Robert Plant to skip Baltimore in new 2011 tour
Robert Plant announced Monday a new 15-city tour that will include a stop in Washington D.C.
The former Led Zeppelin frontman will perform at DAR Constitution Hall February 1. The announcement is surely good news for fans in the metropolitan area, but raises the question: what gives?
As I've been posting 2011 tour dates for the last couple of weeks, the clear trend emerging is major headliners scheduling shows in DC and sometimes Philadelphia, and almost invariably skipping Baltimore. Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, the lady from Lilith Fair - all will stop by our neighbor cities and spurn Charm City.
When referring to the back-to-back U2 and Sade concerts next year, mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said 2011 would be "a real statement" for Baltimore. But two headliners does not a statement make.
I have already reported on the difficulty area stadiums have had in booking major acts, something that's occurring nationwide. But the schedule at our mid-sized venues isn't that much encouraging. Ozzy Osbourne and Usher will both play 1st Mariner Arena in the next month. But after that the biggest star on the venue's calendar from now through June are the Harlem Globetrotters.
Tickets for Robert Plant go on sale Friday on Ticketmaster.
Addendum: Let me add a couple of clarifying points to the post. Yes, headliners have passed over the city in the past, but what remains debatable is the why: is it residents, Live Nation, the city? There are actually several possible answers, which is why I posted this. Seth Hurwitz, founder of promoter I.M.P., has said in the past that a big reason headliners bypass Baltimore is the city's 10 percent amusement tax, which stipulates that 10 percent of all ticket grosses must go to the city. Live Nation is another major obstacle, because it too often directs acts to its other venues (Jiffy Lube Live) or just to A-list markets like Washington. What are some of the other reasons? Commenters have mentioned some others below.
Now, in the past five years, Hurwitz and Frank Remesch, the big honcho at 1st Mariner Arena, have done a tremendous job in courting major talent to the area, succeeding with Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, even Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (two years ago at Merriweather Post Pavilion).
The 2011 tour announcements that have been made so far perhaps suggest an early reversal to that trend. We'll only know if it changes as headliners announce their tours over the coming months. (Pier Six Pavilion won't make its summer concert series announcement until the Spring.)
Full Robert Plant dates after the jump:
Robert Plant tour dates:
1/18 Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
1/19 Pittsburgh, PA Peterson Events Center (University of Pittsburgh)
1/21 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium
1/22 Toronto, ONT Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
1/25 Boston, MA House of Blues
1/26 Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre
1/28 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino
1/29 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
2/1 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
2/2 Raleigh, NC Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2/4 North Charleston, SC North Charleston Performing Arts Center
2/5 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
2/7 Charlotte, NC Ovens Auditorium
2/8 and 2/9 Nashville, TN War Memorial Auditorium
Photo: Robert Plant official page