to put on a spectacular show with unique lighting, sumptuous armchairs and a grand stage. Check out the backstage tour for an interactive learning experience about this historical venue.
4. National Centre for the Performing Arts – Beijing, China
Since being completed in 2007 after five years of construction, this epic concert hall has become an architectural masterpiece in Beijing – it presents an eye-catching contrast to its surroundings with an oval exterior. Made up of 18,000 titanium plates and 1,000 sheets of ultra-white glass to create a visual effect of a curtain being drawn, the hall hosts symphonies, ballets and operas. To make this venue even more unique, there is an underwater corridor, underground garage, artificial lake and green space – all while maintaining traditional Chinese style.
5. Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico City, Mexico
Though originally built in the 1930s in a classic Art Deco style, the Palacio was recently revamped with a stained-glass curtain designed by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo and assembled by Tiffany and Co. However, it is the murals by famous Mexican artists on the top floors that makes this venue one of a kind. Though the palace hosts seasonal opera and symphony performances, the art exhibitions are a must see. Discover artist Diego Rivera’s famous “El hombre en el cruce de caminos” (Man at the Crossroads) – a painting originally commissioned for New York’s Rockefeller Center.
6. Massey Hall – Toronto, Canada
Located in Toronto’s thriving entertainment district, Massey Hall has become a Canadian and international staple for performances and events. Though smaller than some concert halls in the city, this venue has established itself as the ultimate performance stage for singer-songwriters, like Neil Young – he even has a live album called, “Live at Massey Hall.” Many pop and rock headliners prefer Massey Hall’s iconic red doors for its historic charm and intimate atmosphere. Visit the basement bar, Centuries, to spot photos of your favourite performers at the concert hall and cheers to this “National Historic Site of Canada.”
7. Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, United States
Known as the largest natural outdoor amphitheatre in the United States, the Hollywood Bowl has become the holy grail of summer festival venues. Escape the hustle of Los Angeles by watching artists from all over the world and from every genre perform at this hidden gem within the Hollywood Hills. Since its opening in 1922, this “band shell” has hosted the biggest names in music, such as Judy Garland, Nat King Cole and Elton John. With the famous Hollywood sign peaking in the back and a setting beneath the stars, it is nearly impossible not to absorb every moment of a performance.
Planning on catching your favourite rock band, rapper or pop diva perform at a cool venue? Make sure to document your sing-along moments and enter the travelcuts TRAVEL DOCS FILM FEST before September 15 for your chance to win $5,000 in travel!