Intensity, vibrancy, and diversity is how the 60th annual Grammys’ return to the East Coast is being hailed by the music industry and artists alike. 2003 marks the last time since New York City last hosted music’s top award show and for the local chapter of the Recording Academy, it was yet another reason to celebrate at its annual luncheon at Bryant Park honoring the current nominees and past winners of the Recording Academy.


Photo: Matt Sayles / Invision / AP

Bruno Mars - Grammy Awards, Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

“To celebrate the 60th anniversary (of the Grammys) in New York City is just wonderful. The way it should be – the universe got it right this time!" John Poppo, Chair of its Board of Trustee, The Recording Academy, as attendees whistled and cheered.

With the move from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, it's a seismic shift for Grammy nominees and a nod to the coastal competitiveness between the top entertainment and sports venues in the U.S.

The Staples Center, which opened in 1999, was specifically designed to host Los Angeles' prolific and lucrative entertainment and sports industry as well as connecting AEG's L.A. Live complex and Convention Center – effectively allowing guests to be wined, dined, and entertained in close proximity.

The AEG-operated Staples Center has a capacity of 20,000 and has averaged 19,810 tickets sold each concert with an average gross of $1.7 million, according to box office reports submitted to Pollstar. The arena is one of the must-stop venues for big touring acts making their way through the West Coast. Recent reports include three Kendrick Lamar shows, which together sold 38,691 tickets and grossed more than $4 million; three gigs by Ed Sheeran (40,731 tickets sold, more than $3.6 million grossed) and three by Red Hot Chili Peppers (40,383 tickets sold, more than $3.5 million grossed). 

By comparison, Madison Square Garden Arena, billed as "The World's Most Famous Arena," literally sits atop Penn Station, the busiest travel hub in the U.S., making the venue easily accessible for locals and tourists alike. Located at its current location since 1968, the Garden recently underwent a $1 billion renovation offering more room and more views.

The 19,420-capacity Garden averaged 29,973 tickets sold per show in 2017, with a typical gross of more than $3.1 million, according to box office reports submitted to Pollstar. The arena has become New York’s premier venue, with the biggest touring acts making stops there, including three shows by Guns N’ Roses which collectively moved 41,181 tickets and grossed $6.1 million; two by Paul McCartney (30,213 tickets, more than $6.4 million grossed) and two by Bruno Mars (30,988 tickets, more than $4.1 million grossed). Phish played its 13-date “Bakers Dozen” residency at the venue July 21 through August 6, moving 227,385 tickets and raking in more than $15 million.

“For many of the nominees, it’ll be their first time attending the Grammys on the East Coast and that’s a special experience," explains Nick Cucci, Executive Director, New York Chapter of The Recording Academy. "New York is energy and creativity defined, that's what this city is all about."

Unlike the relatively self-contained venue at the Staples Center, the Grammy events, including the show and parties, will take place over a ten-block radius include Penn StationTimes Square and Radio City Music Hall

Harrison Remler of Visionary Music Group and co-manager of Logic, who was nominated for the best song and music video of the year, says Madison Square Garden is as iconic as New York itself. For Remler, this show will be especially poignant as Khalid and Alessia Cara join Logic on stage at the Grammys to sing the hit single"1-800-273-8255" with suicide attempt and loss survivors at their side.

Mireya Ramos, the founder of New York-based Mariachi band, Flor De Toloache and winner of a Latin Grammy for best ranchero/mariachi album category, performed at halftime for Latino Night at MSG in 2017. “The Garden is amazing, a dream. So many people! I also love the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville – the acoustics are everything.”

The Recording Academy recently announced additions to the list of Grammy nominated artists performing live at the awards, including Bruno Mars with Cardi BDaddy YankeeKeshaSZAChildish GambinoLady GagaPinkLuis Fonsi, and Little Big Town

Broadway stars Patti Lupone and Ben Platt will pay homage to the return of the Grammys to New York City as well as tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Leonard Bernstein with songs from"Evita" and "West Side Story".

Hosted by James Corden, the Grammys will be broadcast live on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT