A fan's take on Bucks, Marquette, Admirals, and Concerts at the BMO Harris Bradley Center
The BMO Harris Bradley Center is closing the 2014 season with a pair of big name acts. Partnering again with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the Harlem Globetrotters this holiday season, the downtown Milwaukee arena has made a tradition of hosting what has become two of the biggest events of the year.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra have achieved worldwide stardom since bursting their unique version of progressive rock onto stages in America in the late 1990s. Known for their epic Christmas-themed ballads, the ever revolving orchestral-type group has become a mainstay as one of the most popular bands during the holidays. Since forming in 1996, the group has performed in front of millions of people on every continent except Antarctica. Their largest show to date was seen live by over one million people on New Year’s Eve at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 2013, a show that was also broadcast over German television.
For their final tour of 2014, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra have given into popular demand and will finally perform their breakout 1998 album The Christmas Attic live in its entirety. The album remains one of the group’s best-selling records to date, and includes their first hit, Christmas Canon.
In more recent years, the band has become renowned for its series of over-the-top special effects, featuring light shows and extensive pyrotechnics. Their shows were recognized by Billboard Magazine in 2009 as one of the top-25 live performances of the first decade of the 2000s.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will play two shows at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, both on December 29. The first show begins at 4PM while the second will start at 8PM.
Two days later, on New Year’s Eve, the Harlem Globetrotters will return to Milwaukee for their annual appearance. The family-friendly trick basketball team will bring along with them longtime rivals the Washington Generals, who feature a new coach and a slew of new tactics to take down the Globetrotters, who they have failed to win against since 1971.
The Harlem Globetrotters will play two games against the Generals on December 31. The first at 1PM and another at 6PM.
The Milwaukee Admirals hockey team began practice for their upcoming 2014 season this week. Traveling to Nashville on the 28, home of the team’s professional affiliate, the Admirals will hold four days of training at the Ford Ice Center before returning to Milwaukee on October 2. The team’s first practice in the city is that day at the Kern Center.
Just one day later, on October 3, the Admirals will welcome Rockford to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the first preseason game of 2014. They will be at Chicago the following day before taking the 5 off and completing their time at the Kern Center on the 6.
Starting on October 7, the team will convert all practices and games over to the Bradley Center for the remainder of the season. After three days of preparation at the downtown arena, including a media day on the 9, the Admirals welcome Charlotte to Milwaukee for the opening game of the 2014-15 season.
Dean Evason helms the Admirals for his third season as head coach this year. The sixteen year pro led the team to a third place finish in the division last year with an impressive 39 wins and 24 losses. The team managed their twelfth consecutive trip to the post season in April, though lost in the first round to Toronto in three games.
Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 Regular Season Schedule
10/10/2014 7:00 PM Charlotte vs. Admirals
10/25/2014 7:00 PM Lake Erie at Admirals
10/29/2014 7:00 PM Iowa at Admirals
11/2/2014 3:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
11/7/2014 7:00 PM Grand Rapids at Admirals
11/12/2014 7:00 PM Iowa at Admirals
11/15/2014 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
11/21/2014 7:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
11/26/2014 7:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
12/4/2014 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
12/6/2014 7:00 PM Oklahoma City at Admirals
12/7/2014 3:00 PM Grand Rapids at Admirals
12/10/2014 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
12/12/2014 7:00 PM Adirondack at Admirals
12/26/2014 7:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
12/30/2014 7:00 PM Lake Erie at Admirals
1/3/2015 7:00 PM Hamilton at Admirals
1/8/2015 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
1/10/2015 7:00 PM Charlotte at Admirals
1/21/2015 7:00 PM Utica at Admirals
1/23/2015 7:00 PM Iowa at Admirals
1/30/2015 7:00 PM Grand Rapids at Admirals
2/3/2015 7:00 PM Lake Erie at Admirals
2/6/2015 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
2/8/2015 3:00 PM Rochester at Admirals
2/13/2015 7:00 PM Rockford at Admirals
2/15/2015 3:00 PM Lake Erie at Admirals
2/17/2015 7:00 PM Lake Erie at Admirals
2/21/2015 7:00 PM Iowa at Admirals
2/27/2015 7:00 PM Grand Rapids at Admirals
3/6/2015 7:00 PM Grand Rapids at Admirals
3/8/2015 4:00 PM Oklahoma City at Admirals
3/21/2015 7:00 PM Texas at Admirals
3/25/2015 7:00 PM San Antonio at Admirals
3/27/2015 7:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
4/3/2015 7:00 PM Texas at Admirals
4/10/2015 7:00 PM Chicago at Admirals
4/17/2015 7:00 PM Toronto at Milwaukee
The BMO Harris Bradley Center will reveal itself as never before during the 2014 Doors Open Milwaukee event. The downtown arena announced that it would again be part of one of Milwaukee’s most popular events earlier this month, delighting fans with special tours, sneak-peeks, and the occasional star sighting. In past years, the location has been one of the highlight stops for the now-three year old Doors Open event.
Featured tours at the 2014 Doors Open Milwaukee event at the Bradley Center include a look into the Bucks home locker room, a guided tour of the building’s suite and box seating, and even a rare chance to view the venue’s music memorabilia collection situated in the pre-show dressing room. The BMO Harris Bradley Center has also been selected as one of 24 family-recommended sites taking part in the event, designated as the Passport Program. Kids who visit the building will have a chance to ride the official Zamboni used at Milwaukee Admirals games and have their video shown live on the scoreboard video screens. Filming and pictures of the special access event are encouraged!
The 2014 Doors Open Milwaukee event at the BMO Harris Bradley Center will take place on Saturday September 20 from 10AM to 5PM. Admission into the building is free to everyone, as are all the tours offered once inside. Last entry is at 4PM.
The overall Doors Open Milwaukee event this year features over 100 unique locations sprawled across the city. Popular sites include a number of churches, breweries, downtown’s Central Library, and even the observation deck atop the US Bank Building. Certain locations, such as the Bradley Center, will only be open on Saturday, though most will keep their doors open both days.
The BMO Harris Pavilion will host its first stand-alone concert since 2012 in September. We realize that this blog is about events at the Bradley Center, but the BMO Pavilion is one of our own. Lorde has been booked at the lakefront venue for September 26. The pop star will make the Milwaukee stop as part of a two-month North American fall tour that begins in August. At just 17, Lorde has become a sensation since debuting with her hit single “Royals” last year. A native of New Zealand, the fall tour is her first as a performer, though she has headlined a number of top-festivals and has won two Grammys.
Part of the Henry W. Maier Festival Park, the BMO Harris Pavilion has been open since 2011, but has seen sparse use. Van’s Warped Tour used the grounds in 2013, as did the Harley Davidson 110 Anniversary Festival. In 2012, the 10,000 seat Pavilion was the scene of lackluster attendance at a season of stand-alone concerts, climaxing with the cancellation of a Chris Daughtry show just days prior to the concert.
Promoter Milwaukee World Festival Inc., also associated with Summerfest, has targeted this year as a sort of re-do for the venue, pulling-off a well received Vampire Weekend performance in early June. Organizers have revealed that other bookings are in the works, anticipating at least five or more concerts this season. Lorde’s September 26 concert will begin at 7:30 PM at the BMO Harris Pavilion. 5,000 seats are available, along with another 5,000 standing-room only tickets. Beer and food will be available.
Approval for a new basketball arena for the Sacramento Kings in that city this week has provided a great outline for a public-private funding model that could be used in Milwaukee, said former Bucks owner Herb Kohl. Repeating sentiments he expressed in January, Kohl spoke to reporters on Wednesday, touting the agreement between the Sacramento city council and the Kings to partner in construction of a nearly $500 million venue as a blueprint for the ongoing talks surrounding a similar deal here in Milwaukee. The NBA has given the city and its sole professional basketball franchise an ultimatum; lose the team or build a new arena. Kohl and incoming owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have already promised $200 million to the project, though it will be up to public funding to foot the remainder of the bill.
Still reeling from the Miller Park stadium tax that was supposed to expire this year, but was extended, Milwaukee tax payers are understandably hesitant. The latest estimates predict a new downtown arena to host the Bucks, Marquette Golden Eagles, the Admirals, and other events would cost roughly $400 million. With the $200 million guaranteed by the trio of current and former owners, that leaves half the project yet unfunded. Lasry and Edens have reportedly spent ample time combing Milwaukee and other contacts for sponsors and investors, but despite the networking, critics believe the vast majority of the remaining funding will need to come from public revenue.
A former senator, Kohl has experience garnering public money. The Kohl Center in Madison, which bears his name because of a $25 million donation towards its construction, was partially funded by taxes in that city. The 79-year old says that what worked in the state’s capital, and what has now been put into motion in Sacramento, will work for Milwaukee.
To highlight the viability of his vision for a public-private partnership in Milwaukee, Kohl spoke to the simpleness of the California city’s plan. A combination of parking, advertising, and tax revenue will pay off $223 million of the $477 million overall cost over 35 years. The Kings themselves will put-up over $250 million towards the project.
The Wisconsin men’s basketball team will play Thursday morning at the BMO Harris Bradley Center as fortunate receivers of a quasi-home-court NCAA Tournament berth. The second seeded team will travel just 90 miles east from the Kohl Center to take on 15 seed American University for a chance to advance against either Oregon or Brigham Young University, who also play at the Bradley Center on Thursday. Obviously, this pair of opening round match-ups is receiving the most attention here in Badger-Land, though another four-some of contenders will meet in Milwaukee for their debut games just two days later.
Fellow Big Ten member and number two seed in the Midwest region, Michigan has just a short distance to travel to the Bradley Center to take-on Wofford on Saturday, March 20th. The Wolverines finished first in conference play during the 2013-14 season, though lost to Michigan State in the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament. A narrow two-point loss to top-ranked Arizona in the final stretch of the non-conference schedule sparked a season-high 10-game win-streak that highlighted Michigan’s regular season. The then third-ranked Badgers fell to the streaking Wolverines in the midst of that momentum in January, as did the Spartans.
The 15th seeded Wofford Terriers managed an unexpected automatic berth into the Big Dance with a Southern Conference championship. Helmed by 12-year head coach Mike Young and leading scorer Karl Cochran, the South Carolina-based program defeated The Citadel and Georgia Southern for a chance at their first conference title since 2011 against Western Carolina. The Catamounts had beaten Southern Conference heavy-weight Davidson for their spot in the finals.
Wofford has made the NCAA Tournament just twice prior to 2014. They have never advanced beyond the opening round, falling to the Badgers in 2010 and Brigham Young in 2011.
Tipping-off at 8:40PM on Saturday will be seventh Midwest seed Texas against number ten Arizona State. Both the Longhorns and Sun Devils finished lackluster regular seasons in the middle of their respective conferences. Texas took fourth in the Big 12, sharing Tournament berths with conference counterparts Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State. Arizona State managed fifth place overall in the PAC 12, the conference also represented by number one seed in the West, Arizona. Wisconsin is heavy favorites to meet the Wildcats in elite eight.
Following the success of Glen Robinson’s appearance at the BMO Harris Bradley Center during last week’s 90’s night, the Milwaukee Bucks have decided to return another pair of iconic former players. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Junior Bridgeman will be back in Milwaukee for the first time in years over the weekend, scheduled to appear at the team’s Saturday game against the Nets and Monday night’s match-up against Utah. The duo won’t appear together however, as Bridgeman will be present only on Saturday and Abdul-Jabbar only on Monday.
The pair will make on-court half-time appearances at their respective games, as well as hold autograph sessions in the concourse prior to the game. MVP ticket holders will have first dibs in the autograph line starting at 6PM. All attendees will have access to the line at 6:30PM.
Fans of the Bucks during the 1980s will remember Bridgeman as the dominant small forward who led the franchise to the playoffs in eight of his ten seasons in Milwaukee. He is the latest player to have his number retired by the team, and one of only seven to receive the honor. He retired following a final season with the Bucks in 1987, concluding his tenure as the organization’s second-most all-time scorer.
In recent months, Bridgeman, who has become a successful fast-food franchisee since he left basketball, has made headlines as a possible investor in the Bucks. Heeding the call of team owner Herb Kohl, Bridgeman told reporters that he was approached by the former Senator and was considering the offer. All attendees at Saturday’s game at the Bradley Center will receive a Bridgeman bobble-head.
Perhaps the biggest name to ever wear a Bucks uniform, Abdul-Jabbar will again be in-front of a Milwaukee crowd on Monday night. The highest scoring player in NBA history, Abdul-Jabbar made his debut with the Bucks as the first overall draft pick of 1969. A year later, he was pivotal in helping the team win its only NBA championship to date, earning MVP recognition with nearly 30 points per game in the finals. Abdul-Jabbar would go on to win five more world championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.
Also expected Monday night is the premier of the 2014 Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s ad campaign, featuring Abdul-Jabbar and his co-stars from the movie “Airplane!” Robert Hays, and directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker will be on-hand at the Bradley Center to witness the public release of the soon-to-be aired commercial, filmed inside the original “Airplane!” cockpit set.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center’s second month of the new year kicks into high-gear the 2014 season. Marquette, the Bucks, and the Admirals all continue their seasons, hosting 19 games at the downtown Milwaukee arena in February. Complimenting the month’s calender, comedian Jeff Dunham, rock band Cheap Trick, and wrestling tour WWE Smackdown will also come to the Bradley Center in February.
Known for his witty ventriloquism and stereotypical characters, funny-man Dunham found success with his very popular Comedy Central specials, including one filmed in Milwaukee in 2008 that stands as the network’s most watched premier. Viewers named him Top Comic that year for his unique stand up, and a number of ventriloquist groups have praised his efforts to continue the practice through his act.
Dunham’s 2014 stop in Milwaukee is part of his current Disorderly Conduct tour. Always accompanied by his more then 10 hilariously individual puppets, the act has drawn acclaim from worldwide audiences and critics. New characters have joined the troupe for the tour as well. Dunham’s February stop at the Bradley Center is also one of his first since debuting as the voice of Mole in the movie The Nut Job.
Cheap Trick – February 21 (Admirals Post-Game)
Rockford, Illinois classic rockers Cheap Trick play the Admirals post-game concert series on February 21st. The appearance is just one of perhaps hundreds of shows the act has played in Milwaukee since forming in the mid-70s; the band’s hit song “I Want You To Want Me” was first performed in April 1975 in Milwaukee. Almost constantly touring, Cheap Trick has released over 25 albums since then, many of them live, and have solidified themselves in rock-and-roll history. Their home state has named April 1st as Cheap Trick Day, and cable channel VH1 ranked them as one of the 100 best hard rock groups of all time.
Cheap Trick will play immediately following the Admirals 7PM game against the Abbotsford Heat. The first 5,000 fans into the BMO Harris Bradley Center that night will receive a bobblehead of former Admirals center Vern Fiddler, and the concert is free to attend for all ticket-holders.
WWE Smackdown – February 25
On February 25th, the world’s most popular wrestling tour will return to Milwaukee. Celebrating its 15th season on television, WWE Smackdown brings more then a dozen of their veteran superstars to the Bradley Center for a night of high-flying action for all ages. The show will be aired on the SyFy Channel.
Milwaukee and the Bradley Center have become favorite hosts of the WWE series, including their Raw specials. Annual appearances are common in the city, and in 2010 the program inducted famed Brewers announcer Bob Uecker into the WWE Hall of Fame for his roles in two early formats of the Smackdown series in the late 1980s.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center began announcing its winter schedule this week, revealing two big-name December headliners. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the Harlem Globetrotters will perform their respective acts at the downtown Milwaukee arena during that month, just the first shows of what is expected to be an exciting end to the 2013 season.
The Bradley Center also recently announced that comedian Jeff Dunham and singer Cher as the first acts named for 2014.
A world-renowned musical experience, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra returns to Milwaukee on December 15th. Patrons at the event will be treated to the final live performance of the group’s acclaimed “The Lost Christmas Eve” rock-opera, the 2012 fusion of various musical genres and live theater. Playing at both 3PM and 7:30PM that day, the shows also mark the close of the orchestra’s 15th year touring.
More than 10 million people have seen the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in over 150 countries since 1998. The group has attained multi-platinum status on a number of albums, and have heralded their own brand of arena-rock for all-ages. Accompanying the final performance of their opera on the 15th, the group is also expected to dig deep into their cross-genre repertoire, covering classical, pop, and, of course, classic rock pieces.
The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team comes to Milwaukee to celebrate the New Year on December 31st. The athletic magicians began their “Fans Rule” tour in September, allowing fans to vote on special rules that will be included in every night’s game. For their New Year’s Eve special, the team will debut three new possible rules for Milwaukeeans to vote on, including a trick-shot battle that can be called-out anytime.
Two Globetrotters games will be played on the 31st. One at 1PM and another at 6PM. Always friendly, the team will remain on the court following the games for autographs and pictures.
BMO Harris Bradley Center 2013/2014 Schedule
– December 15th @ 3:PM and 7:30PM – The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
– December 31st @ 1PM and 6PM – The Harlem Globetrotters (Fans Rule Tour)
– February 6th – Jeff Dunham (Disorderly Conduct Tour)
– June 6th – Cher (Dressed To Kill Tour)
Following the excitement of last weekend’s Ultimate Fighting Championship 164 event at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, World Wrestling Entertainment returns to the downtown Milwaukee arena in September. The long-running televised spectacle was recently in Green Bay at the Resch Center in early August, hosting their final Raw event before the annual SummerSlam in Los Angeles on August 18th.
WWE’s Smackdown series comes to the Bradley Center on September 24th. The event marks the finale of the 14th season of the television broadcast, which is aired on the Syfy network in the United States. More than 50 other countries also regularly receive coverage of the show, including most of Europe, Japan, Chile, and even Fiji.
Highlighting September’s card at the Bradley Center is defending WWE champion Randy Orton. The veteran wrestler and fan favorite will face Daniel Bryan in an everything-goes bout to defend his hard-fought title. Current heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio is also on the schedule for the night, as well as the Wyatt Family, Ziggler, and Damien Sandow.
If that isn’t enough, fans at the September Smackdown event will be treated to the ever-popular and exciting tag-team match. Three-man powerhouse the Shield will take on a throw-together team of WWE superstars in a six-man bout sure to feature high-flying bodyslams and chairs to the head. The Big Show helms the opposing team against the Shield, joining forces with RVD and Mark Henry to dethrone the tag-team dynamos.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center has become a usual host of the WWE Smackdown, and sister series Raw, in recent years. Increasing attendance and interest in the events has lead to four tapings in Milwaukee in the past two seasons. The league was last in the city in March.