Sold Out

TD Banknorth Garden/Boston-Thursday thru Monday-7/6-7/10
Gross: $6,337,115
Sold/Capacity: 36,741/36,741
Ticket Price(s)-$350.00/$55.00

What ever happened to the BOSTON Garden.

What bothers me is we no longer complain about the creeping commercialism.  What next, Citibank Yankee Stadium?  And we wonder why the acts have all sold out too.  It’s part of our CULTURE!

As for Madonna…  Who do we blame more, her or MTV, which made her possible.  Suddenly, concerts went from music to spectacle.  It’s now about the SHOW!  Let’s see Madonna nailed to the cross.  It’s like fucking DISNEYLAND!

Madonna has put out some great tracks.  But it’s less about the music than the media manipulation.  Always tiptoeing up to the line, and going one step over.  This illustrates how out of touch the mainstream media is, that they portray an almost fifty year old woman as edgy.  In an era when the President says "shit" and no one gives one, let’s stop saying that Madonna is testing limits, especially with her last safe dance floor album.  Madonna is a phenomenal businesswoman.  A less than mediocre singer.  And a horrible guitar player.

Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood
Gillette Stadium/Boston-Sunday-7/16
Gross: $4,136,945
Sold/Capacity: 55,124/55,124
Ticket Price(s)-$85.50/$72.50/$37.50

Fifteen years ago, never mind THIRTY years ago, the biggest country acts in America couldn’t have sold out a stadium, probably not even an arena, in Boston.

Time to start taking country music seriously.  It’s not a sideshow, but one of the MAIN SHOWS!

Used to be Top Forty was everyman’s format.  Now it’s an urban wasteland playing to a slim part of the musical audience.  Hell, despite all the carping about me-tooism in country, there’s more room for innovation in the Nashville format than there is on Top Forty.  Hell, Big & Rich feature a BLACK RAPPER!

Sure, one can lament the loss of a lot of shitkicker country, but what’s left is closer to the Eagles, who own the biggest selling album in history.

Let’s see.  The people can sing.  There are melodies, and hooks.  You wonder why country does such big business?

(Kenny Chesney and most of the same characters also sold out in Greenville, SC, Madison Square Garden/NY, Louisville, KY, Tampa and Nashville.)

Dave Matthews Band, Gomez
Tweeter Center/Camden, NJ-Tuesday/Wednesday-6/27-6/28
Gross: $2,130,763
Sold/Capacity: 50,045/50,045
Ticket Price(s)-$56.50/$37.50

How’d you like a piece of THIS action.

Illustrating, once again, it’s about careers.  Sure, Dave has been helped by MTV/hits, but he hasn’t had one in a long time.  And, he was doing quite well, arena level business, BEFORE he had any hits.

Oh, you know.  It’s the production.  The lasers, the backdrops, the PYRO!

Err…  Dave doesn’t feature any of that.

No, it’s about the MUSIC!

Go to a Dave show.  People lose their minds in the MUSIC!  It’s not about spectacle.

This guy is seemingly teflon, he can work forever.  It’s not like he’s never on the road, he’s on the road almost ENDLESSLY, yet his fans still come.

And they don’t look like the fans of the MTV/Top Forty acts.  They look like college students.  They look kind of…normal.

So, if you’re chasing the fads, maybe you’re missing the point.

Hell, if Dave hadn’t gotten his masters back for re-signing with RCA, he could have gone independent, and gotten seven bucks a record.  Seven times a million…mmm.

As for Gomez.  Good move signing with Red Light Management.  This audience is YOURS!  (This is a good opening act fit, unlike so many of the head-turning bills we see today.)

Meanwhile, Dave also sold out in Bristow, VA, Scranton, PA and Hershey, PA.

And while I’m here, did you notice those TICKET PRICES!  Respect your fan, treat him right.  Rip him off and the odds of him coming back are greatly reduced.  (Can you say Streisand?)

Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Sawis Center/St. Louis-Friday-7/14
Gross: $1,471,310
Sold/Capacity: 17,870/17,870
Ticket Price(s)-$87.00/$67.00/$47.00

The couples/love act makes me puke.  I’ll relish the divorce.  Don’t all these country acts usually split up?  Didn’t Garth move on?

Being together all the time breaks up relationships.  I read it in a book.

Well, actually, I made that up.  But, don’t you need a break?  Don’t you get on each other’s NERVES?

Faith went back to her fans, she returned to country.  That’s the story here.

Hell, wouldn’t you rather deal with these two than Madonna?  No diva attitude, just a raining cash register.

(Also sold out in Bossier City, LA…where the hell is THAT, got to give ’em props for going to the boonies…, New Orleans, Atlanta and Des Moines.)

Rascal Flatts, Gary Allan, The Wreckers
Cricket Pavilion/Phoenix-Thursday-7/13
Gross: $690,884
Sold/Capacity: 18,608/18,608
Ticket Price(s)-$49.00/$25.00

How long have Rascal Flatts been around?  God, if they weren’t a country act, the manager would be charging $100 and have a gold circle to boot.

It’s not about taking every last dollar out of a market, it’s about being in business for a long time.  If people are new to the act, how much should they pay to experience it?  Concertgoing is no longer a regular habit, but a once in a blue moon event.  And high ticket prices have contributed to this.

And to think of all the rappers who couldn’t do close to this number.  What a fucked up business we have.  Used to be that airplay coincided with road business.  Back before the exec believed he was the star, and it was about music.

And believe me, Rascal Flatts PLAYS music.  Yup, on regular instruments.  Songs you can sing along to, that are not only good for dancing in the club.

But the true props have to go to Bob Cavallo and Hollywood Records.  From worst to first.  Sure, some luck was involved, but it’s now starting to look like skill, exercised by a man who’s seen it all, from Lovin’ Spoonful to Prince.  And notice he doesn’t toot his own horn, like the besuited pricks at the competition he’s whomping.  Positively old school and I LIKE IT!

(Also sold out in Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and Staples Center/L.A.)

Red, White and Boom: Ashley Parker Angel, Teddy Geiger, Mario Vasquez, Dirtie Blonde, Saving Jane, Cheyenne, Aly & AJ
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre/Bonner Springs, KS-Saturday-7/1
Gross: $203,765
Sold/Capacity: 11,969/11,969
Ticket Price(s)-$35.00/$15.00

I guess there’s an exception to every rule.  The nineties haven’t completely evaporated.  Gather up everybody with a radio hit, sell tickets for a cheap price and you can get newbies who’ve never been to a show before to attend.

But in the days of Spitzer, how long will this go on?

Then again, can any of these act play on their own?

One thing’s for sure.  In a year, no longer than two, all of these acts will be irrelevant has-beens.  Yup, I can say that with confidence.  That’s how important Top Forty radio and MTV are.  They’re like AM in the seventies.  The only people listening/paying attention are those who aren’t music fans to begin with!  They’re casual listeners.  Anybody who cares about music is into the acts with CAREERS!

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
MTS Centre/Winnipeg-Friday-7/14
Gross: $1,225,084
Sold/Capacity: 11,929/11,929
Ticket Price(s)-$157.37/$45.31

Must be a Canadian thing.  Because these guys can’t come close to selling out south of the border.  They did two-thirds of the house at Tweeter in Camden and not quite three-quarters in St. Paul.

This is sad.  Without Neil, the other three no longer mean much.  And their debut is as fine an introductory record as has ever been made.

When these guys reunited in 1974, it was big news.  Now it’s…shit, baby boomers trying to relive their youth/college days by going to see a band that’s just as enmeshed in adulthood as they are.  Shit, they even LOOK bad.

Except for Neil.

Neil’s maintained.  Both career and his thin, lithe body.  But despite all the hoopla in the press, how many people truly cared about his last record.  His career’s been waning too.

If you were truly a fan of these old acts, bought the records when they came out, not when everybody else already had them, like the attendees at most Stones/classic rock shows, then you don’t really want to go to these shows.  It’s creepy.  Like you’re dead.  You’d rather sit at home and listen to the original recording, frozen in time, reminding you of who you were and what was going on back then, maybe inspiring you to do something worthwhile in the future as opposed to making peace with the fact your life is over.

Counting Crows/Goo Goo Dolls
Red Rocks/Morrison, CO-Wednesday-7/5
Gross: $545,858
Sold/Capacity: 9,484/9,484
Ticket Price(s)-$69.50/$49.50

Don’t tell me venues don’t count.  Red Rocks is the most spectacular outdoor venue in America, people want to GO THERE!  Hell, even JOHN TESH did his video/record there!

Kind of like the old Fillmores.  Red Rocks is a home to music.  Whereas most of those usual suspect amphitheatres are bunker-style edifices erected solely to pull money from your wallet, you go there BEGRUDGINGLY!


Well, this tour did do 54.8% in Albuquerque, where they must be starved for entertainment, because it did 36.4% in Phoenix, 23.8% in Ridgefield, WA, 33.6% at Shoreline, in Mountain View.  33.4% in Marysville, CA and 46.3% at Concord, in CA.

Nickelback, Hoobastank,  Three Days Grace, Hinder
U.S. Bank Arena/Cincinnati-Friday-6/30
Gross: $349,031
Ticket Price(s)-$47.50/$39.50

Yup, keep on saying they suck.

Mmm…  Seems like Long Beach Arena in the seventies.  Put together a bunch of rockers, charge a cheap price and VOILA, you’ve got a sellout!

Teenagers have angst.  They need to work it out.  What better place than the show?

Especially when tickets are affordable…

(Also sold out in Indianapolis, Portland, ME, Buffalo, Albany, Columbus and Cleveland.)

Def Leppard, Journey
Mohegan Sun Arena/Uncasville, CT-Wednesday-6/28
Gross: $419,100
Ticket Price(s)-$85.00/$70.00

Like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for barely fortysomethings.  People who remember MTV fondly.

Do they even know that Steve Perry’s not there?

No, and they JUST DON’T CARE!

Oh, Journey could sell out stadiums if Perry reunited with the band, but as long as the act continues to be an afterthought, a mix-in with another headliner, they can do business.

It appears that Howard Kaufman is the king of the packagers.  He’ll constantly unite you with another act, convincing people to see you one more time, so you can fill up your retirement account.

Buffett is golden.  He’ll always play alone.  Maybe even from the grave.  But if Fleetwood Mac ever reappears, especially without Christine McVie, make no mistake, there will be a name opening act.  (Or, they’ll do shitty business!)

AFI, Dillinger Escape, Nightmare Of You
Roseland Ballroom, NY-Thursday thru Friday-6/22-6/23
Gross: $147,867
Ticket Price(s)-$23.00

They call this underplaying.  They call this playing to your fans.

Sure, it’s New York City.  And the ticket price is cheap.  But, despite appearing on the national radar only recently, AFI has been slogging for a decade, they know it’s about fans, and they want to treat theirs RIGHT!

(Also sold out in Chicago.)

Panic! At The Disco, Dresden Dolls, The Hush Sound
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing-Philadelphia, PA-Saturday-7/1
Gross: $135,000
Ticket Price(s)-$22.50

Come on, this band won’t mean shit next year, right?

(Also sold out at the 9:30 Club in D.C.)

Michael Buble, Jann Arden
River Center Arena/Baton Rouge-Sunday 7/9
Gross: $349,031
Ticket Price(s)-$65.00/$49.50

Okay, also sold out in: Des Moines, Birmingham, AL, Kettering OH, Hershey, PA, Valley Center, KS, Pensacola, FL, Colorado Springs, CO, Toledo, OH, Wilkes-Barre, PA…

Fuck, where do we start?

Credit a great job by the label, Warner Brothers.

And an even better job by Bruce Allen, Buble’s manager.  As Bruce always says, it’s PERSONAL management.  As a result, he can only work with a few acts, but each of those do STRATOSPHERIC business.

And, notice the promoter is not Live Nation, but Beaver Productions.

Like his act, Bruce is old school.  And it appears that old school triumphs.

Charge a reasonable fee for someone who sings songs!  It’s not about image (have you seen Buble?), but MUSIC!

Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris
Bank Of America Pavilion/Boston-Friday-6/23
Gross: $289,578
Ticket Price(s)-$71.00/$35.00

Well they certainly don’t go to see Knopfler for his looks.  Or for his voice either.  But he can PLAY!  Not the quickest, not the flashiest, but with SOUL!

Are teenagers going to go see their Top Forty heroes twenty five years from now?  Right.

But baby boomers believe in music.  And want to purchase it and go to the show.  And respect an act like Knopfler.  Who will play and take you away, on a journey no video game or movie can ever hope to replicate.

(Meanwhile, not every date is a hit.  They did 57.9% in Chicago, although about the same number of people attended, but in Minneapolis they did 83.1% and in D.C. 92.3%.)

Zappa Plays Zappa: Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, Napoleon Murphy Brock & others
Wiltern Theatre/Los Angeles-Friday-6/23
Gross: $92,248
Ticket Price(s)-$52.50/$42.50

Where’s Frank when you need him?  Someone to speak the truth and blow the roof off this phony music business, this phony SOCIETY, we live in.

The emperor had no clothes, and Frank let us know.  With stinging guitar and wild chord changes to boot.

I truly thought he was forgotten, that nobody cared.  But his son and his old players are barnstorming the country and in excess of ten years of his death, it turns out people STILL REMEMBER!

They sold out in San Francisco too.

If they discovered Zeppelin, can the youth discover Frank Zappa too?

I guess we can hope.

Badfish-A Tribute To Sublime, Dookie-A Green Day Tribute, Hand Me Down Buick
House of Blues/Atlantic City, NJ-Thursday-7/13
Gross: $40,809
Ticket Price(s)-$20.00/$17.00/$15.00

Admit it, doesn’t this sound like MUCH MORE fun than going to hear some new wannabe band?

Talk to club promoters.  Tribute bands are their secret weapon.

Pink, Matt Nathanson
Avalon/Hollywood, CA-Wednesday-6/28
Gross: $33,507
Ticket Price(s)-$27.00

Dear Mr. President,

Please tell me how I could be the biggest act in the land only a few short years ago, and release a new album that was hyped more than almost any other out there, yet still have to play clubs.

Could it be that it’s not about being a pretty face, but the music?  Could it be that I truly have no fans?  Could it be that I’ll have to live off the earnings of my motocrosser husband?

(Also sold out in San Francisco, with almost identical numbers.)

Mindless Self Indulgence, Kill Hannah, Julien-K
The Music Box@Fonda Los Angeles-Friday 6/30
Gross: $26,075
Ticket Price(s)-$25.00/$20.00

Admit it.  You’ve got no fucking idea who ANY of these acts are.

But obviously their fans do.  Not via traditional media, either.

This is how it used to work.  When bands grew up from the street instead of being forced down our throat by corporations.

You’ve got to believe every person who went told all his friends about it.  They’re members of a secret club, which is growing.  THAT’S what you want to belong to, not be the eight-millionth fan of some overhype.

(Also sold out in San Francisco.)

Box Office statistics provided by CelebrityAccess and Billboard.

2 Responses to Sold Out »»


  1. Comment by Gerrit | 2006/07/26 at 03:34:23

    >Admit it. You’ve got no fucking idea who ANY of these acts are.

    Well, in fact I do. But I only know Mindless Self Indulgence. If I have to compare them to another act I should say its a mix between Marilyn Manson and Jane’s Addiction. Not bad though. Recommended listening. Absolutely.

    Best regards,
    Gerrit Mesker
    The Netherlands

  2. Comment by pescatello | 2006/07/26 at 06:43:08

    In regards to your comments about the Country show

    Fifteen years ago, never mind THIRTY years ago, the biggest country acts in America couldn’t have sold out a stadium, probably not even an arena, in Boston.
    Time to start taking country music seriously. It’s not a sideshow, but one of the MAIN SHOWS!
    Used to be Top Forty was everyman’s format. Now it’s an urban wasteland playing to a slim part of the musical audience. Hell, despite all the carping about me-tooism in country, there’s more room for innovation in the Nashville format than there is on Top Forty. Hell, Big & Rich feature a BLACK RAPPER!

    I’m not a huge country fan, but i can definitely acknowledge that it is a force to be reckoned with. In Chuck Klosterman’s book “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” he devotes a chapter to this trend, even go as far as calling The Dixie Chicks the equivalent of 80’s Van Halen. With teenage women changing to become more like teenage men, both in sexuality and in demeanor, it’s fitting that their music is just as outspoken and rocking. I’m not completely sold on the analogy, but still an interesting idea.

    He also remarks that Country music is one of the few types of music that can actually be understood, as the words are very literal and actually understandable – vs. most of electronica and current rock (he also says that this is one of Eminem’s strengths too).

    Ok, i’ll quit paraphrasing klosterman now. Great post, keep ’em coming!

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.