I was wrong and I stand corrected.
In this blog post in March I wrote that “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.” At the time, the band had just announced its reunion tour dates for the summer, and Stockton was not on the itinerary.
On Sunday, however, it was confirmed that Pavement has added a June 24 show at the Bob Hope Theatre to its reunion tour. The show is great news for local indie rock fans, who have never before had the opportunity to see the band perform in its hometown.
Tickets are $35 each and will go on sale May 15 (Saturday), according to the website for Another Planet Entertainment, which is promoting the show.
Another Planet also is promoting Pavement’s June 25 concert in Berkeley. The Bay Area firm has worked in Stockton before: It helped the city organize Stockton Arena’s 2006 opening concert with Neil Diamond, and it later brought Brad Paisley and Sara Evans to the arena.
While I’m also looking forward to the concert, and while the announcement of the show means I was wrong in the first sentence of the March blog post, some of the questions and concerns I went on to write about in that post still remain:
“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.”
“The Bob Hope Theatre has a capacity of 2,000… which means a promoter would have to hike up ticket prices to profit from a Pavement show at either venue.”
“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.”
I later had a discussion with a Stockton promoter who noted that Pavement’s fee for performing in Stockton could pose the biggest challenge for anyone organizing a local concert. The band most likely would have to be willing to reduce its fee for the show to happen, or it could choose not to work with a promoter and organize the show itself.
We’ll probably never know how Another Planet and Pavement set up the June 24 concert. The financial details of the show most likely never will be disclosed, as information about performance fees is typically kept secret in the concert industry.
But now that the show has been announced, Another Planet officials still will need to work hard to make sure Bob Hope Theatre seats are filled June 24. They may also have to deal with local fans angry that they paid $39.50 for a ticket to the June 25 Berkeley concert only to later find out that the band would be playing in Stockton the day before.
And Another Planet officials have to bet that some of the fans going to the Berkeley show also will be willing to pay for tickets to the Stockton show so that the Hope will be filled.