SFX will promote the final concert ever between the twin towers of the historic Wembley Stadium. A second Bon Jovi date on August 20 has gone on sale, and this will be the last music event at the venue before it closes for the rebuilding programme that will transform the site into the new National Stadium.
There are now six shows taking place at Wembley this summer, with two showsapiece for Bon Jovi, Oasis, and Tina Turner. The second Bon Jovi date went on sale June 9 and sales started well. Promoter Tim Parsons of SFX confirmed there will be something extra special happening at the last concert, but he would not reveal any plans at the moment. “We are talking to Wembley,” was all he would say.
Bon Jovi last played the U.K. four years ago, when the band sold out two nights at the National Bowl at Milton Keynes, with a combined audience of 130,000. With two shows at Wembley and two sold-out provincial shows, including one at the new Brittania stadium in Stoke and one at the Gateshead International Athletics stadium, Bon Jovi has managed to sustain a high level of popularity in the U.K. Sales of 150,000 units on the newly released album further underline the group’s status here. Bon Jovi’s latest single has also been the biggest seller for the band in several years.
Toploader will support Bon Jovi on all the U.K. shows and one more support act has yet to be confirmed.
DiDi Music started the summer season with a successful, if controversial, Rage Against the Machine concert. The band played its first ever concert in Greece at the Petra Theatre June 14, but the one-and-a-half hour performance was overshadowed by ugly riots that ensued in the streets surrounding the venue after the show.
Reports said that it was a great performance in the striking setting of the natural open-air amphitheatre in front of a huge crowd of 7,500. Promoter DiDi Music confirmed that the trouble started outside the venue after the show, but said that no one was hurt during the band’s performance.
Sources said local authorities acknowledged it was not the promoter’s fault, and the band said it had enjoyed its first experience of playing in Athens. A statement from DiDi Music said: “The concert performed by Rage Against the Machine on June 14 was a very successful show which left both promoter and band with the best impressions both on a professional and artistic level.
“The trouble which took place was entirely outside the gig site and the show took place in absolute safety. The riots were caused by youths and pressure groups who attacked the police and got involved in fights. They were not part of the concert audience and had no interest whatsoever in the show. Neither the artist nor anyone attending the show was in danger at any time.”
Reports from Minsk, Belarus, said Russian glam-rock star Filip Kirkorov has accused police of beating fans during his concert in the city.
The disturbance reportedly began when Kirkorov stopped in mid-tune during a show in Minsk and began yelling at riot police in front of the stage. According to a police official, authorities were trying to push back dancing fans. Kirkorov said he saw police beating a woman and yelled at them to stop.
He called the police “political prostitutes,” according to reports. Kirkorov, a veteran Russian rocker and husband of Soviet pop star Alla Pugachyova, is well-known in the former Soviet Union and has performed in Las Vegas. Police have refused to release any other details or say whether anybody was hurt at the concert. Belarus police have been frequently criticised for alleged violence against political demonstrators.
Sydney’s first world music festival, Hemispheres, is the largest event on the Olympics Games arts program. More than 60,000 are expected to attend the two-day gathering at Centennial Park September 9 and 10, the weekend before the Games.
Some 200 local and international artists have been confirmed. Eagerly anticipated are Australian debuts by Juan de Marcos’ 20-strong Afro Cuban Allstars (whose visit here a few years ago was canceled when the Cuban government refused them visas because the visit was sponsored by an alcohol company, which it considered disrespectful to Cuban music) and Ali Farka Toure. Other acts are The Creatures (with Siouxsie and Budgie of the Banshees), African blues guitarist Mali, Natacha Atlas, Scotland’s Shooglenifty, the Salullori troupe from Korea, and Papua New Guinea superstar George Telek.
Also appearing are Paul Kelly, Alex Lloyd, Christine Anu, Stella One Eleven, Epizo Bangoura, Karma County, NoKTuRNL, Psycho Zydeco, Kavosha Mazella, Soma Rasa, Wicked Beat Sound System, Stiff Gins, Full Fathom Five, Gondwana, Mara! And The Martensia Choir, dancemasters Endorphin, Friendly, Transglobal Underground, Asian Dub Foundation, Fiji-born DJ Akaash, and Dimitri From Paris.
In other Olympics news, a global viewing audience of 3.5 billion could see Aussie divas Olivia Newton John, Tina Arena, Julie Anthony, and Vanessa Amorosi perform at the Opening Ceremony September 15. The four have been approached but none have officially agreed.
They want to hear the songs each has been asked to perform that were written for the occasion. The rumours are Christine Anu may perform at the Closing Ceremony at Stadium Australia. Anu wouldn’t confirm anything with Polllstar, except to say that she’s bought a ticket to the women’s 400m final to cheer good buddy Cathy Freeman to a gold.