Another Summer Wonder

What’s in the water these days? First there was The Police reunion, then The Spice Girls, a Van Halen tour on the way and now the return of Stevie Wonder.

Wonder hasn’t hit the road in more than a decade – but an "American Idol" appearance and a recent performance at the "Capitol Fourth" celebration in Washington, D.C., reminded all who the real R&B champion is.

Venues for his tour are all mid-sized amphitheatres – with Live Nation and Nederlander handling dates. Ticket prices are a relatively affordable $90. The August 31st gig at the 4,300-capacity Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Redmond, Wash., sold out in a reported 15 minutes.

A tragedy inspired his return to the road, Wonder told Pollstar.

"It was last year, in the latter part of May, when my mother passed away," Wonder said. "I was supposed to do this wedding that was on the books in Hawaii, and I was kind of undecided.

"I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to do it.’ [And then] it was kind of like the spirit of my mother came into my mind and my soul and said, ‘You know what? You need to take every single opportunity that you can to show love … and share in celebration of song for those who are experiencing something wonderful. Use this time to take that pain and turn it into love.’"

The singer said Hawaii gave him the inspiration to return to the road – to give thanks to the many people who have helped his family and loved ones by supporting Wonder’s career. He was very involved in the decision to play smaller venues and to keep ticket prices down.

"I wanted to keep it fair and keep it reasonable, in a time when things are a little crazy. As much as, you know, obviously this is my keep, how I do my thing, [this tour’s] not as much about that as it’s really about me doing what I’m saying."

Wonder did not rule out the possibility of a Vegas residency.

"It’s a thought. I think that if I could do it and not feel that I was going to be bored after a few days. That it didn’t get repetitious. If I had the flexibility of being able to be expressive in a kind of limitless situation (then yes)."