Liner Notes: Summer concert season takes shape with Avril Lavigne, Gary Clark Jr. and others
Stars and Stripes February 9, 2024
If January is slow season for live music announcements, February returns the favor by being the hub for all things summer. As it goes, by the time this month is up, the majority of the outdoor sheds have their bookings lined up, artists are posting about how great of a time they can’t wait to have in the warmer months, and we long for the days of daylight, shorts and at least a tiny amount of sweat.
We’ll get to some of those recent tour announcements in a minute. First, as we do each month, let’s look at Pollstar’s Live 75 Chart, which ranks worldwide active tours by average tickets sold for shows performed over the last 30 days. Topping the most recent list was Luis Miguel, who averaged nearly 25,000 tickets sold over the last month or so, running away with the most impressive numbers of the time period. Billy Joel took second with roughly 17,500, while U2 (ye of Sphere fame) rounded out the top three with about 16,000. The most surprising addition to this month’s list? Madness, who came in tenth with a figure of about 12,000.
Shall we say they’ve made some of these venues into “their house?” Yes. Yes, we shall.
Moving on to some tour reveals in the past couple of weeks, Avril Lavigne announced plans to embark on a greatest hits tour, which at once somehow makes some of us feel both old and young again. She’ll be supported by All Time Low and Simple Plan on select dates (the latter is picking up the bulk of the tour) and the fun – which is set to go down everywhere from Vegas to Toronto to Croatia to Germany - will last from late May to mid-September.
Blues Savior(ish) Gary Clark Jr. also noted last week that he’ll be hitting the road this summer. Paired with a brand new album set for a March release, the guitarist will begin his trek May 8 in Forth Worth, Texas, before wrapping things up Aug. 21 in Los Angeles at a venue to be determined. For those looking for a little less grit and a lot more … let’s say shine … power-poppers REO Speedwagon are set to venture out for a summer run with vehicle-named brethren Train. Creatively titled “Summer Road Trip,” the tour will include Yacht Rock Revue and will go all the way from July 8 to Sept. 11, when the circus will bid farewell in Phoenix.
And then there’s Heart. The Hall of Famers will reunite for a long run of shows this summer throughout North America. Cheap Trick will join them on the stateside run while Squeeze will reportedly hop on the bill whenever the European dates for the proceedings are announced. Featuring both Ann and Nancy Wilson for the first time in five years, the jaunt will kick off April 20 in Greenville, S.C., and wrap up at the world-famous Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado on Sept. 22.
For those wondering, yes. All reports indicate they will be happy to go crazy … on you.