The live business has already written off 2020. The big acts don’t want to take the risk of cancellation, there are way too many startup costs, to get geared up again for the fall? NO WAY!
So, they’re waiting until 2021.
That’s the dirty little secret of touring today, the costs. That’s why tours have sponsorships, that’s why acts make national touring deals, they need that cash to ramp up, and if they are left high and dry…who is gonna eat those costs?
Certainly not Live Nation. Live Nation is most concerned about its stock price, so it keeps on telling Wall Street that tours are gonna start up again by June or July, the summer is LN’s most profitable season, and all will be hunky-dory and the stock will bounce back. As for AEG? No one knows since it’s privately held by Phil Anschutz. A Republican in Democratic clothing, Phil is worried about being outed as a supporter of Trump and his agenda, certainly his business agenda, so he’s laying low until the virus is gone, like I said, 2021. And who knows? Phil’s 80 years old, a member of COVID-19’s target demo, so now is not the time for him to take big risks.
But 2021 is. Especially if there’s no risk involved.
It’s gonna be Martin Luther King Day weekend. Mark your calendars right now, this is a four-day affair, running from Friday, January 15th to Monday, January 18th.
The first thought was to have it during the Christmas break, when everybody is home and can pay attention, but it turns out the acts go on holiday, as does the business, can you say the Four Seasons in Hawaii?
And, with a new year, you get a new start.
And LN and AEG are gonna work together on this. Even Jerry Mickelson. But Seth Hurwitz and IMP are left out, this affair has got to be squeaky clean.
Now it’s a well-known fact that Coachella is the most lucrative festival in the world.
But the only thing more lucrative was Desert Trip. You remember that, the biggest acts of the sixties, playing for boomers in the fall?
Well, needless to say you can’t do this in Palm Springs. The weather is not amenable and it’s the high season for snowbirds, there are no hotel rooms available.
So, for weather, antitrust and tax reasons, the Reunification Concert is happening in Mexico. Cabo, to be exact. Sammy Hagar personally negotiated with the cartels, they’ve agreed to back off for the weekend. However, insiders know they’re taking 10% of the net. Then again, touring always was a crooked business.
So, what is happening?
The biggest promoters in the world are reuniting the biggest bands in the world for one big blowout, to make everybody forget about COVID-19 and realize that music heals the world.
Pink Floyd. Waters and Gilmour together again.
Led Zeppelin. Yup, one more time, this is what everybody has been clamoring for. The rumor that Josh Kiszka, the vocalist for Greta Van Fleet, is going to take Robert Plant’s place is totally false. If you’re alive, you play.
Which means that one night will be the Eagles. Yes, Randy Meisner will take it to the limit one more time. He might need an oxygen tank, but Chuck Negron uses one every night on stage and he gets away with it.
And, of course, there’ll be Bernie Leadon.
And Don Felder
As for Henley?
Well, Frey’s gone, he had the biggest problem with Felder and Henley’s deal says that if Felder talks to him, he doesn’t get paid, so that should keep the harmony.
That’s three nights.
Simon & Garfunkel. Yes, yes, Paul Simon has said he’s never touring again, but he did not say he’d never play. My source at CAA said Paul made this statement to drum up interest in the ultimate reunion, and this could be the last time.
And of course, the Stones will be there. But, with Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor. You betcha, see it to believe it.
Paul McCartney?? For one time only, they’re billing it as the Beatles. Ringo will be on the skins, although rumor has it Abe Laboriel, Jr. will set up behind a curtain, Macca insisted upon this. As for guitars? Joe Walsh will play lead, doing double duty this weekend, when Paul would not let go of Abe, Ringo insisted on his brother-in-law. And just like Deacon Frey plays the role of his father in today’s Eagles, Julian Lennon will play his dad John, after all, like Deacon, his voice sounds the same.
And the undercard will be filled with other reunions. If the band has stayed together in its original form, it cannot appear. Frusciante jumped the gun, but word is the Chili Peppers are involved. And speaking of Q Prime, Jason Newsted will appear with Metallica, Robert Trujillo will have to sit this one out.
Clapton had the promoters puzzled, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker dead. But now it’s been established Derek is going to reunite with John Mayall. Yup, they’re going to recreate the “Blues Breakers” album, play it in its entirety. Yes, John McVie will play bass. However, Fleetwood Mac will not appear, Stevie Nicks hates Lindsey Buckingham just that much.
But, since One Direction is reuniting, and Stevie loves Harry Styles, you still might get to see her on stage.
The largest attendance for a show is disputed, but to be sure it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records, the promoters are shooting for a million. That’s right, 1,000,000 tickets sold! That might sound ridiculous to you, who wants to go to a concert and sit that far away, but the truth is just like the wankers overpay to sit up close, hoovering up every ticket to your favorite act, they’ll attend this show. But, they’re going to sit in the back! Yup, they don’t care about the music anyway, VIP is going to be all the way back, you may not even be able to see the stage, but those buying the tickets won’t care. You get a laminate and a Grammy. That’s right, since the Grammys are now meaningless, everybody who pays for VIP gets their own Grammy, and for an extra $250 it is engraved with their own name. Starting price for these tickets? Well, Meglen is gonna flex-price them, to try to keep out the scalpers, but they’re expecting $10,000 apiece. As for paying 100k, which gets you your own private bathroom and a gram of coke, that’s just a rumor.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the cartels are going to squeeze the hotels, and the promoters get 10% of what they get, so it’s a win-win.
As for food? MEXICAN! That’s right, it’s cheap and you can overcharge for it. As for water, Robert Kennedy, Jr. has been paid to spread the word that Cabo’s water is undrinkable and you must buy overpriced bottled water. Hell, if he can convince everybody vaccines are bad, he can certainly convince them water is bad.
And because everybody will be there, the Pollstar conference will happen the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the show. This is a way to get the agents to pay, because you all know the agents are gonna schnorr the tickets.
The airfield is being expanded as we speak, to handle all the private jet traffic. That’s another record they want to break, the promoters want to beat the Super Bowl in terms of the number of private jets parked. Should be easy, don’t you think?
And yes, there will be sponsorship up the yin-yang. Hawaiian Tropic has already signed up, you get a tube of sunscreen every time you go through the gate.
And yes, the tickets will have rolling bar codes, so if you buy from a scalper, you’re SOL.
However, just like with sports, to offload risk, rumor is they’re going to offload 10% of the ticket inventory to scalpers. These will be legitimate tickets, kind of a gray market offering, the rolling bar codes will work with these tickets.
But to get a ticket, you must have a phone.
And now we get to the clincher, monetization, who is going to pay for all this?
Yes, Apple TV+ has been a disaster. As for the numbers they’re touting, almost everybody got a free subscription with the purchase of an Apple product, no one would pay for such crappy programming, especially when they dribble it out week by week.
Netflix bid hard, but Apple bid harder, because Apple NEEDS IT!
And when you need it, you have to pay for it.
So, if you want to watch the festival at home, you’ve got to get Apple TV+. You can buy a subscription, but Apple believes customers will buy a product for the free access, and since Apple margins are in the neighborhood of the high thirties, they’re doing their best to recoup their costs.
No, Jimmy Iovine did not negotiate this deal, Tim Cook is still pissed that he ripped him off with that fakokta Beats streaming service, and then doubled-down with the U2 free album promotion. No, this deal was brokered by Irving Azoff. Irving takes the long view, he’s been buttering up Tim and Eddy Cue for years! And at Lucian Grainge’s 60th, in the desert, Irving closed them.
And yes, Lucian’s on the road to recovery. Universal has the recording rights. If you want to hear the music after the fact, you’ll be able to stream it. However, Lucian refused to give Apple an exclusive, he laid down the law, it’s bad for the business.
Getting back to U2, they cannot appear, no way, since it’s still the original four members. However, Bono has been angling for a slot based on a technicality. He’s proffered if they axe Guy Oseary and bring back Paul McGuinness they should be able to play. This is one for the Commissioner, but since the Grammys fired Deborah Dugan, there is no one impartial who is fit for the job. Then again, Dugan used to work for RED.
However, in this ever-changing world, David Geffen has been negotiating with Andrew Cuomo to be the Commissioner. Yes, Geffen’s got a long history in politics, he’s betting on Cuomo running in 2024, and David wants to rehabilitate his image after the Instagram yacht fiasco. Cuomo can’t focus on this now, but Geffen thinks he’s got him.
Back to the undercard.
Just like with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there will be a fan vote. Whatever act gets the most votes must reunite. And since almost all the acts worth having on the show are already members of the Hall, they’ll be threatened with expulsion if they don’t hit the boards.
This is a one time only event.
And to get the best tickets, you’re going to have to line up at the Apple Store, just like you do for the iPhone. One line of thought is this will be a middle finger to technology, demonstrating music’s power, but I’m not sure I see it that way. As for camping out, there are people lined up right now, risking Covid-19, even though an on sale date has not been established. That’s right, people are willing to DIE to see their favorite bands!
The classic rockers are dropping like flies. So, buy a ticket or be left out.
Oh, it’s not only classic rock acts, of course, NSYNC will be there with Justin Timberlake. And Dre and Ice Cube will perform as N.W.A. And there will be a special category for one-hit wonders, they’ll occupy the opening slot each and every day.
The shows start at noon. And you know how the oldsters can’t stand or sit for that long, so when they leave, their tickets will be resold. I know, I know, this brings up the issue of rolling bar codes, but Jared Smith says he’s got it all figured out. Worst case scenario, you get a phone with your ticket, the ducats are gonna be just that expensive.
Yes, this will be the greatest festival of all time. Far beyond Glastonbury, Woodstock, Coachella and Desert Trip. And at the end, there will not be fireworks, the crew is gonna burn the stage down. Yup, it’s gonna look spontaneous, then again, I just let the cat out of the bag.
God may not be able to kill the coronavirus, but the belief is music can. I mean you can’t kill Keith Richards, and Ozzy has nine lives (no, Black Sabbath will not appear, even with Bill Ward, they’ve burned it out, and everyone agreed to leave Sharon Osbourne out).
No, the acts are not doing it for expenses, this is not a charitable affair. The music industry hopes to get some of that $2 trillion dollar stimulus, and it’s skilled at ripping off those who want a piece of the big top, but still, promoters are gonna lose so much money due to the coronavirus, they need this.
So, book your hotel and airfare IMMEDIATELY! No, this is not a secret plot by Trump to aid the airlines, but it will make a difference. And you know, since the airlines wrote the book on flex-pricing, if you wait they’ll overcharge you. So, now is the time.
I’m excited, ARE YOU?
Editor’s note: If you got this far and are still not on the trolley, April Fools.