The recent surprising news that the Rolling Stones’ 18 arena concerts in the US would be promoted by AEGLive took only 45 minutes to negotiate. As recently as two weeks ago, I told you that AEG would promote the Stones two shows in Hyde Park, London in July. But the 18 American dates, beginning in May in Vancouver, were going to be through Australian Paul Dainty fronting for Richard Branson’s Virgin Live. That pairing had taken care of the Stones’ five in November and December, at the o2 Arena, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the Prudential Center in Newark.
Those dates had been a great success. The Stones got a $25 million advance, and sold out all the shows after charging astronomical prices for the tickets.
This time around. I am told, the Stones wanted at least a $20 million advance as well as a line of credit from which they could draw down as the dates progressed. Sources say they were waiting for Dainty/Branson to come through with a letter of credit showing they had the funds and were ready to go. But something happened–no one’s sure what. At the last minute, the AEG execs got a call from the Stones’ lawyer Joyce Smyth. The letter of credit was not coming through. Could AEG pick up the slack?
They say that it one phone call fromA AEG Live’s Randy Phillips to AEG owner Philip Anschutz. “The whole thing took a total of 45 minutes,” says a source. “Phil knows what it is to have the Stones.”
So far, 18 dates are booked but none yet in Madison Square Garden. That would be the likely last stop for the Stones in the US–and maybe their farewell forever show. Meantime, I am told that the bottom ticket prices will be lower than the ones from last fall. (They couldn’t be higher.) Nosebleed seating will have a lower price point. And with Lady Gaga off the circuit, and contemporary bands just not so interesting, expect the 51 year old Stones to be the summer’s big draw.
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