What it would take to bring Pavement to Stockton

Pavement, the most influential indie band to emerge from Stockton, won’t be stopping here on its reunion tour at least until after September, if at all.

Additional U.S. dates for the tour were announced Monday in a post on Matador’s Web site, and Stockton is not on the itinerary. The newly-announced concerts are in September and will take the band from Broomfield, Colo. to Atlanta.

Pavement has never played its hometown. Among the tour dates already announced, the show closest to Stockton will be June 25 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. General admission tickets cost $48.95 each and are still available here.

If the band were going to stop in Stockton on its reunion tour, the show would probably be at either Weber Point or the University of the Pacific’s Spanos Center. Those are the only two venues in the city that immediately meet Pavement’s capacity needs.

In September the band will be performing at concert halls and theaters that range in capacity from about 3,500 to 8,000. That capacity helps determine the fee that Pavement charges promoters to perform at the show. Bands that play bigger venues charge more.

Once the fee paid to the band is decided upon, promoters use it to help set ticket prices. Promoters want ticket prices to be high enough so they can make a profit over what they pay the band (and security, the venue and others who make concerts happen) but not so high that they scare away fans.

Weber Point has comfortably hosted shows that attract 5,000 fans in the past, and Spanos Center can seat between 6,000-8,000 fans. The Bob Hope Theatre has a capacity of 2,000 while the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium capacity for concerts can be 3,000, which means a promoter would have to hike up ticket prices to profit from a Pavement show at either venue. Stockton Arena, meanwhile, has a capacity of 10,000 – too big for the concert. The arena can be reorganized for events that draw 5,000 fans or 7,000-8,000 fans, but that may not be ideal for a promoter.

Of course, scheduling a Pavement concert at Weber Point would have its own challenges. It’s an outdoor venue, which means any concert there must be held when the weather is agreeable in the spring, summer or early fall. Based on Pavement’s already-announced schedule, the earliest the band could play Weber Point would probably be late April 2011 – if its reunion tour lasts that long.

That means Spanos Center would probably be the best venue for Pavement this year in Stockton.

Once the venue was booked, however, the promoter of a local Pavement show would face another, possibly bigger challenge: making sure at least 3,000-5,000 fans come to the concert so that it is profitable. Pavement is a talented, groundbreaking band, but its core fan base still can be described as 20- and 30-something hipsters. It’s a band with a cult following.

Stockton is not known as a city with a large population of hipsters or indie fans. The best-known indie musician to perform in Stockton in recent years was Morrissey, an icon with a religious-like following who is probably more popular than Pavement. Moz’s (awesome) 2007 show drew 2,000 fans to the Bob Hope Theatre, far short of the 3,000-5,000 fans most likely needed for a profitable Pavement show in Stockton.

Of course, Pavement’s local ties might make it a bigger attraction in Stockton than Morrissey. Then again, Stockton native Chris Isaak had much more mainstream success than Pavement, and his last concert in his hometown also was at the 2,000-capacity Hope.

It means that a promoter probably couldn’t rely on Stockton residents to buy enough tickets to a local Pavement concert to make it profitable. He or she would have to hope that fans from other northern California cities are willing to drive to the city for the show. The promoter also would have to be willing to spend the money to advertise the concert in Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose and any other area entertainment market where Pavement fans might reside.

Is there a promoter who is interested in bringing Pavement to Stockton and has the marketing budget needed to get the word out around northern California? Is someone willing to risk losing thousands of dollars on a poorly-attended Pavement show in this city?

Those questions remain unanswered for now.

For more on Pavement’s ties to Stockton, click here.

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