YOU MIGHT THINK IT'S FOOLISH
Some of you may have heard about "The New Cars" rolling into your town this summer. This would be The Cars, but with a slight tune-up. Both original leaders, Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr, declined the invitation to reunite. I'm guessing Ocasek wanted more money, and Orr was still dead. So in their place, we have music legend and recent "utility man to the stars," Todd Rundgren on lead vocals, and his longtime Utopia bandmate and sidekick, Kasim Sulton, on bass. On paper, this looked like a disaster. I liked The Cars in their heyday, and I still look forward to new Todd Rundgren music, even if he has become the Randy Velarde of the rock world recently. (I guess we all have bills to pay.) But, does anyone really care? Who is going to go to this show? Todd fans? Greg Hawkes fans? Well, apparently no one.
Tickets went on sale almost two weeks ago, and so far nothing has been sold. A mere 1000 seats in venues that hold 7-10 thousand. There is already talk of either canceling or downsizing the tour. (why were such large venues booked in the first place?) But is this because of a lack of interest in the band itself? Actually, the new single, "Not Tonight" is quite good. Sounds like The Cars, with better lead vocals. And, their performance of "Good Times Roll" on Leno was also very strong. Made me wanna see them live.
OK, here are some facts:
They are sharing the bill with Blondie.
Tickets prices are as high as $300.
Let me go out on a limb here and ask, "Could that be why no one is buying tickets?"
What bonehead assumed that fans of The Cars or Todd Rundgren were also fans of Blondie? Just because they all put out records in the 70's and 80's? Why not have a Pat Benatar/Michael McDonald tour? Or a Sonny Rollins/Spyro Gyra tour? Sometimes, one band in a small venue is enough.
Ok, more importantly- $300 for a prime seat. Even if they propped up Benjamin Orr in a rocking chair, that is way too much money. The closest venue to NYC for the "Road Rage" tour is Jones Beach, a venue that makes a trip to Montgomery, Alabama more pleasureable and convenient. The cheapest seat is $65, and it is located in the top tier of the second level. This would be the same as sitting on a yacht in the ocean and looking back onto the shore at the stage.
It is easy to make "The New Cars" the scapegoat for the poor ticket sales. Hell, prior to hearing a single note, I had already written two pages of snide commentary. But, it's going to take a lot of convincing for me to believe that the reason for the imminent cancelation of this tour has more to do with the band, and not the absurd price of the ticket. The music is good. It's rock n roll. It could have been a fun night out. At 40 bucks a ducat! In a nice theatre. Indoors. With a seat. (Todd fans are old. We need to sit.) But outdoor venues at that price? Big mistake. Plus, you know it'll rain the night you decide to go.