CINCINNATI — As people streamed onto the Banks to catch the first concert at the new Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center, there was a sense that things might be getting back to normal.
"You know, having people around you and feeling back, like family and friends and things like that,” said concert-goer Lamonda Dye, “so I would have to say, yeah, a little back to normal."
Dye was in the elite group seeing R&B singers Kem and Leela James at the inaugural indoor concert at ICON, a music venue that seats around 4,500 fans indoors and another 8,000 outdoors. This concert sold out, which organizers saw as a good sign.
“I think we have like 10 or 15 seats left,” said Joe Santangelo of the Santangelo Group. “That's an indication that people just really want to get out and get back to normal."
Santangelo is also a long-time promoter of the Cincinnati Music Festival, which was postponed for the second consecutive year because of the pandemic. He said concerts like the one at ICON help fill the void.
"It's kind of like the Cincinnati Music Festival: Shortened version this year, and we'll be back at our full-blown Paul Brown Stadium next summer," Santangelo said. “As people more and more get used to being in crowds and hopefully, you know, it continues to get safer and safer and hopefully we can get through the new bumps in the pandemic road right now.”
For now, the R&B concert at ICON is the beginning of a summer filled with music and fun after a long silence.
"Looking around here, the transition has been absolutely beautiful,” Dye said. “As soon as we walked back down here, I was like, 'We're going to take pictures because we haven't seen this in forever.' This is good. I'm glad this is here."