THE COUNT: LIVE NATION, AEG SAY NO TO KANYE TOUR

WILD WEST: Kanye West has been emboldened to return to the road following the two-week run at #1 by his latest album, the self-released Vultures 1, and the relative success of February listening events in arenas in Chicago, the New York area, Milan, Bologna and Paris. However, word is that the world’s two biggest promoters want nothing to do with the artist, whose antisocial behavior and antisemitic comments have made him an industry pariah.

Insiders say neither Live Nation nor AEG will touch the full arena tour that longtime agent Cara Lewis is attempting to book for West on the heels of the listening parties, the U.S. editions of which each shifted 10k tickets (the European events did decent business but weren’t runaway successes, let alone sellouts). In Chicago, West instead turned to his hometown’s legendary indie promoter, Jam Productions, which produced the United Center playback in tandem with fellow local promoter SPKRBX.

Founded by Jerry Mickelson and Arny Granat, Jam has been in business for more than 50 years and still runs the Windy City, controlling such iconic venues as The Vic and Riviera Theatre. The company posted huge numbers in the '80s and '90s but like many regional outfits saw business shrink when the late Robert Sillerman’s SFX gobbled up about a dozen local promoters before the turn of the century. Before SFX became Clear Channel and then eventually Live Nation, the scuttlebutt was that Jam was among the first three targets of Sillerman’s roll-up—its directors said no then and again several times afterward and now compete directly with Live Nation and AEG on a regular basis.

Clouding this story is the fact that Live Nation’s Rolling Loud Festival Los Angeles booked West and Vultures collaborator Ty Dolla $ign as the opening-night headliner of its 3/14-17 event—a move insiders claim was initiated by the show’s talent buyers without consultation with their partners. Still, the fest, founded by childhood friends Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif, saw no appreciable uptick in ticket sales after announcing West’s addition.


Jam Productions' Jerry Mickelson, Robert Sillerman, Rolling Loud's Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler

GET INTUIT: Only one mile separates the new Intuit Dome from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California, but can the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers ever come close to the Forum’s historic legacy? The 17,500-cap venue, which opened in 1967 under the ownership of Jack Kent Cooke, was once home to L.A.’s Lakers and Kings and, alongside New York’s Madison Square Garden, has long been regarded as one of the greatest indoor venues in the country. History buffs may recall that Neil Diamond owns the record for most concerts at the arena (35 since 1983) as well as for all-time attendance (thanks to 17 sellouts)—numbers even greater than Prince’s unprecedented 21-show residency there in 2011.

Cooke sold the Forum, Lakers and Kings to Dr. Jerry Buss for a then-record $67.5m in 1979, kicking off a two-decade period of glory days for the franchises. In 2000, the Forum was acquired in an unlikely deal with the Faithful Central Bible Church, which used it for religious services while also leasing it for concerts and sporting events. The Madison Square Garden Company took over in 2012 and quickly began renovating it to its present condition.

The new Intuit Dome, scheduled to open in September, boasts a capacity of 18,000 and was kicked into high gear after Clippers owner Steve Ballmer purchased the Forum in 2020 from MSG for $400m. USHER will play four shows there this fall (9/21-22, 24-25), while Billy Joel will make the only L.A. appearance of his forthcoming tour at Intuit on 10/12. Irving Azoff is said to be helping book talent for the Dome in addition to the Forum.

It's a real possibility that the two venues will host shows on the same night, and when it comes to dollars and cents, the potential grosses look to be about the same. For reference, Intuit will include revenue from its private luxury boxes in its grosses; the Forum has no luxury boxes, while downtown L.A.'s Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) offers luxury boxes but excludes them from the nightly totals.

There’s no denying the appeal of Crypto’s location in the newly re-gentrified DTLA, which is bustling with restaurants, museums and art galleries. But with Ballmer hoping the Dome will host hundreds of sporting events and concerts each year, it may finally mean Inglewood is known for something more than just an airport.


Jerry Buss, Steve Ballmer

YOU CAN CALL ME RAYE: Newly crowned BRIT Awards Artist of the Year RAYE has sold out her 3/15 show at London’s 02, moving 17,000 tickets in less than 24 hours. The English singer, songwriter and producer’s last play in the market was 9/23 at Royal Albert Hall, which sold out at 5k. RAYE won a record-breaking six awards at the 3/2 BRITs ceremony, including Album of the Year for My 21st Century Blues (released by J Erving’s Human Re Sources), Song of the Year for “Escapism.” and Best New Artist. In another stroke of great timing, she will perform at Coachella next month ahead of a string of international dates beginning 5/14 in Buenos Aires. RAYE is booked by Wasserman’s Tom Schroeder and Michael Harvey-Bray worldwide except for North and South America, where her dates are overseen by Marty Diamond and Eli Gelernter.


J Erving, Marty Diamond

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