Reviews and ticket sales have been mixed for the old time rockers including The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Genesis, the Who, the Police and Black Sabbath who have been hitting Germany’s concert circuit.
Older rockstars touring Germany are part of a wider trend as bands try to compensate for falling record sales, but never before have so many old-established acts swept the country, known for its loyal rock fans, efficient organization and high ticket sales.
“You can see the trend most clearly in Germany,” said Christian Diekmann, chief operating officer at Deutsche Entertainment — one of Germany’s main concert organizers
“It’s got Europe’s biggest economy and the most purchasing power,” he told Reuters. “There are good-sized cities across the country and they all have football stadiums or good venues.”
“The question is ‘why are they bothering?’,” said Harald Peters, culture editor and music critic. “Some of these groups are just plain burned out. Others are just old and boring.
“They’re getting torn to shreds in reviews. I’m not saying all of them should have stopped at 40. But with some, it’s so bizarre and you wonder why. Do they need the money? Didn’t they get an education? Can’t they do anything else for a living?”
Other critics have mocked the ageing rockers and some newspapers published unflattering pictures of performers who have lived the rock-star lifestyle, looking older than their years.
Ticket sales for a Rolling Stones’ concert in Frankfurt in June were sluggish. The Peter Rieger concert agency then announced it would cut the capacity at the arena by 10,000 to 25,000 and reduced the lowest ticket prices to 59 euros ($81) from 82 euros.
Other older bands including Aerosmith and Genesis have had unenthusiastic reviews.
“The fondness for travel by the senior citizens has nothing to do with art,” wrote Jochen Temsch, a critic of Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
“It is business interests that are keeping them going. Sales of recordings have been falling for years in face of the digital challenge and new sources of revenue are needed: live concerts.”
Diekmann, whose Deutsche Entertainment is Germany’s number two organizer, said revenues from concerts would hit a record 3 billion euros ($4 billion) in 2007, double the value of record sales.
“The live concert market is growing rapidly,” Diekmann said.
He said there was enough demand in Germany for the ageing stars. Ticket prices were often higher than elsewhere. But he conceded that not all the acts lived up to expectations and some seemed to be cashing in on past glories.
“The rock used to be so much better, a real celebration of music,” said Rainer Franz, 45, a Stuttgart engineer. He has been Genesis fan since seeing them live the first time in 1983. “I’ll still go just about anywhere to see them live.” Others performing in Germany this year included Meat Loaf, who turns 60 next month, Lou Reed, 65, and
Peter Gabriel, 57. The latter needed a teleprompter to help him remember the words.
Critic Sebastian Gierke said it was “almost tragic” to see Ozzy Osbourne, 58, at a “farcical” concert. “He kept screaming ‘I can’t f—ing hear you!’ over and over again. You felt like shouting back ‘buy a goddamn hearing aid and maybe you’ll realize you’re singing everything off key’.” (Reuters)
Bottom line: Its not hard to believe that some old time rockers are cashing in on past glories, but there is still a demand. I think the German critics are pissed that they haven’t produced acts as big as the above mentioned that can tour other countries 50 years later.