News Article | 2/28/2007

Dan Aykroyd hosts a tour of the new House of Blues in Dallas

Tuesday morning the House of Blues Dallas hosted a media tour for all us press types of the construction site, featuring Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd and a “Mississippi River Mud Ceremony.” While the building located in Victory Park is still mostly just two-by-fours and screws, you can already tell that this is going to be a great venue for touring U.S. and international acts.

The tour started with fairly short speeches by some of the people associated with the House of Blues (HOB) Dallas project in what I believe will be the Foundation Room. Bruce Eskowitz, CEO of North American Music/Live Nation, which purchased the House of Blues last summer, made sure to mention that the HOB will be able to provide approximately 300 jobs to local residents with an annual venue payroll of between $6-7 million. The final speaker before the “Mississippi River Mud Ceremony” was Dan Aykroyd who began his speech with a dedication to the other original Blues Brother, John Belushi. He finished by talking about the history and mythology associated with the House of Blues chain. You can catch the full video of Aykroyd’s speech here (not just a sound clip like some other unnamed sources).

From there everyone went outside for the “Mississippi River Mud Ceremony,” in which mud from the Mississippi Delta is shipped from New Orleans and shoveled into the foundation where the main stage will be located. According to HOB:

The rich river mud represents and captures the heart and soul of blues music and the tremendous spirit of Southern hospitality, infusing these qualities into each and every House of Blues venues are tied together by a rich legacy of the blues music that forms the foundation of popular music today.

The Dallas HOB, scheduled to open May 8, 2007, will feature a 1,625 capacity music hall separated into two levels. The lower level will feature “bar seating and standing room areas, as well as two bars” with the top level providing “reserved seating for about 400 and several VIP opera boxes as well.” HOB Dallas expects to host over 200 concerts annually in the music hall. There will also be a restaurant serving Southern-inspired cuisine seating 300 with indoor and outdoor tables, in addition to a full bar. In the restaurant there will be “live blues music with local artists each week” as well as the Sunday Gospel Brunch. I got to preview some of the food, including the jambalaya, southwest cornbread, and, my childhood favorite, biscuits and gravy, and it was all delicious. Not sure if it will taste as good when it’s not free, but hey, this morning it hit the spot.

The Dallas HOB will also feature works of art, mostly originating from the Mississippi Delta region, called “folk art,” which feature works by “self taught artists who learned to create works of art from whatever materials were at their immediate disposal.” For a preview of the collection that will be housed at the Dallas venue check out the slide show to the right.

On May 12, Dan Aykroyd will be back with Jim Belushi for a Blues Brothers Classic Revue Salute.

Alan Cohen contributed to this story