Willie Nelson at new Austin City Limits at New Moody Theater in Austin (February 13 & 14, 2011)


The new Austin City Limits studio is on Willie Nelson Boulevard – 310 W. 2nd Street, Austin. 

“In with the old, in with the new”

by: Jackie Vega, Pamela Cosel

Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, John Mellencamp, Gipsy Kings, Tony Bennett and Jeff Beck will be among the first to grace the new Austin City Limits studio in Downtown Austin.

ACL Live at the new Moody Theater launched its website Friday morning, making the much-awaited announcement about the first round of concerts that includes two nights with the big names. The first event on the calendar is the Imagination Movers on Feb. 10.

Still, not all the shows will be broadcast as part of the “Austin City Limits” show on PBS.

“Austin City Limits” will be taped inside the new Moody Theater, but Austin City Limits Live is something entirely different – with a wide range of its own concerts that also happen inside the Moody Theater.

Beginning in March, the Moody Theater inside the W Hotel will be the new home of the historic ACL television show, which had its last run at the University of Texas’ Communications building Nov. 8 inside the familiar Studio 6A – home to the show for 36 years.

Willie Nelson taped the pilot episode of “Austin City Limits” – before the iconic Austin city skyline backdrop was installed inside the studio – so it’s only fitting that he be among the first performers inside its new state-of-the-art home all these years later. The new studio is on Willie Nelson Boulevard – 310 W. 2nd St.

While photos of the inside of the new theater are prohibited — for now — ACL Live staff gave KXAN Austin News a sneak-peek inside the venue at the W Hotel on Tuesday afternoon.

ACL Live at the Moody Theater can host 2,700 concertgoers — just shy of nine times more than the old venue.

The venue will be a mixture of the old and new. “Austin City Limits,” the TV show, will share the space with the new venue, ACL Live, soon to be a concert facility with capabilities to house large, small or private events of all kinds.

Staff is developing a show series now to include big names in the entertainment world. They’re big names that will come to Austin’s newest performing venue that features a soon-to-be-glass enclosed balcony, walkways and 25 points of sale for bars and outdoor eateries.

The worst seats in the house will be nearly as good as the best seats, with no one seat being further away than 75 feet from the platform.

The stage itself is raised only four feet from the main seating level. It measures 40 feet by 33 feet, and is surrounded on three sides by three levels: main, mezzanine/club and balcony seating.

Various group and private dressing rooms and a green room are backstage, still to be constructed with drywall, paint and flooring. A smoking area is outside backstage, and is named for Willie Nelson — Austin’s own famous musical genius, a new statue of whom will be installed outside at the bottom of the main staircase to greet visitors to this new performing hall.

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