Once it had become obvious that huge mistakes caused Robbie Williams‘ Cardiff Millennium Park shows to be over-sold and Radio One’s Newcastle Love Parade being canceled, attention became focused on how the culprits would deal with the problems they’d somehow managed to create.
Band & Brown Communications, public relations firm for Ticketmaster, issued a press release that began, “Due to a computer error…” before going on to explain why the ticketing giant has sold more than its allocation for two shows at Cardiff’s 60,000-capacity Millennium Stadium (July 14-15). The mistake left some people disappointed because they’d secured a ticket up to three months earlier but were now faced with the prospect of missing out.
When POLLSTAR asked if the computer error was in any way human-assisted or just a result of an inherent fault in the company’s system, Ticketmaster Group’s managing director, Jules Boardman, had the good grace to hold up his hands and admit to a “screw-up” which came about when the SFX (now Clear Channel) Ticketline allocation was transferred on to the Ticketmaster software system.
Apparently, the person responsible for checking the transfer of information, well, sort of screwed up. This caused some bemusement at the offices of promoters Metropolis Music where directors happily admitted to not fully understanding exactly what had happened with the Ticketmaster system, mainly because they’d immediately focused on solving the problem rather than getting involved in the details of what had caused it.
Bob Angus, one of the company’s directors, said, “I suppose it was just one of the problems that can happen in the industry and we had to accept it. We had to just get on with making sure that we did our best for the public, rather than bothering about what had caused the botch-up. It was a bit late for all that.”
Although the Balkan States have opened up to international acts, it’s still the local talent that forms the backbone of the market, illustrated by the upcoming Pix Lax tour.
The acts, which are managed by Didi Music, look certain to repeat the success of the last tour by selling out three nights at the 6,000-capacity Athens Lycabetus Theatre (September 14-16) as part of a 23-date run. It takes the bands through Greece and ends with two shows at Crete’s 5,000-capacity Karantzaki Theatre in Irakleio and another two at the island’s 1,800-capacity An Tafros in Chania.
The tour kicks off on Corfu at the 2,500-capacity Castle, moving to Igoumenista’s 2,500-capacity Municipal Stadium before taking in 5,000-capacity civic venues in Amaladia, Argos, Kalamata and Kos. The largest venue is Salonika’s 7,000-capacity Earth Centre, while the average for the tour comes in at a little more than 4,000.
Last year’s inaugural two-day Electron Festival was far more successful in Athens than it was in Salonica so this year, Manolis Kilismanis of promoter Anosi has decided to do both days in the capital rather than one day in each city. The bill of Chumbawamba, Orbital, The Dandy Warhols, K Beta and some of the top local acts was much better received at the 6,000-capacity Lycabetus Theatre than it was at the 8,000-capacity football ground on the edge of Salonika. So, this year, Athens gets both Electron 2001 dates (September 18 and 21).
Sandro Rizzotto is hopeful the third Independent Days Festival will continue the startling progress made by the first two when attendance went from 20,000 (in ’99) to 40,000 for last year’s event. Manu Chao, Muse, Mogwai, The Eels, Turin Brakes, Rocket From The Crypt, and Man or Astro Man? are the international headliners that will be supported by local acts at Bologna’s Arena Parco Nord on September 1-2. The upbeat mood in the Indipendente Produzioni camp probably owes more than a little to the fact the company goes in to this event on the back of sellouts for Tricky in 2,000-plus capacity venues in Rome, Milan and Genoa, and the fact it’s midway through a 28-date run for Italian band Timoria, which is playing venues with capacities that average around 2,250.
Not so happy in Italy was Welsh band Stereophonics, which was probably due to the fact that the crowd at last month’s Heineken Jammin’ Festival pelted the boys with tuna, without having bothered to have first removed the fish from the tin. Even a promoter as experienced as Milano Concerti’s Roberto de Luca can’t do much against a 60,000-strong crowd that not only wants to see local hero Vasco Rossi, but also wants to see him RIGHT NOW! The impatience had been building up through the day.
Early afternoon, Feeder quit the stage after only five songs when drummer Jon Lee was hit in the eye with a solid object – presumably a can of fish – which probably left de Luca to wonder what he can possibly do about the problem, short of buying up the country’s entire stock of canned tuna. Stereophonics took rather a pragmatic view of the whole situation. A press release from the act’s V2 record company said they’d have had their own people in the audience (presumably tooled up with fish) if they’d have realised that’s what it took to get so much press in Italy.
The day after Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean announced he was entering a rehabilitation program for alcoholism and depression, advertisements appeared in all the major Japanese newspapers announcing the group’s three shows at Tokyo Dome November 19-21, despite the group’s cancellation of some of its upcoming U.S. and Canadian tour dates. General tickets will not go on sale until September 9.
Several other big fall concert tours were announced recently. Elton John is scheduled to play one night at Osaka Castle Hall November 12 and another at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall on November 13. Eric Clapton will make his biannual visit to Japan at the end of November and the beginning of December, including six concerts at Budokan and two at the Yokohama Arena (also Osaka, Nagoya and Sendai).
Brian Wilson will come into Tokyo for two dates, September 20-21, at the International Forum. Radiohead has added another Tokyo-area show to the two that are already sold out – Yokohama Arena on October 4.