Concert presenters absorbing some costs

Of course it never adds up.

As the record industry shrinks, performers depend more on live shows to make a living.

And as time marches on, performers multiply. Does anyone really quit show business? Not with Eddy Raven and En Vogue due in town.

So, more acts on the road + higher ticket prices (a national average of $55 last year) + audiences broke due to recession = Concert industry swirling down porcelain in 2010; several tours canceled.

Can anything change it? Two of our biggest local concert presenters, Station Casinos and the House of Blues, vow some proactive moves this year.

Station plans more shows but with cheaper tickets and a new concept of standardized pricing.

The House of Blues wants to renew ties with locals in a program similar to a player’s club — only without a card — rolling out Feb. 1.

“This year we’re quadrupling the number of live presentations,” says Judy Alberti, who oversees entertainment for Station. “It made sense for us to pull back” last year, but “people were missing it,” she says. “We want to bring our loyal customers back, and one thing they’ve been asking for is more entertainment.”

More volume — with Red Rock Resort the flagship for live shows — will be combined with standardized price points the company hopes will be easy for fans to remember.

“Party on the Rocks” shows in Red Rock’s lounge will always be $20 for the likes of Leon Russell, Bruce Hornsby and Robert Cray. A Friday night series of pool concerts starting in May will be $30 for acts such as Echo & the Bunnymen and the Gipsy Kings.

Amphitheater concerts with a 7,500-person capacity will always have a $39 ticket, whether that’s the only price or the lowest in a tier. “We’re willing to absorb a little more of the cost,” Alberti says. “We’re probably shouldering more of the burden than we have the last several years.”

The House of Blues also is absorbing some costs: those add-on ticket-printing and handling fees that drive you nuts, as long as you’re willing to buy tickets in advance and in person. “Paying what the ticket was advertised for — what a novel concept,” HOB talent buyer Homie Pooser jokes about the hidden-fee trend.

The “One, Two, Three” program also caps beer prices at $5 for locals and offers 25 percent discounts on merchandise or the adjacent restaurant. “We know we’re a locals House even though we’re on the Strip,” Pooser says.

So there you go. They can’t make the T-shirts cheaper or get the drunk behind you to sing more in key. But maybe they will at least get you back in the door.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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