Tony Bennett Opens New Venue

Colby Williams

Tony Bennett christened Downstream Casino Resort’s new outdoor venue last Saturday night. The Quapaw tribe has high hopes for the site, wanting it to become the premier destination in the area for performers.

We wanted to make a statement with our first concert: Downstream Casino Resort is an upscale destination unlike anything else in this part of the country,” said Sean Harrison, the spokesman for Downstream.

Cushioned between a parking lot and a well-landscaped road leading to the casino, about 3000 people attended the first event.

“The turnout was fantastic,” said John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw tribe and Downstream Development Authority. “We are really proud of the community coming out and supporting the show.”

The large stage loomed above the rows of folding chairs. In the distance stood the new hotel’s tower, it’s cascading lights of every color matching the lights on the stage. Pleased with the new venue was Ruth Gardner, an assistant professor in the Communications Department at Missouri Southern.

“I was impressed considering it rained most of the day,” said Gardner, who won two tickets from a radio contest. “They had a nice setup. They worked hard to make everyone comfortable, and it was a really gorgeous evening.”

0The VIP seats went for $100 each, instead of the $50 General Admission chairs, but for the extra money, VIPs could help themselves to the refreshment tent’s fruit plates and beverage selections from the trays of gold-clad waitresses.

“We are about class and style, so no ordinary concert would do,” Harrison said. “We thought about what would be the classiest possible concert and knew it was Tony Bennett. Then we went about figuring out how to bring him here and how to make it the best show it could be. We are 100 percent thrilled with how it went. Somehow we even got a break from the rain.”

With such a large turn-out for the twelve-time Grammy Award winner, Downstream is confident in the future of the venue.

“We probably can’t top Tony Bennett,” Harrison said. “But this is the kind of thing we want to do at Downstream. So, you can look for us to go for more class and style with our future concerts.”

“I’ve been a fan my whole life,” Berrey said of Bennett. “When we were deciding who to get to open this, he was my first choice. He already asked me if he could come back and open up our indoor venue when we get it finished.”

Plans are not yet finalized for the indoor venue, but Downstream thinks students in the Four States will enjoy all of the attractions on the grounds.