Looks like Green Bay would love to have Neil play the Resch Center

Kendra Meinert column: Resch eyes ringers for ’05 slate

With three shows already sold clean in the tough concert months of January and February, the Resch Center has a good feeling about the new year.

“I anticipate 2005 being another strong year concert wise,” said PMI president Ken Wachter.

The double bill of Toby Keith and Ted Nugent sold out back-to-back shows Jan. 27 and 28 in minutes, and Josh Groban’s first area visit for a Feb. 22 show was also an easy sellout. An April 5 concert by the newly reunited Motley Crue is expected to do well when it goes on sale Saturday. That gives PMI momentum and a nice shot of confidence heading into the busy booking season ahead.

The Resch has many dates on hold for potential shows through December, Wachter said, but it’s still too early for any confirmations. Not surprising, country will again figure prominently into the offerings, starting at the top of the heap with the Country Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year.

“Kenny Chesney is on the road, and we’re pursuing him,” Wachter said.

Chesney, one of 2004’s top-grossing touring acts, has announced he will hit the road again this year with his new Somewhere in the Sun Tour. A launch date has not been announced, but his choice in opening acts almost guarantees him another mega-grossing year. Gretchen Wilson, country’s current It Girl, will open all dates, with Uncle Kracker on board for the first half of the tour and Pat Green taking over for the second half (fingers crossed that if a Green Bay date happens, it’s on the second half of the tour).

Chesney’s new album, “Be as You Are: Songs from an Old Blue Chair,” comes out Jan. 25.

If Martina McBride opts for another year of her Christmas show, Wachter said she may be a possibility for the Resch.

On the rock side, Sting is playing college campuses in April on his Broken Music Tour. He’s expected to announce more cities after that — many of them smaller markets and venues he hasn’t played before, which could bode well for Green Bay.

There could also be some repeat visitors this year. Wachter said John Mellencamp, who played the Resch in 2002, is expected to tour this year behind his “Words & Music: John Mellencamp’s Greatest Hits” collection with a completely different type of show.

“We’re trying to bring him back,” Wachter said.

There’s also a possibility that the Eagles could tour this spring. Wachter thinks they could do solid repeat business at the Resch.

Also on the Resch wish list: red-hot rapper Nelly. “We’ve made offers for Nelly. Whether he gets here or not we don’t know yet,” Wachter said.

Some of music’s biggest and most prestigious acts are expected to tour this year, including U2, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand. Eminem and 50 Cent are also rumored to team up for what would be a mighty summer stadium package.

The Resch is likely too small for most of those acts, but that doesn’t mean PMI won’t take a stab at them. Diamond, for example, was ranked second in a 2002 survey of acts area residents said they would most like to see play the Resch. And everyone wants a piece of U2.

“I always put our name out there,” Wachter said. “The odds of U2 landing with us are not good. I don’t think we’re big enough, but we put the calls out.”

Wachter should have a better idea of this year’s touring pool when he heads out to Los Angeles next month for the annual Concert Industry Consortium.

More concert news

* Former Styx lead singer/songwriter Dennis DeYoung will join the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra Feb. 19 at the Meyer Theatre. The concert will be a fund-raiser to restore the marquee of the downtown theater. DeYoung, along with the symphony, a five-piece rock band and guest vocalist Amick Byram, will play classic Styx hits and some of his more recent solo work.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today through Ticket Star. Prices listed on DeYoung’s Web site are $75 and $40.

* Local music promoter Carl Laes is in the early stages of putting together a music benefit for the tsunami victims. It?s tentatively scheduled for Feb. 18 at the Riverside Ballroom, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.

Bands and artists interested in participating can e-mail riverside@riversideballroom .com. Businesses willing to donate door prizes or auction items are also being sought.

A gig Tuesday night with Tom Reynolds, Woody Mankowski and others at Luna Cafe in De Pere raised $1,700 for the Red Cross.

WEEKEND editor Kendra Meinert writes about the area’s pop entertainment scene. She can be reached at (920) 431-8347 or e-mail at kmeinert@greenbaypressgazette.com.

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