Sunday, May 17, 2015

Waiting for Wednesday

This coming Wednesday, May 20th, may see two big-name surprise shows, one on each coast of the U.S., and both potentially featuring the biggest names in rock 'n roll. 

The Stones in Hollywood...
The Rolling Stones, set to kick off their North American tour one week from today, are busy rehearsing in the Los Angeles area, and are set to play a warm-up gig or two in that city this week. We believe that the first of two events will be going down Wednesday night at the historic Fonda Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Tickets to this (these) show(s) will not be easy to come by, as the venue fits just 1,200 people, and we're not sure that many (or any) will be made available to the public. We're also not sure that the Fonda is the place to line up for them - tickets may be sold instead at the El Rey or the Roxy, among other places (maybe you'll have to pull one out of a hat at the Magic Castle) - if anyone asks, tell them you're just waiting on some friends. Watch the band's twitter tomorrow morning for a special announcement, though that seems more likely to discuss the recording of a new Rolling Stones record than to contain any details regarding these theatre gigs. 

...and Elsewhere
If you don't make the surprise Stones gig in LA, you won't necessarily have missed your chance to see them in a smaller venue this summer. We expect at least one more surprise gig in and around the coming stadium tour, and perhaps several, primarily in the major cities that the band is skipping this time around North America. Chicago, for instance, could see a surprise appearance during the five nights off between the first two shows in late May, or perhaps the four in mid-June, coincident with the great Chicago Blues Festival, though that period would also be ripe for a surprise gig in New Orleans between shows in Orlando and Nashville. As we have said for months, we believe the New York area will see an appearance on June 18th as part of the big Live Earth event, and perhaps additional shows tacked onto the end of the tour (the 7/20-29 timeframe looks ripest), though we no longer quite expect the latter. Once the tour is over, we also expect a celebratory return to Toronto, perhaps at historic Massey Hall around the last weekend of July. And don't be shocked by a more abbreviated return to the States next year, perhaps in the spring.

The Beatles back on Ed Sullivan?
Meanwhile, on late Wednesday afternoon on the East Coast, David Letterman and Paul Shaffer will be taping their last episode of Late Night at New York's historic Ed Sullivan Theater. That theater, of course, is most famous for musical appearances by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, among other early rock legends. No guests have been announced for the final show - Monday's features Tom Hanks and Eddie Vedder, while Bill Murray and Bob Dylan appear on Tuesday - but assuming that Dave hosts one or two final performers (which is not a given), we think that they may well include Sir Paul McCartney (and perhaps his pal Ringo Starr?), perhaps reprising Macca's 2009 outdoor appearance on the theater marquee (originally inaugurated by Phish in 2004). Other possibilities include Jay-Z, who canceled a marquee appearance in 2013 and will be fresh off two promotional club gigs this weekend, and the Foo Fighters, who have been termed Letterman's favorite band, ingenuously or otherwise, and could play on their own or serve as backing band to one or more other artists before heading off to Europe to start their long summer tour. While a marquee appearance will be best heard outdoors, we recommend a call to the show's standby phone number to those in the New York area looking to score a free ticket to one of the final Letterman shows.

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