Austin Has a New Headliner

by Brian Maass on April 19, 2022 in Entertainment, Music, Living Texas, Austin, Sports,

Moody Center, the multi-purpose, state-of-the-art venue located in the heart of downtown Austin, is now open, with the arena debuting to the public April 20 with the first concert from GRAMMY Award-winning artist, John Mayer.

The Moody Center will be home to top concert tours and international music shows featuring the biggest artists, as well as popular sporting events including The University of Texas at Austin Women’s and Men’s basketball games. 

The Moody Center will be the new home for concerts, events and University of Texas Basketball
Courtesy photo

Growing up in Austin, the Frank Erwin Center was the place to see the death defying performances of Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey, the comedic sportsmanship of the Harlem Globetrotters, and of course the home of University of Texas Women’s and Men’s basketball. Now, after 45 years of entertaining, the curtain has come down on the building affectionately known as the “drum.” When one era comes to a close, a new exciting era begins.

In 2019, construction started on the new Moody Center, located just across the street from the Frank Erwin Center. The new arena has a capacity of 15,000+ for concerts, and just over 10,000 for Texas basketball games. Though the arena will host a wide variety of events, this venue was built specifically for concerts, and will feature top tier amenities and hospitality for not just the artists, but also for the fans. 

The new arena has a capacity of 15,000+ for concerts, and just over 10,000 for Texas basketball games. Image courtesy Moody Center

In its first month, the arena will feature some of the biggest artists. The ‘Strait from Moody Center’ Grand opening celebration featuring country music, and Texas, legends George Strait and Willie Nelson will officially christen the new arena with back-to-back shows on April 29th, Willie’s 89th birthday, and 30th. Earlier in the month, Bon Jovi (April 23rd) and Justin Bieber (April 27th) are slated to perform. On May 7th, the iHeart Country Festival will make its debut at the Moody center with performances from Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett, Zac Brown Band and others. 

Over the next months, the Moody Center’s calendar is filled with concerts. In May, The Eagles will play two nights on the 19th and 20th. Then, later in the month, Jack White, 25th, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will take the stage on June 22nd. In September The Killers will be in town followed by Shawn Mendes in October.

“In all my years of working in this industry, I haven’t seen a calendar this full of artists wanting to come to a city. This will be an inaugural year of non-stop entertainment,” says Casey Sparks , General Manager of Moody Center. Already the Moody center has surpassed $15 million in ticket sales, and more acts are expected to be announced throughout its inaugural year. 

Image courtesy Moody Center

Fans looking to get in on the action can join the Moody Center’s Concert Membership Program. This program allows members to purchase “lower-level” tickets, but access to premiere concessions, club access, and other elevated experiences. 

As Austin has grown, so has the demand for bigger, and better venues. 45 years ago, the Frank Erwin Center took the place of Gregory Gym, and became the new home for University of Texas Basketball. Now, things have come full circle, and the Frank Erwin Center is being replaced. So many fond, and lasting memories were made in that building. From national champions being honored, to a little boy who snuck under ropes to get an autograph from legendary Texas women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt. Yet, even though the Austin skyline is losing one of its mainstays, the future of live events is extremely bright, and exciting as the curtain is raised on the Moody Center. 

Cover photo courtesy Moody Center

Brian Maass is a native Austinite who has a passion for music, travel and sharing his experiences through his camera lens. He lives in Round Rock, Texas with his wife Dana Kent Maass and their faithful dog Chester.