Category: Concert biz

KCRW-FM's December benefit concert plans scaled back to one night

Jimmy Cliff

Public radio station KCRW-FM (89.9) is scaling back its plans for holiday fundraising concerts in December, dropping to a single night on Dec. 3 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

The "Are Friends Eclectic?" shows were slated on Dec. 2 with reggae star Jimmy Cliff as the headliner along with Brett Dennen, Fool’s Gold, White Denim and Mia Doi Todd, and on Dec. 3 with Iron & Wine topping a bill that would also have included Belle Brigade, Anna Calvi, Zee Avi and the Secret Sisters.

“Early ticket sales for the first night were slow, so we decided to make it one blockbuster night of KCRW music that will blow your mind,” KCRW music director Jason Bentley said in a statement issued Friday.

Continue reading »

Roger Waters will bring 'The Wall' back to North America in 2012

Roger Waters The Wall
Mr. Waters, rebuild that wall!

Who knows whether former Pink Floyd songwriter-bassist-singer Roger Waters received such a command from on high, but whatever the impetus, the British rocker is returning for another round of shows in North America in which he’ll remount the group’s stage production of the rock opera “The Wall.”

The 2012 “The Wall” tour begins May 1 in Houston and will include 36 shows. It is scheduled to conclude July 14 in Philadelphia. A May 19 date in Los Angeles is slated, but the venue is still listed as TBA on the tour itinerary.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member also is scheduled to visit San Francisco on May 11 and San Diego on May 13.

The 2010 tour was the second-highest-grossing North American tour of the year, having pulled in $89.5 million, a figure topped only by Bon Jovi’s $108.2 million. Waters included stops last year at Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Ticket information will be posted at, and


Live review: Roger Waters and 'The Wall' at Staples Center

Bon Jovi posts highest-grossing concert tour of the year

Rocker mounts a farewell concert at the Berlin Wall

— Randy Lewis

Photo of Roger Waters during 2010 staging of "The Wall" at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Ricardo de Aratanha / Los Angeles Times.

Live Nation taps into social with Facebook app

Live Nation Concert Calendar

Social networks are great places to learn about concerts ... after they happen.

The tweets, FourSquare check-ins and real-time Facebook wall posts of live concerts only provoke jealousy and torture people who are sitting at home reading those updates, wishing they had known the band was in town.

For Live Nation, that represents a missed opportunity to sell tickets. To remedy this sad situation, the nation's largest concert promoter has created (what else?) an app.

The company's Concert Calendar on Facebook is an effort to proactively reach out to fans and let them know about upcoming concerts in their area.

With tens of thousands of events in Live Nation's database every year, the app doesn't just serve up all the concerts within a geographic area. Instead, it focuses on a few recommendations that are based on the type of music that the user has indicated they listen to in their profile or the bands that they've "liked" on Facebook.

To further personalize the concerts it recommends, the app taps into data from, an online music service that tracks listeners' tastes. For example, The Dead Weather fans tend to like the White Stripes, while Kenney Chesney listeners prefer the Zac Brown Band.

The app adds a viral, social layer by alerting users which of their Facebook friends have clicked the app's RSVP button to indicate they'll be going to a concert. The idea is that people are more likely to go to a concert if someone they know is also going.

Topping off the app is a game-ification mechanism similar to that of FourSquare. Check out the badges section on the lower left of the screen shot above. Users can also accumulate points for recruiting friends, RSVPing for concerts, posting on their walls and so on. The points can be redeemed for credit toward buying a ticket, MP3s or other Live Nation merchandise.

The app, which is currently only available by invitation, is neither the first nor only one to help music fans find concerts. Songkick, StubHub and others also have local concert-finders for both the Web and on mobile devices.

But for Live Nation, it's already proven to be effective. In testing the RSVP feature on Facebook, the company found that every RSVP click correlates with about $5.30 in increased ticket sales, according to Gretchen Fox, Live Nation's vice president of social media.

-- Alex Pham

Twitter/ @AlexPham

Concert business is up 11% in first half of 2011, Pollstar reports

U2 360 Anaheim-Arkasha Stevenson LAT 
The record industry isn't the only segment of the music business that appears to be on the rebound. The concert industry too, after a difficult year in 2010, is showing total revenue from the Top 50 tours worldwide is up more than 11% for the first half of 2011, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking publication.

Totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion, despite a 2.1% drop in the number of tickets sold -- 19.4 million -- meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.

The increase in the cost of concert attendance “was not expected coming off a down year,” said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni. “It's possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar.”

Ticket prices increased by an average of 13.6%, or $10.23, worldwide, Pollstar reported. The story for the North American concert business is even better, with total revenue on the Top 50 tours jumping 16.2%, to $1.12 billion.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s midyear report on recorded music sales, which also showed an increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Leading the pack on the concert trail, not surprisingly, is U2, with a six-month total gross of $164 million on the latest leg of its 360 Tour, which has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. With an average ticket price of $97.65 in stadiums where attendance averaged more than 104,000 people per show, U2 took in a whopping $10.25 million per night.  Bon Jovi's top-grossing tour of 2010, by comparison, took in $201.1 million worldwide over the whole year, according to Pollstar's figures.

Behind U2 is Roger Waters, who has pulled in $97.9 million with an average ticket price of $112.99, followed by Bon Jovi ($921 million, $96.26 ticket average), Lady Gaga ($65.3 million, $96.77 tickets) and Usher ($62.2 million, $83.28 tickets).

Rounding out the midyear Top 10 are Kylie Minogue ($52.1 million, $100.33 tickets), Kenny Chesney ($46.7 million, $72.41 tickets), Andre Rieu ($46 million, $113.72 tickets), Elton John ($44.6 million, $96.71 tickets) and Taylor Swift ($42.9 million, $68 tickets).

“The increased admission price seems to be spread throughout the chart rankings,” Pollstar’s report says. “There were 12 tours on this year’s chart that charged more than $100 per ticket, as compared to only eight last year. Even more interesting is the huge increase in tours hovering just under the magic three-digit price point. There were 22 tours charging more than $90 this year as compared to 12 tours last year.”


Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

Nothing but dollar signs on the horizon: U2 sets record for highest-grossing tour

Live review: U2 at Angel Stadium

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of U2 singer Bono during the group's 360 Tour stop in Anaheim in June. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.

Adele cancels rest of North American tour, including L.A., due to laryngitis

AdeleBritish singer Adele, whose “21” album has spent nine weeks in the No. 1 slot on the national sales chart, has had to cancel the rest of her North American tour, including her scheduled appearances Monday at the Greek Theatre and Thursday at the Hollywood Palladium, citing “ongoing illness.”

The 23-year-old singer is suffering from laryngitis and was ordered by doctors to “absolute voice rest” until she fully recovers, according to a statement issued Friday by her label, Columbia Records.

She had recently canceled five shows because of voice problems and had planned to resume the tour Saturday in San Francisco. An examination by an otolarynologist in Los Angeles determined she should continue to rest for several more weeks, forcing the cancellation of at least nine more stops on her current trek stateside.

"I'm really frustrated,” the singer said in the statement. “I was hoping with a week’s rest I'd be better to sing again straight away. However, there is absolutely nothing I can do but take the doctor’s advice and rest some more. I'm so sorry. See you soon."


Album review: Adele's '21'

Rihanna calls on Britney Spears for steamy 'S&M' remix

SXSW 2011: The Strokes cause gridlock, Austra makes an entrance and Le Butcherette go on the attack

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Adele. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Tickets for Britney Spears' Southern California tour stops go on sale Saturday

Britney Spears Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale Tour will reach Southern California with stops June 20 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and June 24 at Honda Center in Anaheim, with tickets for both going on sale Saturday.

Sales will begin at 10 a.m. on the Ticketmaster and Live Nation websites.

Spears is joined on the tour, which opens June 16 in Sacramento, by Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo. 

Her new “Femme Fatale” album entered the national sales chart earlier this month at No. 1 with first-week sales of 276,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it her sixth to top the chart.


Album review: Britney Spears' 'Femme Fatale'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Britney Spears tapes a "Good Morning America" appearance earlier this year. Credit: Max Morse / Getty Images

Greek Theatre, Gibson Amphitheatre 2011 seasons announced

Alison Krauss 2008-Lawrence K. Ho Lykke Li-Daniel Jackson Vicente Fernandez 2007-Ken Hively

A near-Zeppelin live experience, a 45th anniversary reunion of 75% of the Monkees, the return of a post-“Raising Sand” Alison Krauss to her longtime band Union Station, hit country-pop duo Sugarland, Steely Dan and a wealth Latin pop, salsa and traditional music stars including Vicente Fernandez, Luis Miguel, Ruben Blades and Ramon Ayala highlight the 2011 seasons at the Greek Theatre and Gibson Amphitheatre, to be announced Friday.

Drummer Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin’s original percussionist John Bonham, brings his Led Zeppelin Experience production to the Greek on May 27 for the venerable amphitheater’s 80th anniversary season, and Spanish signer Camilo Sesto kicks off the Premiere Marquee Club joint subscription season for the Gibson. Ticket packages for both venues go on sale Friday at

Bluegrass and country darling Krauss is back with Union Station to play the Greek on June 23, following her massively successful “Raising Sand” collaboration with ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, whose new group, Band of Joy, has its own date set for the Greek in a previously announced April 23 show.

The Greek’s season also serves up a couple of veteran rock and pop acts celebrating anniversaries this year. Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork will sing “Hey, hey — we’re the Monkees!” on July 16 as part of their reunion tour. Although guitarist, singer and songwriter Michael Nesmith joined with his former band mates on stage in 1986, 1996 and a 1997 U.K. tour, and in the studio for the 1996 album “Justus,” their first since their late-‘60s heyday, Nesmith is sitting this collaboration out.

British prog-rock group Jethro Tull marks the 40th anniversary of its “Aqualung” album in a June 11 stop at the Greek. Steely Dan will again offer up a couple of its studio albums in their entireties, along with a survey of material from across their career, with July 8 and 9 shows at the Greek.

The Gibson season is rich with Latin music, starting with Sesto and including Hombres G and Enanitos Verdes on June 10, Miguel (June 17), Polo Polo (June 18), Blades with Gilberto Santa Rosa (June 25), Los Tucanes de Tijuana (July 9), Ramon Ayala (Jluly 23), Pepe Aguilar (July 30), Alejandro Fernandez (Sept. 9) and Vicente Fernandez’s regular multi-night stand Nov. 11-13.

The Gibson will also play host to some award show events, including the MTV Movie Awards 2011 (June 5) and the Teen Choice Awards (Aug. 7).

Some acts will be stepping foot on the Greek’s stage for the first time, among them Swedish indie-pop star Lykke Li (Aug. 3), the Decemberists (Aug. 12) and Atmosphere (Aug. 26).

The full schedule for both facilities is available at or (818) 622-9987.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo (left) of Alison Krauss. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.

Photo (center) of Lykke Li. Credit: Daniel Jackson.

Photo (right) of Vicente Fernandez. Credit: Los Angeles Times.



Elvis Costello resurrects 'Spinning Songbook' for 'The Revolver Tour' in May

Elvis Costello-Spinning Songbook poster

Elvis Costello’s Spinning Songbook will whirl once more. The singer and songwriter will trot out the device he used on tour in 1986 for a new round of shows that allows audience members to select the songs at each night’s performance.

The game show wheel will include the titles of 40 songs and a different audience member will be invited onstage to spin the wheel to determine each successive song. While their song is being played, fans will have a choice of sitting in the “Hostage to Fortune Go-Go Cage” or in the onstage “Society Lounge,” where they will be served light refreshments. His 1986 tour with the spinning wheel remains one of Costello’s most celebrated.

Costello’s tour, dubbed “The Revolver Tour,” will encompass 10 shows in eight cities, starting May 7 in Reno, Nev., stopping May 11 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles and concluding with a pair of shows May 22-23 at New York’s Beacon Theatre.

Costello will be accompanied by the Imposters: his longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas and guitarist Davey Faragher. Costello donated the original Spinning Songbook wheel to the Hartlepool (England) Museum of Showbusiness Machinery. The one he’ll use on the new tour has been reconstructed from the original blueprints.

Tickets for the Wiltern show go on sale Feb. 11; details are on Costello's website.

--Randy Lewis


Bon Jovi tops the 2010 tour list, followed by AC/DC, U2 and Lady Gaga

Jonbonjovi The concert business was hit in 2010 by some of the same tough economic times that have been gripping other factions in the music industry in recent years, but New Jersey rock group Bon Jovi has reason to pop the Champagne anyway.

The band posted the highest grossing concert tour of the year not only in North America, but across the globe, topping the $200-million mark worldwide, according to figures released Tuesday by Pollstar, the concert-tracking publication.

Bon Jovi posted total concert revenue of $201.1 million, a little over half that figure -- $108.2 million -- from the North American dates on its world tour.

Behind the group on Pollstar's worldwide ranking is AC/DC with gross ticket sales of $177 million, followed in the top 5 by U2 ($160.9 million), Lady Gaga ($133.6 million) and Metallica ($110.1 million).

Looking only at North American tour numbers, Roger Waters and his remounting of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was second to Bon Jovi with a tour gross of $89.5 million, followed by the Dave Matthews Band ($72.9 million), Canadian pop crooner Michael Bublé ($65.7 million) and the Eagles ($64.5 million).

The big guns, however, couldn't bring up the entire concert business over last year's numbers. The top 50 North American tours combined for an overall take of $1.69 billion, down about 15% from $1.99 billion in 2009. The story was only marginally better throughout the world, where the top 50 total tour gross of $2.93 billion was off about 12% from $3.34 billion a year earlier.

Numbers were down almost across the board: total ticket sales dropped 12% in North America, from 29.9 million in 2009 to 26.2 million last year, and decreased 7% worldwide, from 45.3 million in 2009 to 38.3 million in 2010.

Top_20_Tours_of_2010 The only increase reported by Pollstar was in the average ticket price worldwide, which went up by $2.86 per ticket, or about 4%. Tickets in North America actually dropped by about $1.55 or 2%. Even Bon Jovi's field-leading $108.2 million for North America was the lowest figure in recent years for the No. 1 spot. The record high belongs to the Rolling Stones, who took in $162 million on their 2005 "A Bigger Bang" tour.

"Artists worked fewer shows in a tough business climate and those that overreached suffered the consequences," Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said in a statement that accompanied the numbers. "In general, the international concert business was stronger than in North America, where overbooked and overpriced shows at outdoor amphitheater venues made it an especially difficult year for Live Nation," a reference to the world's largest concert promoter.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has received consistent praise for his stamina, still typically delivering three-hour performances while touring at age 68. But he generally worked fewer nights for more money than most of his peers. His average gross of $3.86 million per night over 21 dates in 2010, and an average ticket price of $138.49, gave him the highest per-concert average in North America, followed by Bon Jovi ($2.85 million), Waters ($2.49 million), Alejandro Fernandez ($2.4 million) and Elton John-Billy Joel ($1.97 million).

Popularity-wise, however, Dave Matthews Band reigned, selling 1.27 million tickets in North America for the year. Bon Jovi was second with 1.18 million, Justin Bieber with 987,000, John Mayer with 894,000 and Brad Paisley with 880,000.

Rounding out the top 10 grossing North American tours were McCartney, who took in $61.8 million over 42 shows in 38 cities. Lady Gaga finished No. 7 with total ticket sales of $51 million, followed by the James Taylor-Carole King "Troubadour" reunion tour that nipped at Gaga's 6-inch spiked heels with a $50.7 million total gross, the Black Eyed Peas at $50.5 million and singer-songwriter guitarist John Mayer at No. 10 with $49.9 million.

Bublé also performed well around the world, finishing at No. 6 behind Metallica with $104.2 million, the "Walking With Dinosaurs" animatronics tour ($104.1 million), McCartney ($93 million), the Eagles (92.3 million) and Waters ($89.5 million).

Michaelbuble "Walking With Dinosaurs" attracted more patrons than any other tour, logging almost 2.06 million visitors. But the spectacle's overall gross finished farther down the list because the average ticket price was a comparatively modest $50.56.

Billboard's concert business rankings, which cover a slightly different, non-calendar year -- Nov. 22, 2009-Nov. 20, 2010 -- and factor in worldwide tour revenues, also place Bon Jovi at the top of the heap, with a gross during that period of $146.5 million from sales of nearly 1.59 million tickets.

The rest of the magazine's top five touring acts were largely consistent with Pollstar's, with the No. 2 slot taken by U2 ($131.5 million, 1.31 million tickets), then AC/DC ($122.6 million, 1.16 million tickets), Lady Gaga ($116.2 million, 1.36 million tickets) and Black Eyed Peas ($81.6 million, 1.26 million tickets). U2 scored its penultimate finish with only 22 stadium shows, compared to 69 performances for Bon Jovi.

U2 was tops on Pollstar's list of 2009's biggest tours, posting $123 million and another 1.31 million tickets sold. The Irish quartet was the only act to top the $100-million mark last year, with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band coming in second with $94.5 million, Elton John and Billy Joel's duo tour pulling in $88 million, Britney Spears at $82.5 million and AC/DC fifth with $77.9 million.

Among Pollstar's Top 100 North American tours, the crown for highest average ticket price of 2010 goes to Waters, who charged an average of $126.14 per ticket. That's considerably less than last year's high of $173.89 for Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks Live" tour.

Pollstar will release a full Top 200 early next month in its 2010 Year End Special Edition.

 -- Randy Lewis

Top photo: Jon Bon Jovi led the concert word with over $200-million in concert revenue. Credit: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.

Bottom photo: Michael Bublé also had a good year, including finishing at No. 6 internationally. Credit: Associated Press.

Madison Square Garden to buy the Forum

Kjhxn6nc Madison Square Garden, which owns the landmark New York venue of the same name, as well as Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater, among others, "is in the process of finalizing the purchase" of the Forum sports arena in Inglewood, according to The venue, which was at one point the home to the Lakers and the Kings, was once the preeminent large concert venue in the city. That changed with the opening of Staples Center in 1999.

The Forum has been owned since 2000 by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which has struggled to keep the venue profitable. The concert bookings have slowed to a trickle in the last year. The Times' Richard Verrier wrote about the church's goals when purchasing the property a decade ago:

More ambitiously, church officials envisioned a family entertainment venue with concerts, shops, restaurants and a hotel that would create hundreds of jobs in an underserved area while generating income for the church and its mission.

The dream, however, never came to pass. Today, the Forum sits mostly vacant and silent, a monument to a bygone era when it was known as the Fabulous Forum and hosted such acts as the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. The shops, restaurants and hotel never materialized.

"We're in a challenging situation right now,'' [Bishop Kenneth] Ulmer acknowledged in an interview.

If indeed the purchase comes to pass, it could change the landscape of the concert business in Los Angeles. The Forum holds 18,000 people, compared with the 20,000-capacity Staples Center, which, like the neighboring Club Nokia and Nokia Theatre, is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group. AEG also owns concert promoter Goldenvoice.

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: