With new touches and state-of the-art virtual reality technology, MSG’s All Access Tour gets a makeover. Visitors have the chance to step behind the scenes as never before.
There is that familiar moment of anticipation at Madison Square Garden, with the show about to begin. A rumbling swells deep in the heart of the building before a surge of electricity sweeps through the crowd. Imagine then, that you are at the epicenter, peering over Billy Joel’s shoulder as he treads down a darkened corridor before bounding onto the stage just as the lights go up. The expanse of the entire Garden engulfs you.
It’s a rare sensation captured in the Garden’s brand new All Access Tour, revamped with a singular ambition — to provide visitors with an experience that is part interactive, part virtual reality and fully immersive.
“Up close and personal” is how George Neal, a retired boat technician, described The Garden after encountering it for the first time on a recent afternoon.
Each day as many as 800 guests stream into Chase Square to begin a guided view from the inside out. For The Garden, it’s a way to connect with visitors from points across the globe who view MSG as a must-see destination.
Planted in the penalty box at rinkside, you can detect the shavings of the ice and the scars left behind by every skater who ever slammed an angry stick into the boards. And with the aid of state-of-the-art virtual reality technology you’ll shadow the Piano Man onto the stage.
Depending on what’s happening at The Garden that day, visitors might catch a rehearsal or a stage being built or the basketball hardwood set into place. And in a new touch, their travelogue might take them to a backstage dressing room — a space filled with lore, for all the head performers who have stretched out there getting ready for showtime.
Time to time, guests will get a peek into the Knicks’ locker room, and they also have a shot at interactive games to test their goalie reflexes and gauge the strength of their strongest boxing jabs.
A Special Birthday Gift
The other day tour guide JP Sarro shepherded a group of 15 through the Garden 366 exhibit, a circular trip on the Madison Concourse revealing the breadth of MSG through memorable images. Nelson Mandela. Muhammad Ali. John Lennon. They’ve all passed through.
Javy Patino and Georgia Peacock said The Garden was their last and “must-see” stop before their flight back home to Madrid that evening. Patino, a nightclub owner with an eye for showmanship and staging, took in the panoramic view from a luxury box and said his first look at The Garden had exceeded his imagination.
There is a communal feel to the day. As visitors sign in, their names pop up on a world map, underscoring the Garden’s reach. Two couples on this tour
were from Genoa, Italy and another from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Neal, the retired boat technician, was in from Charlevoix, Michigan with his wife, Suzie, and daughter Rachel. The trip — and in particular the Rangers game that night — was a birthday present for Rachel, a devoted Ranger’s fan.
It was not lost on her that she was turning 25 just as the Rangers were celebrating the 25th anniversary of their Stanley Cup championship year.
“That,” she said, “is the cherry on top.”
For more information on the Madison Square Garden All Access Tour, go to: https://www.msg.com/venue-tours/madison-square-garden
About The Madison Square Garden Company
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; and The Chicago Theatre. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com