Sunday, October 25, 2009

Concert Promotions Dark Days Ahead

A few weeks ago in "A New Darkness on the Edge of Town" and discussing the Bruce show at Giant's stadium, I alluded to a change on the horizon for big concerts and stadium shows, as we once knew them.. The below On the Media interview with Concert promoter John Scher directly addresses this "phenomenon" and characterizes such as the "dark ages" for concert promotion in years ahead. And I couldn't agree more. (although i don't agree with his theory as to why ticket prices are so high these days. It's my impression if promoters saw people scalping 35.00 tix for 150.00, promoters got savvy and simply cut out another middleman. Did staging acts really see "that" much of an increase in their take home ?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A New Darkness On The Edge Of Town


Last night I saw my first, and probably last, Bruce Springsteen concert at the Meadowlands. Why ? Because it just couldn’t be beat. Just couldn’t. A perfect night! Temperature. And as if staged, the falling rain started to “lightly” sputter before Bruce could pull his guitar cord after finishing the last song.

They band played the album “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” start to finish, to mark the series of album shows performed over the last week in the Wetlands. “Promise Land” lit the night with the diehard NJ audience articulating every chorus like a well-oiled machine. Bruce was among “his” people. And they gladly sang along with all their hearts. It was his hometown, the Meadowlands, Friday night. I’ll never forget it.

The HD video screens brought profound realism and intimacy for the distant viewers less fortunate to make it down to the floor. I’d be very surprised if the show(s) isn’t going to be coming out on DVD, because it was a historical performance in many a context. The cameras and real time cuts clearly suggested something worth owning in the future.

It’s hard to imagine the boss turned 60 just a few short weeks ago. But if there were anyone that could exemplify 60 as the new 40, Bruce is it. But what amazed me more than the great show last night, was the NJ audience and fans. Those fans, I believe, are truly a class of their own. From the early tailgater goers to the SRO elbow to elbow folks on the floor and stage center. They are a unique bunch. But what one ought to question, I’m afraid, is whether in times ahead, will subsequent generations ever come to know an act that could command an audience as I witnessed last night? And my sense is that this, what I saw last night, the performance and all, is the waning crescent of a distancing star.

As AOR, album oriented rock, and the era of how artists were developed since the time of the Beatles, and how major labels populated the majority of the airwaves, it’s my impression eventually this sort of “phenomenon” I witnessed Friday night will eventually be a thing of the past. Just a memory. And Bruce may well be among the last to command an audience that size, as such, again.

With CBS and other major labels no longer tooling the minds of pop culture, and what “pop culture” once was, it would seem their mastery in how greats like Bruce came to be will eventually lessen in time. And the stardom like I saw last night, will similarly diminish due to how the advent of the Internet, mp3s and social registries like Myspace and Facebook compartmentalized how major record labels operated for over a century.

Oct 3, 2009