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Summer concert schedule sports big names

of the Oakland Press

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With a pending sale, it’s been a tumultuous fall, winter and spring for Palace Sports & Entertainment, as well as the Detroit Pistons.

But as the organization rolls out its summer 2011 schedule — currently 83 shows over five months — the music and entertainment side of things doesn’t seemed to have suffered a great deal.

“It’s had no effect whatsoever,” notes PS&E President and CEO Alan Ostfield. “The foundation of our business is booking shows. The ownership transition had no impact whatsoever on our ability and desire and motivation to keep booking an incredible amount of great stuff and ... varied shows.”

And, Ostfield adds, he expects Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity, the new PS&E and Pistons owner, to be a crucial asset in maintaining the company’s dominance in the summer music market.

“They’re hands-on,” he says. “They like to love and care and feed and help run and improve. And the year that just passed, we had a great year from the entertainment perspective.” PS&E was, in fact, one of only nine U.S. promoters with sales of more than 1 million tickets in 2010 according to the trade magazine PollStar.

Most of the summer shows currently slated for PS&E’s three venues — the Palace, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival — have already been announced individually. The season starts with May 15’s Usher concert at the Palace and also includes Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s three shows there the following week. The offerings range from heavy metal festivals and classic rock artists to comedy, family shows, magic acts, an All-Star Basketball Festival on Aug. 6 at the Palace, an MMA Cage Fight Festival on Sept. 10 at Meadow Brook, which will also host its ever-popular Wine and Food Festival on Aug. 27-28.

And while the outdoors is always a lure during the summer months, the Palace will be busy, too, with 15 shows scheduled so far due to production requirements or the act’s ability to sell more tickets than DTE’s 15,000-seat capacity. Among those coming indoors are “Glee Live! in Concert” (June 13), Rihanna (June 14), New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys (June 16), Katy Perry (June 28), Josh Groban (July 16), Keith Urban (July 3), Britney Spears (July 28) and Sade and John Legend (Aug. 3).

In a change to tradition, Eddie Money will now be the second show of the summer at DTE, on May 27; his opening spot has been usurped by fellow classic rockers the Doobie Brothers, who play there on May 25.

And missing from the outdoor schedule this year will be the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, whose labor strife made it unable to schedule its usual residency at Meadow Brook.

Among the summer’s highlights, however, will be: the Go-Go’s celebrating their 30th anniversary on June 16 at DTE; Earth, Wind & Fire serving its 40th anniversary, June 22 at DTE; the All-Star Magic Show, June 23 at Meadow Brook; Peter Frampton performing “Frampton Comes Alive” in its entirety July 8 at DTE; the annual Mayhem Festival with Distburbed, Godsmack and Megadeth on Aug. 6 at DTE; the inaugural Identity electronic music festival, Aug. 12 at DTE; adopted Detroit sons the J. Geils Band with the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson at DTE and a reunion of the jazz fusion supergroup Return to Forever at Meadow Brook, both on Aug. 19; Aretha Franklin, Aug. 25 at DTE; and Ted Nugent with original singer Derek St. Holmes, Sept. 3 at DTE.

Meadow Brook will also host a full slate of comedy during the summer, including: Demetri Martin, July 16; The Dirty Joke Show starring Geechy Guy, July 29; Jim Gaffigan, Aug. 6; and Laugh-A-Palooza, Aug. 26. Family shows include two performances of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” July 14 at Meadow Brook; “The Wiggles Big Birthday,” two shows July 29 at the Palace; a “Family Day on Broadway” matinee, Aug. 13 at Meadow Brook; and “Rapunzel Untangled,” two shows Aug. 25 at Meadow Brook.

Ostfield says PS&E will add shows throughout the summer and expects at least another dozen to be added at the venues before the season ends. Last year DTE hosted 60 shows with 29 sell-outs and an attendance of 715,000. Meadow Brook’s 35 shows included six sell-outs and attendance of more than 165,000. The 35 combined sell-outs was the most under PS&E’s management of the venues.

A full schedule and ticket information can be found at www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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