President, Global Touring + Chairman, Concerts
As long as legendary concert promoter Arthur Fogel has been in the business, and with as many music superstars as he’s worked with over the years, he still says the volume of tours this year is “unprecedented.”
“My world this year is completely action-packed with projects,” he says. “The Beyoncé tour starts this month in Stockholm, 57 stadium shows through Europe and in North America. I’m doing a Peter Gabriel arena tour, which also starts in Europe next month and then comes to North America. Then Madonna’s ‘Celebration Tour’ kicks off in the middle of July in North America before going to Europe. And Sting is on tour, we’ve just finished Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Asia and he’s going to Europe and then America.”
The day we speak, perhaps the most impactful live event he’s working on this year, has news: “We added five new dates to U2’s Sphere residency today,” he says of the band he’s long promoted and who on Sept. 29 will open the state-of-the-art Las Vegas venue. “The fact that we’re up to 17 sold-out shows tells you it’s going fantastic.” Though the residency is called “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere,” featuring their sublime 1991 album, Fogel points out that intriguingly on the last U2 tour five years ago, when they performed The Joshua Tree, they played hits and non-hits from other albums.
As for the Sphere, which he visited while under construction, Fogel calls it a game-changer. “It is unique to a certain type of experience and production and presentation,” he says. “The technology and the creative that comes with that technology, visual and audio is incredibly unique. U2, who have always been on the cutting edge of production and creative, are the perfect act to open such a venue.”
Asked if this is the busiest he’s been, Fogel says: “It’s right up there.
Generally, when you look at where the business is through last year and through this year and into next, the volume of shows and the volume of superstar tours is certainly at an unprecedented level, but it is all good.”