Heritage acts and a question of scale
Two recent gig announcements prompt some headscratching round OTR’s way. Firstly, there’s Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Originally mooted for the Grand Canal Theatre, his Revolver show (featuring a Spectacular Spinning Songbook big wheel along the same lines to the …
Two recent gig announcements prompt some headscratching round OTR’s way. Firstly, there’s Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Originally mooted for the Grand Canal Theatre, his Revolver show (featuring a Spectacular Spinning Songbook big wheel along the same lines to the one which EC had when he played the Olympia back in 1986) will now be pulling up to the O2 on May 9, with tickets ranging in price from €64.95 to €49.65 (plus TM charges). Then, there’s Simple Minds. They play Dublin’s Olympia on March 4 with a setlist focused on their first five albums (the good stuff before they got stadiumitis). Tickets for this one are €44.05 (plus TM fees).
Even though the capacity of the O2 will be “limited” to 4,000 (“an intimate theatre setting” which will hopefully mean you won’t be wondering why three-quarters of the venue is empty), is there really that sort of demand to see Costello in Dublin in 2011? Previously, he has played venues like Vicar Street (2010), National Stadium (2001), National Concert Hall (1999) and Olympia (passim). While the Revolver show has been getting rave reviews in the United States, it’s hard to see how he’s going to pull in the numbers to make this one work. Even the Grand Canal Theatre, a venue which many are still unsure about when it comes to its suitability for live music, would have been a bit of a stretch, seeing as his last Vicar Street show was not sold out.
By contrast, I’d say the Olympia will be hopping for Jim Kerr and co. There’s a bit of a Simple Minds’ revival at present – dude, go listen to The Horrors or Wu Lyf albums again – and they, like EC, seem to realise that the audience want to hear the old stuff. The Olympia is just right to accommodate the current fanbase (like the Sisters of Mercy the other week, you don’t have to do any work to appeal beyond the heartland) and a barnstorming gig in downtown Dublin will generate enough postive word of mouth to ensure an upgrade on a future visit. Sure, Simple Minds have played bigger gaffs in the city – they filled Croke Park back in 1986, for instance – but they seem to recognise that those days are over.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Costello show. Maybe I’m wrong and there are 4,000 people out there willing to shell out for those tickets and see Costello play the hits. Maybe there’s a Lenny Cohen-like moment about to happen for EC (Lenny has a new album coming out in January so what chances another visit by him here in 2012?). But unlike Cohen, there have been ample opportunities to see Costello of late (he played Sligo and Belfast earlier this year, after all). It’s a weird call, EC at the O2, so we’ll watch this space with interest and prepare to be proven wrong. At least, the dude isn’t trying to shift any VIP Experience tickets for this one (yet).