Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Rolling Stones Set To Perform A Free Show In Brazil!


Copacabana Beach - February 18, 2006

Tuesday, December 13 -- The Rolling Stones announced today that they will bring the "A Bigger Bang" World Tour to Brazil on February 18th.

Brazilian fans will now have the opportunity to experience the excitement felt by sold-out crowds throughout the tour when the Stones play at the Copacabana Beach. This will mark the third time that the Stones have performed in Brazil, but it will be the first time they hold a free concert.

After their stop in Brazil, The Rolling Stones, and their "A Bigger Bang" World Tour, will continue to thrill audiences throughout Mexico and South America with electrifying performances that include their classic hits and songs from their critically acclaimed new release, "A Bigger Bang."

The band is working closely with their design team to create a unique show for their international fans that combines the intimacy of a small venue with the spectacle of their outdoor stadium shows

To organize the show at the Copacabana Beach, the Stones will gather a crew of nearly 1,500. The show's main stage, to be located in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel, will be 22 meters high and 57 meters wide. In addition to the main stage, the Rio concert will also feature the Rolling Stones' famous "B" stage, which can extend 55 meters into the audience. Sixteen sound and image towers (with high definition big screens) will also be constructed and spread along the seashore as far back as the Meridien Hotel.

Rolling Stones, U2 Drive Concert Revenues

AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Powerhouse tours by the Rolling Stones, U2 and Paul McCartney helped drive concert ticket revenues in North America to a record $3.1 billion in 2005, even as the number of tickets sold declined for the third year in row.

Fans purchased 36.1 million tickets to the top 100 concert tours, compared with 37.6 million in 2004 and 38.7 million in 2003, according to Pollstar, the industry trade magazine.

"You have to figure that's not a healthy sign for the industry overall," said Gary Bongiovanni, Pollstar's editor-in-chief.

Despite a slow first-half of the year and the decline in tickets sold, concert tours in 2005 amounted to a 10.7 percent increase in gross receipts over last year's total of $2.8 billion.

The record revenue was due largely to the rare confluence of superstar artists touring.

"You don't normally see three huge acts like that out touring in the same year," Bongiovanni said. "McCartney and The Stones alone really helped drive up ticket prices."

The average ticket price for the top 100 tours rose to a record $57, compared with $52.39 in 2004, Pollstar said.

The average ticket price has gone up nearly $7 since 2003.

Still, concertgoers proved this year that they remained willing to pay more to see their favorite acts, and the roster of legends that filled touring arenas had little trouble packing them in.

Until this year, the biggest tour of all time had been The Rolling Stones' 1994 outing, which drew $121.2 million in gross receipts, Bongiovanni said.

"Both U2 and The Stones went way beyond that this year," he said.

The Rolling Stones' "A Bigger Bang" tour led all other concert tours in 2005 with $162 million in gross receipts, according to the magazine.

The average Stones ticket was $133.98. The tour sold around 1.2 million tickets.

U2 generated the second most gross receipts, $138.9 million, with an average ticket price of $96.92. The Irish rockers' "Vertigo 2005" tour sold the most tickets, around 1.4 million.

McCartney's tour earned $77.3 million in gross receipts, with the average ticket selling for $135.46. The tour sold around 570,000 tickets.

Other veteran acts who ended the year among the top 20 in sales receipts included the Eagles, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Motley Crue and Jimmy Buffett.

Green Day, Rascal Flatts, Dave Matthews Band, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Gwen Stefani and the Anger Management Tour were among the contemporary acts to break into the top 20 biggest earners.

Celine Dion and Barry Manilow, who performed mostly in Las Vegas, also were top draws in 2005. The Canadian diva's shows pulled in $81.3 million in total gross receipts, the third highest. Manilow's shows drew $22.7 million in gross receipts.

"The baby boomers really continue to support and fuel the concert business," Bongiovanni said.

My view of James Dungy's passing

I don't know James Dungy, and even though I know one day I'll have the pleasure of meeting his Dad, I never will be able to greet him. He's certainly in a better place, and a large part of me doesn't want to believe he took his own life, but I can understand the thoughts that must have been swirling in his mind before he did, now that I have a better picture of who he was.

These last three years have been the best three years of my life, and it's no surprise that they match the birth and life of my company, Sports Business Simulations. I feel whole because this is something I created that is still mostly an expression of my overall desire to "connect" with the world around me, only now I've figured out a way to get paid for it.

But there were times when I was around James Dungy's age, when the idea of leaving would pass my mind -- of passing on. My Mom would tell me "that's something that God would not want -- you would not go to heaven." Or she'd say "That's something black folks don't do." Well, we know that's not true. I knew that because the idea would hit me.

Like me, James Dungy seemed to be a highly sensitive person, and people like that just don't grow on trees. We have a super-high-level ability to read the feelings of others, and are the ones that create things. We take in a lot, and when we're young, we don't know how to sort out what is coming to us.

I've learned over time to trust my feelings. When I was his age, I leaned on my intellect much more, and wasn't always the happier for it. But fortunately, I made it past the days when I felt I was so different that no one wanted me. Heck, I wasn't even living with a woman, let alone a girlfriend. It's too bad her love could not overcome his pain. I only hope he didn't take his life, but if it turns out that he did, it's because of that mix of messages his super-sensitive self could not effectively sort.

Being highly sensitive is a gift, and a curse at the same time. If you're reading this, and know someone who is, go to them and give them a hug. It will make all the difference in their life-- and yours.

Anecdotes about son James Dungy provide fuller picture of Tony Dungy's loss

Commentary: Gary Shelton

LUTZ, Fla. -- Tony Dungy approached the lectern with a small smile. He said he was happy to be there. He opened with a joke about the preacher's verbosity.
Considering the body of Dungy's eldest son lay a few feet in front of him, it seemed Dungy was holding up better than his friends had feared.
Then Dungy's voice cracked, leaving him with a sound that was raw and wounded, and his face was so twisted it was possible to see the pain underneath. He stepped back, dabbing at hollow eyes with tissue, trying to gather himself before he could continue.
For 20 minutes, Dungy talked about faith and hope and loss, and several times, the emotions would visibly wash over him. Each time, he would step back, and the audience at Idlewild Baptist Church would applaud, as if to allow him time to overcome his emotions. Each time, Dungy would return to the microphone, trying to comfort those who came to comfort him.
How does a man find such strength? How does he share an agony so private with his public? How does he use faith as an answer when there are so many unanswered questions?
A man buried his son Tuesday, only five days after his death and only 18 years after his birth. A husband put his arm around his wife. A father embraced his other four children.
Away from the illusion of a game, away from the celebrity of his job, it is as simple as that. For the past week, that is who Dungy has been to the Tampa Bay community. It hardly matters that he is the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, or that he used to be the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, except that is how most of us came to know him.
Most of the 2,000 or so mourners who entered Idlewild were there because of Dungy's character, because most around here have a story or two about a decent man who has suffered an unimaginable loss. He is one of us, and for most of a week, those who live in the Tampa Bay area have wanted to put an arm around Dungy's shoulder.
There were no answers to what apparently drives a young man to suicide. There were only answers to why so many people miss Jamie Dungy so much.
He was a mama's boy. He loved the color pink and chicken quesadillas and put ketchup on almost everything. He liked stray dogs and old friends and practical jokes.
Dungy told the story about when Jamie was 7 and his father worked for the Minnesota Vikings. A player named Vencie Glenn had given Jamie a hat, and suddenly, Vencie, No. 25, was his buddy. The next year, the Vikings traded Glenn to the Giants.
On the first day of camp, Dungy saw his son in the dining room after the morning practice. Jamie seemed unhappy, and his father asked why. Jamie said he had followed No. 25 around all day, calling out his name, and Vencie ignored him.
"Son, that wasn't Vencie Glenn," Tony said. "That was Alfred Jackson."
McKay told one about Jamie being steamrolled by former Bucs quarterback Eric Zeier on the sideline. Jamie was looking away from the play when he glanced up at the scoreboard and saw the play coming toward him. He curled up just as Zeier and others plowed into him.
Pastor Jeffery Singletary told one about the fishing trip when a storm quickly developed. Most in the party were praying, Singletary said, when he heard the beep-beep of Jamie's video game. He also heard Jamie ask his father if it things were going to be all right.
"Things are going to be fine," Singletary remembers Tony saying.
In one of their final telephone conversations, Jamie told Tony the Colts were going to the Super Bowl, and he wanted to know if he could be on the sideline. Tony warned him about the difficulty of getting there, but yes, he said, there would be a spot for him on the sideline.
Together, the stories weave a more complete picture of Jamie Dungy. He quoted scripture. He was a polite kid.
"If you were nice to Jamie, you were his friend," Dungy said. "The other way was to look like you needed a friend."
The more you heard, the bigger the questions became about Jamie's final days. Was his pain deeper than most teenagers? Was his ability to cope with it less? We will never know.
Dungy said his son was searching for who that person was inside of him, who he was going to be.
"As he made that search, I knew he was never going to leave that compassionate, friendly, loyal, heartfelt roots," Dungy said. "But like a lot of teenage boys, I think he was hit with messages that maybe that's not the way boys are supposed to be. Like most of us, I think he went through a time as a teenager he wasn't sure his parents always had the best advice, that we always had his best interest at heart.
"My daughter Tiara said it best. She said, 'I just wish he could have made it to 20, because when you're 17 or 18, a lot of things your parents tell you don't make sense. At 20, they start to make sense again. I just wish he would have made it.' "
Again, Dungy's voice quaked. Again, he paused. Again, the audience applauded.
For most of Tampa Bay, Dungy quit being a football coach a long time ago. Instead, he was a neighbor, a man of grace and dignity.
Today, it would be nice if he could find a little peace.
Jamie, too.

Gary Shelton is a columnist for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

Owners approve Super Bowl for Kansas City wire reports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2005) -- NFL owners voted to tentatively award Kansas City a Super Bowl, largely as a tribute to owner Lamar Hunt, who gave the game its name.

It comes with one giant string attached: improvements to Arrowhead Stadium, including a rolling roof to keep out the February cold. The team estimates the cost of the roof alone at $100 million to $200 million -- and that's not counting $300 million or so the Chiefs say they need in stadium upgrades.

The approval is for a 10-year window, starting in 2011, but Hunt said the most likely prospects would be for the 49th or 51st Super Bowl, after the 2014 or 2016 seasons.

"This is a very happy day, and in some respects a surprising day," he said at a news conference after the second day of the owners' two-day fall meeting adjourned. "This is something our organization has talked about for a number of years."

The team is now in lease negotiations with Jackson County and hopes to have a sales tax issue on the April ballot for Kansas City residents who live in the county. Last year, a bi-state sales tax proposal, for stadium improvements and arts in the area, failed to gain approval.

The Kansas City Royals, whose Kauffman Stadium sits across a parking lot from Arrowhead, would also have benefited from that tax.

The Chiefs, and other backers of stadium renovations, hope the prospect of landing an event with an estimated $400 million economic impact will provide enough reason to vote "yes" this time.

"The tremendous benefit to Kansas City, both in economic terms and prestige, are beyond calculation," Mayor Kay Barnes said in a written statement.

Jack Steadman, the Chiefs' vice chairman, said lease talks were to resume Nov. 17 and that he hoped they would be completed by December. He said the Chiefs would not specify their financial commitment to the project until negotiations were completed.

Hunt, a founding owner in the American Football League, gave the Super Bowl its name after it began simply as a matchup between the AFL and NFL champions.

"This decision is clearly an indication of the tremendous support the Chiefs have had from their fans in this area, and also the role of Lamar Hunt in the creation of the NFL today and the history of professional football."

Only three Super Bowls have been awarded to cold-weather cities. Detroit will host its second Super Bowl in February, and Minneapolis has hosted one.

"I think a one-off is a correct decision," Hunt said. "My request was for one game, in a 10-year window."

A rolling roof, which could be moved to cover either stadium, was part of the original plans for the Truman Sports Complex. It was designed only to keep out the rain, however.

Steadman said the new plan would allow panels to be lowered from the roof, to provide for a heated interior in cold weather.

"This is a new idea for an old concept," he said.

2005: The 10 biggest stories in international pop

By Andre Mayer
December 22, 2005

Best intentions
If 2004 was the year pop got political, in 2005, pop stars showed their giving spirit. The hastily assembled Live 8 concerts were proof of Bob Geldof's indomitable will and the music industry's ability to mobilize for a good cause. Ten concerts, an estimated three billion viewers. Live 8 was a success in terms of raising awareness of African poverty and putting the issue on the table at the subsequent G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. Whether all the singing and finger--wagging will make a significant difference in the lives of destitute Africans now lies with the politicians.

Bono vista
Was 2005 good to Bono? Hmmm, let's see: His band, U2, tallies the 2005's top-grossing stadium tour ($260 million). The rocker-slash-activist earns partial credit for his work in organizing Live 8, shares Time's Persons of the Year award (with Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda), scores Q magazine's Man of the Year and is the subject of a fulsome cover story in the New York Times Magazine. Yes, he's everywhere: yes, those sunglasses look ridiculous. But can you name another private citizen who has donated as much of his energy to eliminating human suffering?

Kanye flips the script
The Hurricane Katrina relief effort was likely the second biggest cause of musical solidarity in 2005. But amid the feelings of sadness and good will, rapper Kanye West could not hide his anger at the disparities between blacks and whites in New Orleans. During the NBC telethon on Sept. 2, Kanye deviated from the scripted platitudes to express his outrage with the coverage of the disaster and the government's lackadaisical response. "I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.'" Unprepared for this harangue, NBC was unable to censor Kanye's crowning blow: "George Bush doesn't care about black people!"

Shopping has dropped
In what is becoming an annual ritual, the music industry reported another plunge in album sales; according to Nielsen SoundScan, sales were down more than seven per cent from 2004. Industry watchers don't agree on the reason. Is it downloading (legal or otherwise), the rise of CD burning or mounting competition from DVDs and videogames for consumer dollars? Or is it that there aren't as many massive releases? My prediction: the industry will still be wrestling with the question this time next year.

A star is reborn
Admit it: before 2005, you wrote Mariah Carey off as a past-her-prime pop diva. Short of expunging her film Glitter from our collective memory, you figured there was no way she could ever be relevant again. Well, Mariah made proved us wrong. The Emancipation of Mimi, her 10th album, sold seven million copies worldwide, her single We Belong Together reigned supreme on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks and she scored a throng of Grammy nominations. In related news, "Rebirth," J-Lo's attempt at career rejuvenation, flopped magnificently.

Hate him or love him
If Kanye flirted with news headlines in 2005, fellow rapper 50 Cent practically dictated them. In March, Fiddy released his sophomore album, The Massacre. In April, he became the first artist since the Beatles to have four songs in the U.S. Top 10. In early November, he starred in Get Rich or Die Tryin' -- a thinly disguised autobio directed by Jim Sheridan. Later that month, a Toronto MP attempted to have the contentious rapper barred from entering Canada, saying 50 Cent's music fetishized the sort of gun violence that has plagued Toronto in 2005. And that sound in the background? Cash registers ringing up The Massacre.

Payola does not pay
In the 1950s and 1960s record companies often bribed radio stations to play their songs. The practice, known as payola, wasn't legal, but it also wasn't unusual. Most people had forgotten this primitive practice until an investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer determined that payola was still "pervasive." Among his findings was this e-mail by someone at Sony BMG's Epic label, addressed to an employee at radio station WKSS:"WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen." The findings were so embarrassing that Sony BMG Music Entertainment agreed to pay a $10-million US settlement and promised to stop bribing radio stations. Spitzer mooted that other major record companies could be next. (In related news, forgotten Canadian band the Payola$ saw no discernible spike in their popularity.)

Diamond mine
In 2001, Neil Diamond was such a kitsch icon that he lampooned himself in the frat comedy Saving Silverman. Who could have predicted he would have enough mojo left to release another album -- much less one of the best-reviewed discs of 2005? Ruminative, heartfelt and 100 per cent kitsch-free, 12 Songs is utterly compelling. Much of the credit goes to producer Rick Rubin. As he did with Johnny Cash's waning career in the 1990s, Rubin saw through the layers of parody to pinpoint the honest songcraft that made the man great in the first place. If you’re looking for another Cracklin' Rosie or Kentucky Woman, you won't find it; what you will find is a great American songwriter, his skills undiminished.

Another year, another spate of passings. Deaths in 2005 included: guitar god Link Wray; R&B smoothie Luther Vandross ; Ibrahim Ferrer, revered Cuban singer and the wizened face of the Buena Vista Social Club; legendary singer and piano maven Shirley Horn; guitarist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a Texas original whose distinctive sound was a searing blend of bluegrass, jazz, Cajun, country and calypso; and jazz great Jimmy Smith, arguably the most famous emissary of the Hammond organ.

Please, please, no more Peas
If a band can over saturate the market, the Black Eyed Peas have done it. In 2005, the California quartet --once a hip-hop outfit, now the worst kind of mongrel pop act -- was everywhere, demonstrating a willingness to appear anywhere, with anyone, for any cause, any time. While that included a fair bit of altruism (e.g. Live 8, an Amnesty International charity album), the Peas were far too voracious to let it end there: award shows, free concerts sponsored by Honda, the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup -- plus the threat of opening the 2006 World Cup of soccer in Germany. To ensure we would be talking about them through the holidays, in November, the BEP's released My Humps, a strong contender for Most Nauseating Single Ever.

Janet and Michael Jackson in top 10 Google search

CBC Arts -

Singer Janet Jackson has been named the most popular search on Google for 2005 joining other celebrities in the top 10 including her brother Michael Jackson and movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

The 39-year-old continued to pique the interests of people around the world in 2005, with rumours she had secretly given birth to a daughter 18 years ago and paparazzi video of her sunbathing nude. Back in 2004, Jackson was also a popular search subject mainly because of her "wardrobe malfunction" while performing a half-time show with Justin Timberlake during the SuperBowl.

Jackson topped the list, with Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in southeast Asia, Xbox and actor Brad Pitt rounding out the top five.

Other top searches include the talent show American Idol and wizard-in-training Harry Potter.

Search results for Canada, with only the first half of the year available, indicate a skewing towards teenagers. Young entertainers such as Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Chad Michael Murray were perennial top 10 favourites, as was rapper 50 Cent.

Japanese anime cartoon Inuyasha was consistently in the top five between January and June, 2005. Inuyasha is a half-human, half-demon character searching for a gem that would give him great powers.

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams is listed as no. 9 on the search list for Canada. She's appeared in The Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, Red Eye and most recently, The Family Stone.