It’s official – the stage is going up in Tel Aviv. Facebook
Madonna News for May 2012
It doesn’t get much bigger than Madonna picking up your cause.
A Swedish film company will use a photo of Brandon Bitner in a video it’s producing for Madonna’s upcoming world tour, and will donate $5,000 to the Susquehanna University scholarship in Brandon’s name.
Katie Goodling, Brandon’s cousin, confirmed Saturday a deal with Adamsky Film Production of Stockholm to use Brandon’s photo, one of seven portraits of bullying victims to run in the video.
Each will display with an RIP sign and the person’s name for about three seconds.
Goodling also administers BrandonBitner.com, a website dedicated to bullying prevention and Brandon’s memory. He committed suicide in November 2010, citing incessant bullying at Midd-West High School in the note he left.
Over the years, events giant Flash Entertainment have brought some of the world’s biggest music acts to the UAE shores. But the real test will come in the form of showgirl Madonna in June.
As they gear up to welcome the legendary hitmaker and her 50,000 fans who will descend upon du Arena over two nights (June 3 and 4), tabloid! sits down with John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment, to get the details that are being worked on.
Joining Flash in their mission is UAE’s telecom provider du who have signed a four-year naming rights deal that has resulted in the re-christening of the former Yas Arena and Yas Forum. Both will now be known as du Arena and du Forum respectively.
Madonna’s sole request to Flash, said Lickrish, is that the show “has to be perfect”.
Excerpts from the interview:
Are you all set for the Madonna concert?
Absolutely. It’s a big act. We have been preparing since October but it’s bound to be hectic at the last minute. It’s going to be a life-changing experience.
Also, Madonna is very meticulous and I tell my team that any mistake made on this show, you will feel the after-effects ten times more. So everything has to run incredibly smoothly. There’s no room for any technical glitches. It’s a test for the city and for us.
What are the logistics involved?
We are expecting 50,000 people in total. We had to take out our stage because the Madonna stage is much bigger. Now, the stage is being pushed forward to the venue from underneath the roof to accommodate the size given. Last week we got the designs and the drawings. We have to make many changes and there’s a lot of last-minute running around. We also want to make sure that people get in and out smoothly. Plus, it’s going to be warm so we will have extra cooling fans. To put it simply, we want to be more than prepared this time.
Is it true that you have requested Madonna to tone down her performance keeping cultural sensitivities in mind?
It’s incorrect. We don’t speak to the artists directly but we know their brand and their performances. Yes, I have seen her rehearse in New Jersey just to have a look at the show. The artists are closed as far as content goes, yet they are aware of what the UAE is like and its tolerance levels. They understand that from a global perspective. It won’t be an issue at all.
Do you feel you have come full circle with Madonna?
You never know what’s the next big thing for us. When we started out, we missed out on Madonna by a few days because of the dates between her Greece and New York shows. It was a holiday date here. After almost four years, we are glad it’s happening now as it shows the elevation of Flash. In the beginning, we would have been like how are we going to get around that etc.
When it comes to events, Flash Entertainment enjoys a monopoly of sorts.
We do our job well and Flash was developed to create a strong music scene. I don’t think we enjoy any sort of monopoly.
Will we see you organise more events in Dubai?
I am not sure. We have had concerts there like the Eagles in the past. It’s all about revenue streams and economics. Till June, Abu Dhabi is where we are looking at.
Does Madonna have any demands?
No quirky demands. She just wants the show to go on perfectly. Everyone has a few demands, but she is a thorough professional so I am not expecting any sort of ridiculous requests.
Madonna has sold 653,000 tickets to the 43 North American dates on her upcoming concert tour, an executive with concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. said, putting it on track to be one of the top-grossing outings on record.
About 30,000 tickets remain available for the tour’s 36 U.S. shows, Live Nation head of global touring Arthur Fogel said, adding most of those are either single tickets or seats that are set aside for disabled concertgoers.
“We are inches from sellout everywhere,” Mr. Fogel said in a telephone interview Thursday. Tickets for U.S. dates went on sale in mid-February and range in price from around $45 to more than $350. Some premium-priced ticket packages run $600 per person.
The North American leg of the tour is slated to begin Aug. 28 at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center arena and end Nov. 20 with two dates at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Other stops include Yankee Stadium, Staples Center in Los Angeles and Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Mr. Fogel said that around 30% of ticket buyers had signed up for a free copy of the singer’s most recent album, “MDNA”—an offer that was available only to customers in the U.S. He said that acceptance rate was on the high end for such offers.
Of the tickets sold in North America, Mr. Fogel said, 500,000 were in the U.S. Those free-album offers fueled a healthy first week for “MDNA,” according to Nielsen SoundScan, which reported 359,000 copies sold in the U.S. In subsequent weeks, the album’s sales have slowed considerably, and it has now sold a total 456,000 copies in six weeks.
Mr. Fogel said that between 200,000 and 250,000 of those sales represented albums given away with concert tickets.
“MDNA” has not generated a significant hit on pop radio and was No. 65 on the album-sales chart released Wednesday by SoundScan. It has fared better on Billboard’s dance and electronic music char, where it was No. 2 last week. Two songs from the album, “Gang Bang” and “Girl Gone Wild,” have charted on the magazine’s electronic-music chart.
Madonna and Live Nation have an unusual 10-year contract that they struck in 2007, under which the promoter guaranteed the pop star $120 million in exchange for rights to a wide range of her business, including promoting her concert tours and releasing her albums. The company contracted out the distribution and promotion of “MDNA” to Universal Music Group’s Interscope records.
The world tour is to kick off May 31 in Tel Aviv, followed by stops in Abu Dhabi, Istanbul and various European cities. It is scheduled to wrap up with a handful of dates in Latin America late November and December.