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To Eric Carmen:

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Perhaps when Cleveland can properly appreciate them...

No, this show did not sell as many tickets as it could have and I could tell in advance that it was not going to be packed. The floor was pretty full but the stands were more sparse. From the way it was being advertised and discounted, I had a feeling ticket sales were not going well, and I was probably right.

Mind you, I don't think they're necessarily done after this just because they are having a harder time selling in Cleveland. In fact, I can still see them packing 'em in in other cities. They may not sell out at BBK's but they should do well. But unfortunately in Cleveland, now that the whole excitement of their initial reunion is over, they are fighting certain factors in attempting to sell themselves to the local audience. While they do have the fact that they have a core audience of diehards in town who would go see them anywhere, anytime, and yet another core of diehard fans who will travel in to see them, they face these problems when trying to sell tickets in Cleveland:

1. The novelty of their reunion is over. This was their THIRD Cleveland concert since November. I am sure to many people it was a "been there, done that" event.

2. The old "local yokel" factor of people not appreciating what is in their own backyard. Oh, you know, they will pay a fortune to see (insert name of big out-of-town act here) but Raspberries? Come on. "I remember when I could pay a buck to see them at the Agora in 1970." Yadda yadda. Amazingly enough, this attitude was already having a negative impact on their ticket sales by 1973! I mean, by 1973 you had to pay FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS to see the Raspberries...quintuple the 1970 price...LOL!!!!

Anyway, you get the picture. I feel really sorry for all of you who live in LA or Florida or wherever who don't have the travel budget of a Julia or a Kazumi and who would give your left body-part-that-starts-with-B just to see ONE Raspberries concert located somewhere, anywhere near you...while we here in Cleveland who are lucky enough to have them right amongst us treat them like "old hat"...at least some of us do. But sadly that is the way things seem to be.

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Ticket sales in general are very bad everywhere. I live in Illinois, near Chicago, two bands who are current and have cds on the charts, "Bowling for Soup" and "Fountains of Wayne" have played local summer festival type performances. When you think about it, that is a smart move. Raspberries playing at the outdoor venue was more than likely just a chance to play in a larger venue and take advantage of the summer weather. The Saturday show at BBK's is sold out, and the Sunday show is near sold out from what I was told. As far as in Chicago, the show in January was not technically a sellout, but the venue was near capacity, and that's not bad considering that there was virtually no big promotion for the concert. If the band played HOB Chicago again, there would be an excellent chance that it would sellout given the response and review that the band got here. In Rosemont, we have a place called the Rosemont Theatre, which holds a couple thousand and is set up like an old style theatre, ie. lower level and balcony. This would be a great place for Raspberries to perform as well as a good place for a PBS Soundstage production which is done in Chicago also. OUr bigger outdoor venues around here have been averaging about half full from what the papers have said, and some acts have even been moved to smaller venues. It might not be the band, it might just be the economy.

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Trindy has an excellent point. One can only play the same market so many times in a given period before people fall into that comfort zone of believing either "been there done that" or "they'll be playing again in a few months, I'll catch them then".

Further, not everyone has the ability to pack up and drive (or fly or train or whatever) to see them every few months. I lucked out and was in the area visiting family and was able to see this show (after spending my Thanksgiving weekend on the road to see them LAST year).

Playing Cleveland three times in an 8 month period may have been a bit much for the concert market - which is ALREADY sluggish. All that being said, there was still a sizable crowd at the Scene...the "down front" seating being fairly well filled, and most of the empty "cheap seats" being off to the sides. Nothing to sneeze at in any event.

Those who missed the show, or any part of it, missed a beauty. The Stone Pony Band were extremely impressive, not only being faithful to Bruce and Johnny in their arrangements, but performed with enough power and sincerity to make the listener believe these were THEIR songs, not some other performer's.

The Knack were exceptionally strong. I've seen them a handful of times since their reunion a few years back and they keep getting better and better. Jangling guitars, Beatle-esque harmonies, powerful power-pop with often hilarious lyrics. Great choices of covers in "No Matter What" and the showcase medley of "Tequila" and "Break On Through" (which on paper sounds bizarre, but works impressively in performance - a showcase for Berton Averre's guitar work).

Raspberries, of course, simply get sharper and tighter each time out. You simply cannot get any better than the "call to arms" intro of "I Wanna Be With You" at full concert volume. Then, to follow it with two hours of some of the best rock and roll ever done performed brilliantly, well...whoever still hasn't gotten the point is lost.

It was a great night. Bring on the CD/DVD!!!!

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BUT, the third show in 8 months in Cleveland had the biggest crowd yet so I do not see any problem with them playing the hometown again around Christmas. I would gues around 3000 in the crowd and not bad when you think a double billing of Grand Funk Railroad/Guess Who playing in NE Ohio next week is only standing around 2000 pre sold so far.

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The audience definitely "got" the Knack. The band rocked and was without question a FAN-tastic opener for the Berries. And Doug Fieger! Whoa! Exceptional at center stage. I didn't think anyone could have more fun until I caught Paul Sidoti dancing with his Les Paul through a two hour Eagles/James gang Tequilla Sunrise marathon in front of an SRO crowd at the House of Blues on Saturday night. Way to go Paul! And thanks again for the shoutout from the stage. That NEVER gets old :-)


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