When cult Manchester band The Stone Roses finally buried the hatchet last year and announced summer reunion concerts, the reaction was predictably ecstatic. But this wasn’t just nebulous nostalgia. Take a look at the latest book of Guinness World Records, and the group’s dates in Manchester were officially the fastest-selling rock concerts in British history, all 220,000 tickets snapped up within a staggering 68 minutes.
But initially, at least, it wasn’t the creative urge that got The Stone Roses back together. Playing concerts across the world in these times of music streaming and plummeting album sales is one of the few remaining ways in which bands can actually make money.
So Coldplay don’t trudge around the world’s cities because they hope it will provoke a spike in album sales. Their most recent Mylo Xyloto tour, which stopped off in most European capitals, North America, Australasia and the United Arab Emirates, was watched by more than two million people, and grossed them US$181m. The most successful concert series ever, U2’s 360degrees tour, was ostensibly embarked upon to promote 2009 album No Line On The Horizon. But while the album was one of their least successful in decades, Bono, The Edge and co. made a frankly incredible US$1.16bn from the live dates.
All of which explains why Dubai and Abu Dhabi have steadily become a regular stop off on world tours for some of the world’s biggest stars. Including, later this month, The Stone Roses at Dubai’s Media City Amphitheatre. It might seem like a coup but promoter Thomas Ovesen, COO of Done Events, thinks it’s actually quite natural.
“I have been doing concerts in Dubai for 13 years and you actually have to go back to before 2000 to argue that “big” artists weren’t coming here,” says Ovesen, who brought The Eagles to the Sevens Stadium and has worked on shows with Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Paolo Nutini, Enrique Iglesias, Usher and Jennifer Lopez.
“But there is no doubt that the main revenue stream for a band now is what they earn from performing live... from the performance fee to the fan recognition such shows brings about, the endorsement deals, tour sponsorships, it all helps.”
And as for The Stone Roses, Ovesen can’t wait. “My dream of selling out the 10,000 capacity Dubai show might just become a reality on 21 February,” he laughs. If so, The Stone Roses – who go on to play Jakarta, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico – are likely to be laughing, too.
The Stone Roses play Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on 21 February.