By Annie Holub
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 15, 1998

Tucson vs. Phoenix

So there's this band. You love 'em. Seeing them live would be a formative experience. Something you could tell your children about in 20 years while they roll their eyes and think about how old anduncool you are. You would sacrifice every last penny you have for the chance to hear your ears ring for six hours after the show.

But you're in Tucson. They're playing in Phoenix.

You have two options to deal with this situation.

Option #1- Find a car and someone immune to white-line fever. Someone willing to drive I-10 at two in the morning. Round up a couple of other people to go so you can pool gas money, try to get off work an hour early and make sure you have plenty of good tapes for the drive.

Option #2-Sit in your room, carless, friendless and bored, bitching to your CD player about how much this sucks.

Choosing to take the 120 mile northern trek will render you sleep-deprived for early morning classes, while wallowing in the musicless void of your room will only heighten your frustration with life in a not-so-big city. Either way, that's a lot of strife to go through for a band. While we in Tucson do get the occasional big show here-like Motley Crüe-the question has probably crossed your mind: Why do most bands play Phoenix and not Tucson?

We asked the experts.

"Overall, the main reason (that more acts stop in Phoenix than Tucson) is that (the acts) are probably limited to a certain amount of dates," says Terry Burke of Evening Star Productions, a Phoenix-based company which handles many shows in Phoenix and the occasional Tucson show. "Sometimes they might want to come to Tucson, but there's a limited amount of dates, and they don't think the market is that great."

"Phoenix is a major market," Burke says, "Bands want to play the biggest cities to make the most amount of money."

Mark Rasdorf, director of communications for UApresents, agrees.

On a larger scale, in terms of the performing arts, he says, "Tucson and Phoenix are very different markets. Tucson is more progressive, less conservative and willing to take a chance on performances that are more avant-garde."

While Tucson's progressive attitude seems like perfectly good bait to lure a variety of acts, it makes the market more risky. It's hard to predict what people will actually like when they're more open. Tucsonans may flock to one performance and buy-out the box office, then turn away in distaste at something very similar.

Additionally, Burke adds, Tucson's "not an ideal place," because we don't have a lot of performance space.

Uapresents utilizes the campus' Centennial Hall and deals mostly with performing arts- high-brow shows like string quartets and dance troupes. Although it's a large venue, it's hard for a rock production company like Evening Star to get their shows in, and the schedule's already pretty booked.

That's the case for most of the bigger Tucson venues, says Burke.

"Your perspective is of a student on a campus with 30,000 people who want to be able to see concerts and don't want to have to drive 100 miles to do so," says Rasdorf. "From the manager's perspective, Tucson is small beans."

Live music lovers must keep in mind that Phoenix is about three times the size of Tucson.

When a band is forced to choose between our market and their market, we're stuck with that lovely strech of freeway between ourselves and those shows we just can't miss. But we don't have to be happy about it.

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