The Beta Band (featuring Stephen Mason, Robin Jones, Rich Greentree and John Maclean) have been honing their chops for years out of their native Scotland. Between July 1997 and July 1998, the Beta Band released three EP
After releasing their latest album, Undermind, whose cover resembles the Beatles’s last released record, Let It Be, Phish has decided to do another Beatles-esque move: playing on top of a building. As posted on the band’s website – the Vermont quartet is hoping to make their last tour memorable in more ways than one.
When Phish plays the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night, they will perform from the top of the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee (about two stories up from the street) at 53rd and Broadway in New York City. The band will perform their first song at the end of the Letterman taping. After the show ends, the band will perform an additional 20-25 minutes for fans.
The best place to watch the band perform will be on the far side of the street opposite from the Ed Sullivan Theater. The band will not perform until 6:25 PM.
In other Phish news, fans got more than they bargained for on Friday night, in Brooklyn, N.Y., as rapper Jay-Z joined the veteran jam band for two songs during its show at KeySpan Park near Coney Island. Phish provided the backing for Jay-Z as he ran through his hits “99 Problems” and “Big Pimpin’,” much to the delight of the stunned audience.
Percussionist Cyro Baptista, a member of Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio’s solo band, also guested on the tunes.
A month after promoters declared the concert industry healthier than ever, big summer tours such as Ozzfest, Fleetwood Mac, the Dead and Lollapalooza have run into a concrete wall of slow sales. “Ticket sales are mixed, and in some cases they appear to be substantially off from the past,” says Alex Hodges, executive vice president of House of Blues Concerts, one of the three major U.S. promotion companies.
The summer’s success stories so far are big-buzz superstar events such as Prince and Madonna, plus low-cost packages including the long-running Warped Tour, Alanis Morissette/Barenaked Ladies and No Doubt/Blink-182. Also, the three-day Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, recently scored its third annual sellout, with 90,000 tickets. Otherwise, sales have been universally slow.
Promoters and agents list several reasons for the unexpected ticket-buying malaise: Once fans spend their summer-entertainment money on Prince and Madonna, they have little left over for Kiss or Ozzfest; some of 2003’s biggest draws, such as Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith, have already toured several summers in a row at high prices; and the core baby-boomer audience is finally getting tired of amphitheater lawns.
“What consumer wants to sit out at night in Phoenix, Arizona, in 105 degrees to watch Daryl Hall and John Oates?” says Dennis Arfa, president of Writers and Artists Group International, an agency representing Metallica, Rod Stewart and others. “People don’t have an unlimited amount of funds. In the amphitheater business, there is some concern.”
Nobody’s panicking — yet. In early 2003, promoters expressed similar gloom, until Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles and others barnstormed the country. Says Seth Hurwitz, whose company, I.M.P. Productions, books the Merriweather Post Pavilion near Washington, D.C.: “Over the last ten years, I’ve heard ‘This is the worst yet’ every year.”