Having fun Part 2

Spent part of yesterday reading some blogs talking about massive cancellations on tours across America. Lilith Fair- Who would have thought that putting ten acts, none of whom are popular enough to play anything bigger than a small theater or club and then charging $107.00 + service charge to see them wouldn’t have worked? YIKES!!!
Last night I went to see a Chicago area tradition. Every 4th of July Bill Fitzgerald, owner of the roadhouse/nightclub named after him holds the Fitzgeralds American Music Festival, four days of great music, beer and food- thirty bands on three stages inside and out for 35.00 per day, with home cooked Cajun and southern food (cooked by the famous Wishbone Restaurant) and cheap beer available!
At 7:30 The Blasters took the stage. One of the greatest American bands of the last 30 years. Coming out of Downey, California in the early 1980’s, the Blasters signed to Slash Records, becoming label mates to Los Lobos and X, and putting out some of the best roots music of that era. I first met them early in 1982, on their first US tour. Their songs and musicianship were amazing, and their energy on stage was over the top. THEY HAD FUN ON STAGE!! What a concept!1 Last night, 28 years later, they looked and sounded about the same. Songs, energy and big smiles everywhere you looked.
Following them was the incomparable Joe Ely. Coming out of Texas in the early 1980’s, Joe combined the excitement of a great rock and roll show with country rock songwriting, Joe recorded many great albums for MCA records in the 1980’s, and then was dropped from the label because he wasn’t commercial enough! I first saw him in 1981, opening for Linda Ronstadt. Big mistake on her part- as great as she is, no one can follow Joe. Joe continues to tour regularly, solo and with the Flatlanders (Himself, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) and put on a greats sweaty show last night to a sold out crowd.
So I guess the equation is as follows:
Put on a great show + charge a reasonable price + have fun doing it = commerce in the 21st century in the music business.

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