Show Me Center kicks off summer with three big concerts in June

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Tool fans waited Friday morning for tickets to go on sale that afternoon at the Show Me Center Box Office. (Kit Doyle)

The coming summer looks to be a big one for the Show Me Center if June is any indication.

So far three big-name acts have booked shows at the venue: country star Martina McBride on June 7 with opener Little Big Town; rock band Tool on June 16; and country legend Merle Haggard on June 19.

Show Me Center marketing director Shannon Buford said he can't remember the last time the Show Me Center actually had a concert in June. Now the venue has three right at the beginning of the summer concert season.

"This is going to be a pretty busy June for us," Buford said.

The concerts are close together, but the acts coming to the Show Me Center don't necessarily play to the same audience, meaning they probably won't have to compete for scarce entertainment dollars. McBride counts fans of modern, pop-infused country among her listeners, while Haggard appeals to country traditionalists and even younger listeners attracted to his "outlaw" styles. Tool's audience consists of rock 'n' roll fans.

The venue already is reporting strong sales for the Tool concert. Tickets went on sale Friday, and more than 2,000 had been sold just before noon Monday -- a large number of early buys for a Show Me Center concert, Buford said. McBride concert tickets went on sale April 27, and more than 2,400 have been sold thus far, Buford said.

Some Tool fans began waiting in line early Friday morning for ticket sales to begin at 5 p.m. "Not many bands as big as Tool come to Cape, so it's well worth it," said Ricky Skaggs, who was first in line for tickets because he'd been at the Show Me Center since 8 a.m. "I would have gone to the St. Louis show, but once I found out they were coming here I figured this would be much better. This is much closer, and for the price it is amazing. Usually most bigger bands like this charge much more than this, but $54 per ticket and right around the corner is an offer you can't pass up."

Venues in larger cities often sell out in minutes when tickets for big-name acts like Tool go on sale, but not so at the Show Me Center, where many potential concertgoers seem to wait to purchase. The dynamic worked to Terri Price's advantage.

"We couldn't get tickets to the show in St. Louis," said Price, who began waiting in line at 9 a.m. "Just like the last time, they sold out on the phone in, like, 12 minutes. My husband's one of the biggest Tool fans in the world, but every time we try to get tickets they sell out."

Buford said he's already seeing a lot of buzz develop for Merle Haggard's concert as well and expects a strong showing when ticket sales start at 10 a.m. Saturday. This morning, e-mails are going out to members of the venue's all-access club giving them a chance to order tickets in a pre-sale starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Buford said.

Bob Dale, marketing director at local country station C106, said he expects Haggard to generate a lot of interest.

"I'm looking for a big crowd for this one," Dale said. "He's a legend ... he's got a huge following."

OFF Magazine contributor James Samons provided information for this report.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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