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Topic: USA TODAY Some good press Return to archive
05-30-02 02:20 PM
DCStonesFan The summer's hot tickets

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

The Rolling Stones, historically the box office champ each year they tour, leave the gate Sept. 3.

Let's suppose Kid A has a summer concert allowance of $500. He can buy a pair of nosebleed seats for each of 17 shows Jewel, Nickelback, Queens of the Stone Age, Ben Folds, Kid Rock, Blink-182 / Green Day, Poison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kenny Chesney, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, B.B. King, Usher, Rush, Elvis Costello and Yes and have $11.20 left for binocular rentals. Or he can borrow an additional $5 and purchase one ticket for The Who in the ritziest section of the Hollywood Bowl. Bargains abound this tour season, as do deluxe ducats.

Acts at both extremes of the price spectrum are selling briskly, a sign that the tour kingdom is faring better than the record empire, where sales are down for the second year running.

"The concert business ended up pretty flat in 2001, maybe 1% up," says Ray Waddell, Billboard senior editor for touring.

Concertgoers this summer will pay nearly twice as much for the best seats at shows by baby boomer faves such as The Who compared with youth-friendly acts such as Incubus. Some examples of the median price for best seat in the house, by show type:

Boomer acts
Examples: Eagles, Rush, Yes

Wide appeal
Jewel, Sheryl Crow

Package tours
Ozzfest, Area2

Youth magnets
Kid Rock, Nickelback

"Given all that happened last year, that's not so bad. The volatility of the recording side of the music industry can hurt touring, which is always at the mercy of other segments in the business. When record sales are down, it's going to translate into concert attendance being off. But the touring business has shown remarkable resiliency. It's healthy. I haven't heard of any real stinkers this year, so that's a good sign."

Says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert trade magazine Pollstar: "The summer concert schedule is always overcrowded with more acts than any market can accommodate. There won't be a shortage of choices."

The Rolling Stones, historically the box office champ each year they tour, are especially noteworthy now, he says. Their adventurous strategy of tailoring different productions and set lists for stadiums, arenas and theaters (often booking all three venues in one city) may not prove as lucrative as past outings, but it's no risk, either.

"It's a very unusual approach and not the most economical," Bongiovanni says. "But they're not overplaying the market by doing three shows."

The band has sold more than 500,000 tickets (98% of those offered) so far and could gross $200 million by the end of the year. Though the Stones are expected to be the year's top draw, their tickets ($50-$350) are reasonable compared to top prices for fellow icons The Who and The Eagles. High prices for vintage bands have been on the rise for years.

"I'm not sure the public has adjusted," Bongiovanni says, "but it doesn't surprise people to see high prices for the boomer acts anymore."

Promoters are tinkering with price structures in hopes of luring casual listeners to less stellar attractions, he says. Clear Channel, for instance, is offering a $150 "grass pass," good for 10 lawn tickets to its amphitheater shows.

"Concerts were underpriced for a long time, then the pendulum swung the other way, and now prices are leveling off," Waddell says. "For the past few years, the industry has tried to get a handle on who is worth what and to make sure acts share in the process. In the past, the only person getting $350 for a ticket was a scalper.

"Acts not at the superstar level have to be conscientious about pricing themselves. Fans know when they're being gouged, and it can really hurt a developing act. Bands like Creed, Dave Matthews and Phish have never priced themselves out of the market."

A $500 Eagles ticket may seem stratospheric against a movie admission, but rock concerts remain more affordable than many operas, Broadway shows or sporting events. Some NBA games have $1,000 courtside seats. "Top artists are charging way less than half that for the best seats," Waddell notes.

Bongiovanni foresees high attendance for The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Incubus, Goo Goo Dolls, Kenny Chesney and the Green Day / Blink-182 pairing. Waddell predicts strong business for Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Usher, Creed and Trey Anastasio. Promoters also are optimistic about the returns of Oasis and Counting Crows and the first headlining tour by Norah Jones, who sets out June 6 in New York. Here's a sampling of summer's cheap-to-steep offerings.

Rock icons. The Stones, "arguably the world's greatest rock band at this point," Bongiovanni says, leave the gate Sept. 3. "Any Stones tour adds excitement to the landscape," Waddell says. "There's nothing bigger this year."
The Who kick off June 28 in Las Vegas. "They're one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but their last tour was uneven at best. And they've gone out with a so-called farewell tour so many times, they've lost a little credibility."

The Eagles, launching Friday in Reno, rarely tour and haven't hit the road since 1995, so high prices probably won't dissuade fans, Bongiovanni says.

Boomer faves. "Lots of buzz" about Cher's 50-city farewell tour should ensure capacity crowds, Bongiovanni says. And Rush, opening June 28 in Hartford, Conn., "has a core audience that's wanted to see the band come back for a long time." Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, with original bassist Ron Blair replacing Howie Epstein, start June 27 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Yes, recently reunited with Rick Wakeman, starts July 17 in Seattle. Jimmy Buffett and Bonnie Raitt are also considered potent draws.

Jam bands. The Dave Matthews Band, downsized from stadiums to arenas, should keep turnstiles spinning through early September. Also catering to the tie-dyed Hacky Sack set are Anastasio, Ratdog, Widespread Panic and Phil Lesh & Friends. Several jammers will congregate at the Bonnaroo Music Festival June 21-22 in Manchester, Tenn.
Charter members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir reunite as the Other Ones for Terrapin Station: A Grateful Dead Family Reunion Aug. 3-4 in East Troy, Wis.

Youth magnets. Korn, "the kings who popularized their own genre," Waddell says, start touring June 20 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to promote the much-anticipated Untouchables, due June 11. Teens and college students are expected to flock to tours by No Doubt, Nickelback, System of a Down, Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, Puddle of Mudd and Weezer. Britney Spears, summer's sole teen pop superstar, "hasn't hit the down slope yet" and should fare well, says Bongiovanni.
Bubblegum is scarce this season "after beating markets to death for five or six years," Waddell says. "It's a welcome break."

Country. A No. 1 album has given Kenny Chesney's first headlining tour "a lot of momentum," Waddell says. Also hitting the trail are Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and the two-fer of Brooks & Dunn and Dwight Yoakam. George Strait, sans his usual all-star bill, heads to arenas by late summer. The second leg of the Down From the Mountain Tour, showcasing music from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, starts June 25 in Louisville, with Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley, among others.

Bandwagons. Ozzfest, led by metal godfather Ozzy Osbourne, starts July 6 in Bristow, Va., with Andrew W.K., Hatebreed, P.O.D., Down, Rob Zombie, Apex Theory and many more. "Ozzfest could have its best year ever, based on the success of Ozzy's MTV series," Bongiovanni says. Or, Waddell says, the series could have damaged his credibility in "the dark metal niche that likes to think of him as hiding in a cave."
He credits Osbourne for providing "a great platform for underground acts that aren't darlings of the media, radio or MTV."

Eminem headlines the Anger Management Tour, starting July 18 in Buffalo, with Papa Roach, Ludacris and the X-ecutioners. The 15-city Smokin' Grooves tour gets underway July 18 in Mountain View, Calif., with The Roots, Outkast and Lauryn Hill.

The eclectic Area2, a 12-city trek with Moby, The Doves, David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, Blue Man Group, Ash and others, starts July 28 in Bristow, Va. Filter and Sevendust top the bill on Locobazooka!, opening June 27 in Milwaukee.

Bad Religion, NOFX and Reel Big Fish are on the crowded marquee of the Vans Warped Tour, starting June 21 in Nampa, Idaho. The 16-city Sprite Liquid Mix tour, launching Aug. 20 in St. Louis, boasts Jay-Z, 311, Nappy Roots, Hoobastank and Talib Kweli. The Jeep World Outside Festival, a 23-city caravan that combines music with adventure sports, has Sheryl Crow, Train, O.A.R. and Ziggy Marley starting July 10 in Charlotte.

Ranking the cost

Ticket price ranges for the 20 most expensive summer tours:

Show Price range (all seats) {1}
Rolling Stones {2} $50-$350
The Who $30-$505
Eagles $25-$500
Cher $33.25-$125.25
Melissa Etheridge $22.50-$83
Ozzfest $35.25-$129.50
Britney Spears $39.50-$100.50
Marc Anthony $22.50-$95
Rush $15.25-$95
Area2 with David Bowie, Moby and Busta Rhymes $30.50-$75.50
John Mellencamp $20-$200
Yes $19.50-$125
Lenny Kravitz $19.50-$135
B.B. King $12-$103
Jimmy Buffett $25.50-$150
Tim McGraw $38-$65
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers $15.50-$59.50
Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth $20-$75
Elvis Costello $15-$75.50
Chris Isaak and Natalie Merchant $19.50-$55

1- Range for tour overall; 2- Includes dates through September only.

Source: Analysis of 953 shows on sale through Ticketmaster, ranked by median price of the best seat available. USA TODAY analysis by Anthony DeBarros and Zehra Rizavi

05-30-02 02:52 PM
sandrew Finally, something positive. I had no idea the Eagles and the Who were charging that much for top tickets. For bands like that - bands that haven't released new material for decades (well, not counting crappy news songs like "Get Over It" by the Eagles - it takes a lot of nerve to charge $500.
05-30-02 03:17 PM
Joey "The Who kick off June 28 in Las Vegas. "They're one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but their last tour was uneven at best. And they've gone out with a so-called farewell tour so many times, they've lost a little credibility."

Who cares about credibility ............ Hell , once you lose integrity , the rest is easy .

It's all about bucks -- Grab as much as you can , when you can , while you can and show remorse when you are ninety .

Then again , once you have seen the WHO in concert ,you will understand why Five Hundred Dollars is a Bargain -- The best you will ever have . Pete Townshend is playing guitar better than Hendrix ever did .

And that is no understatement

Joey von Petey Wetey

05-30-02 03:25 PM
Maxlugar "The Who kick off June 28 in Las Vegas. "They're one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but their last tour was uneven at best. And they've gone out with a so-called farewell tour so many times, they've lost a little credibility."

I would like to take this person and hug him tightly.

I would slowly rock side to side and coo softly into his ear.

I'd coo and then whisper "goooood job, you may take the rest of the day offffffff"

For, you see, the truth has set him free.

"Lets do our 12th farwell tour, Ronnie!"

Maxy Von Custard Cups, Blimp 5!
05-30-02 03:33 PM
Joey Maxy..............

Have you gone to 8th Street yet and bought the DVD " The Who live at Royale Albert Hall " ??????? For when you do , you will become imbued with a special spirit , innate to a spaceless and timeless world when everything was/is possible it is very very present .

Highlight is " Bargain " .......Joey still cries at the Bridge on that one .

I pray that you have bought this video -- it weighs heavily on my stressed - to - the 15K limit soul . My new leader is right beside me as I type this and she too wants to know if you have the DVD and why you continually dis the Who ????

Bunny Townshend

05-30-02 05:24 PM
Maxlugar "My new leader is right beside me as I type this and she too wants to know if you have the DVD and why you continually dis the Who ????"

I would have thought the only thing she would complain about is when you over inflate her.

"Chasey Lain me, Ronnie!"

05-30-02 08:38 PM
Joey Hey , Don't make fun of Carleton like that Maxy . She is no rubber doll ......Carly is the real deal !!!!!!!!!

See Me .....

Feel Me .....

Touch Me......

Hug Me .......

Carly can you feel me ?
Can You ??? Can You ???? Can You ??????? See Me ????????

05-30-02 08:55 PM

ps I wouldn't pay 5 to see blink 182

05-31-02 04:43 PM
jb The 2% of tickets not sold are located at Fed Ex field!

On June 16, 2001 the hit counter of the WET page was inserted here, it had 174,489 hits. Now the hit counter is for both the page and the board. The hit counter of the ITW board had 1,127,645 hits when it was closed and the Coolboard didn't have hit counter but was on line only two months and a half.
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