Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Is Kanye West this summer’s Neil Diamond?

Some of the big live shows that are selling – and not selling – this summer

Anyone got the lyrics for "Sweet Caroline"?

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 09:58


There is no surer sign that the summer gigging season is in full swing than a rake of ads everywhere you look for some big show or other. It’s what we call the Neil Diamond effect, named after the desperate attempts to plug that singer’s big show at Lansdowne Road a few summers ago, which involved wall to wall ads every time you turned on the radio.

Looking at what’s set to be a busy summer in the parks and fields, it’s very easy to see which gigs are working and which ones are, well, not. The fact that you’re not being bombarded with ads for, say, the Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon shows at Marlay Park show that both shows are solid. Our sources indicate that both shows have shifted north of 40k tickets so everyone should be happy.

Meanwhile, the Arcade Fire and Pixies’ double-header at the same venue is chugging along, though there were still around 10k tickets to go for this last weekend per OTR’s sources, while the Macklemore’s day out in Dublin 16 will do the business based on the current tally.

But it’s the Kanye West show which is the real surprise here with only around 10k tickets sold as of last weekend per OTR’s sources. Hence why there are so many bus and radio ads for the show and why there will probably be more in the fortnight between now and the show on July 2. It seems that even the PR coup of having West honeymooning, mountainbiking and going to the cinema in Ireland (and the addition of Pharrell to the bill) has had little effect.

It turns out, as the promoter found last summer to their cost with Justin Timberlake in the Phoenix Park, that some audiences are just not up for schlepping around in a field to see their favourite act. Remember too that West, along with Jay Z on the Watch the Throne tour, was unable to sell out two nights at the O2 in 2012. He’s also never done a show of this scale before and his last album “Yeezus” didn’t exactly produce a string of hits. Celebrity fame, hubris and ambition won’t shift tickets for big gigs in big fields.

Marlay Park is also home to Longitude, the boutique indie and dance festival which had a very successful debut last summer. As of late last week, it had done around 5,000 weekend tickets, with day tickets for Saturday the best performer by far, thanks no doubt to the presence of Disclosure and Haim on the bill. Expect a lot of mentions of Ben Howard, the rather awful Bastille, Massive Attack and Jimmy Vinny Mack to get the show on the road for Friday and Sunday sales.

Meanwhile across the capital, there’s another big surprise when you look at sales for the upcoming shows in IMMA. Stil a lot of ground to cover here for Biffy Clyro and, strangely, Elbow, but the one that stands out a mile here is Paul Weller. Next Tuesday’s appearance by Weller at the venue has just not got any momentum whatsoever and ticket sales were less than 4k for it last weekend. You can expect to hear a lot of Weller on the radio – anyone who wants an interview will get two – and a lot of ticket giveaways for this one.

However, there is some good news for the gig promoting classes in the Ticketmaster dailies and that’s the pretty damn impressive performance by the Electric Picnic so far. They’ve already done over half the weekend tickets for the festival and we’re still some two months out before everyone decamps to Stradbally so it’s in sellout territory. You’d imagine from this figure that one of the reasons why the day tickets for Sunday have gone off sale is that they can get more cash by flogging the weekend ones. Certainly, this festival’s appeal for Irish punters hasn’t worn off yet.

UPDATE: I’ve had a few queries about capacity for the shows at IMMA and thanks to an OTR reader for pointing me in the right direction. Per Festival Republic Dublin Ltd’s application for a public event licence (Reference No. PEL 05/2014) on behalf of MCD, the capacity for the shows on June 25, 26, 27 and 28 (ie all the shows at the venue bar Paul Weller) is 8,500. Regarding the Weller show, the promoter states on the application that “the proposed number of people attending is below 5,000 and does not require a Public Event licence”. Just as well really, given the shocking lack of update in sales to see Weller.