Monday, August 11, 2008


[August 2008] REM fail to sell out a Welsh stadium gig

2008 is not 1995, it seems ... or even 2005. Though REM are one of the biggest bands in the world, they are not as big as they once were – and that's something Michael Stipe and friends will have to get used to. Sluggish ticket sales have forced the band to downsize their forthcoming gig at a stadium they filled in 2005.
The August 25 show, originally scheduled for Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, will instead take place at the nearby Cardiff International Arena. Tickets are still valid, though fans can get a refund if they wish.
Some 18,000 tickets had been sold for the Millennium Stadium concert. Bob Gold, REM's European manager, told the BBC that sales had not been up to snuff and a decision was made for both band and audiences to move to a "smaller, more intimate venue".
REM did not have this problem three years ago, playing the Millennium Stadium on July 10, 2005. Still, even this 35,000-capacity setup is a reduced, "curtained" format – whereas groups like U2 regularly fill the entire, 74,500-seat arena.
This week's news goes against the standard REM narrative, which has seen the band enjoying renewed fortunes after the success of Accelerate, an acclaimed, "back to basics" album.
Gold said that ticket sales for REM's other UK shows were "satisfactory". He blamed the slow in sales on a general economic downturn.