Country Christmas tour playing Cape

Friday, October 27, 2006

Local DJs say the artists aren't big names but do have songs receiving airplay on the radio.

Less than a week after Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Jake Owen performed before a near-sellout crowd at the Show Me Center, the venue has announced another country concert coming before year's end.

The Show Me Center sent out an announcement Wednesday night that the GAC Country Christmas Tour will stop in Cape Girardeau on Dec. 4. The tour, sponsored by the country music TV channel Great American Country, will feature one established hit-maker, Deana Carter, and four new names on the scene, Julie Roberts, Steve Azar, Blue County and Buddy Jewell.

The concert will be one of four before year's end. Christian rock band Third Day will play at the Show Me Center on Nov. 5, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform Nov. 15 and Rick Springfield will play a benefit concert for local 12-year-old Sahara Aldridge on Dec. 8. The Show Me Center will also host Disney on Ice from Nov. 9 to 12 and the Alejandra Dondines Dancers of the Americas on Dec. 6.

Venue marketing director Shannon Buford said quality shows visiting Cape Girardeau seems to be a cyclical phenomenon, and when a few good shows come to the area, others seem to follow.

Last year's fall season featured Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Larry the Cable Guy and TSO's second straight year at the venue. Those shows had all been booked by the beginning of October 2005.

Early on, this fall's lineup was sparse, with only Ron White, who performed last week, Third Day and Paisley booked well ahead of time. But late additions of Springfield and the GAC Christmas Tour have packed this year's fall lineup with four concerts in November and December.

Despite the number of shows coming to the venue in a short time, Buford said he doesn't think saturation will be a problem.

"For both Rick Springfield and GAC, ticket prices are pretty low," Buford said. "Basically for the price of one ticket to a show in St. Louis, you can see two shows down here."

Tickets for the GAC tour are $25, and tickets to see Springfield also start at $25. But Springfield's concert may offer more incentive for ticket buyers, since all the proceeds benefit a local girl battling cancer.

Local country music radio DJs say the artists on the GAC tour aren't big names but do have songs receiving airplay on country radio.

K103 FM DJ Katie Carson said not to expect the kind of turnout the Paisley/Underwood/Owen concert drew, but many country fans will probably pay the low price to see rising stars in a holiday concert setting.

Joe Bob Cameron, a DJ for B97.9 FM, also said the low ticket price is a big incentive to see rising stars.

"You're not going to get that kind of price at many concerts," Cameron said.

Country concert typically draw large crowds in Southeast Missouri, but the last country sellout at the Show Me Center was in 2003 when Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts played the venue.

Tickets for the GAC tour go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

Country music concerts at the Show Me Center since 2000:

2000

Kenny Rogers Christmas show

2002

Kenny Chesney (sell out)

Neal McCoy Christmas show

2003

Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts (sell out)

Montgomery Gentry and Emerson Drive

2004

Brooks and Dunn

2005

Alison Krauss and Union Station

Willie Nelson

2006

Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Jake Owen

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