Saturday, February 16, 2008

Could Sudbury be cancelled?


Elton John concert in jeopardy over ticket grab

Posted By Denis St. Pierre

The raging controversy over city council's self-awarded "perk" of scores of Elton John concert tickets is now jeopardizing the concert's fate, according to city officials.

The Star has learned that city officials fear the public uproar over the ticket fiasco is causing so much concern for the event promoter, the March 2 Elton John concert could be cancelled.

Furthermore, city management also fears the controversy will damage Sudbury's chances at securing major acts in the future, The Star has learned.

Thousands of Elton John fans came away empty-handed earlier this month when tickets available to the public sold out within 45 minutes. The city's website received one million hits during that brief period from would-be ticket buyers.

One week later, The Star reported city council had jumped the queue and given itself first crack at more than 100 tickets, which prompted a deluge of public protest and anger. While councillors took an average of eight tickets, the actual numbers ranged from as few as two tickets to a whopping 22 purchased by one councillor, sources have told The Star.

The public furore has continued virtually unabated over the last week as several city councillors refuse to disclose how many concert tickets they obtained, while the municipal administration steadfastly refuses to divulge precisely how many tickets were available to the public.

All city council members were contacted Friday with regard to the latest startling revelation uncovered by The Star - that the controversy may be jeopardizing the Elton John concert as well as other major events in the future.

In an e-mail message sent to the mayor and councillors, the politicians were asked if they shared the concern that the ticket controversy is jeopardizing the Elton John concert and future events.

They also were asked if the disconcerting news might compel them to disclose how many concert tickets they purchased and what they have done with those tickets.

As of press time Friday night, none of the councillors responded to The Star's invitation for comment. There was one response sent from the city, indicating Ward 8 Coun. Ted Callaghan is away and not available for comment.

To date, the following council members have disclosed how many tickets they purchased: Mayor John Rodriguez (10), Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac (13), Ward 7 Coun. Russ Thompson (eight), Ward 8 Coun. Ted Callaghan (eight), Ward 3 Coun. Claude Berthiaume (seven), Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann (three), Ward 6 Coun. Andr‚ Rivest (two).

Friday, February 15, 2008

How about "Keyboard Hero: Elton John"

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Elton John keyboard hero next?Well...they are about to release a Guitar Hero for Aerosmith so how long before a piano version is released?

New Guitar Hero gives sweet emotion to Aerosmith fans

By Scott Hillis 30 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Activision Inc on Friday unveiled a new "Guitar Hero" video game focusing on the rock band Aerosmith, taking the billion-dollar franchise in a new direction.

Called "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith," the new game will arrive in stores this summer, a surprise to many analysts and fans who had expected the next title to come out closer to the year-end holiday shopping season.

Aerosmith, known for hits such as "Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion," is the top-selling American rock band of all time, with sales of 66.5 million albums in the United States alone.

The game will feature about 30 Aerosmith songs as well as others from various acts that have opened for the band. The price has not yet been set.

"The premise is that it's going to cover the 30-plus years of the band, from high school all the way through the rock superstardom of today," Kai Huang, head of Activision's RedOctane unit, which guides development of the franchise, told Reuters in an interview.

In the "Guitar Hero" games, players try to press colored buttons on a guitar-shaped controller in time with notes cascading down the screen. If the notes are hit, the song plays properly, and the player earns points.

Since the original "Guitar Hero" was released in late 2005, the series has gone on to sell more than $1 billion. Depending on the version, a bundle including the game and a controller costs from $80-$100, while the stand-alone game costs $40-$60.

When Activision reported quarterly earnings last week, analysts grilled the company on its plans for the franchise, expressing concern that sales would slow this year because many players who bought earlier versions with guitars would opt to buy the lower-price stand-alone game disks.

Huang said Activision had not yet decided whether it would offer a special controller with the Aerosmith game.


The focus on a single band marks a new twist for the franchise, whose three main titles featured dozens of artists spanning classic rock, grunge, metal, punk and other rock subgenres. Last year, Activision also released "Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s" with songs from that decade.

"It's just a completely new way to interact with this music and with Aerosmith, and we think there's more opportunity to do that in the future," Huang said.

By spotlighting a single band, the company has also come up with a way to counter rival music game "Rock Band" from Viacom Inc unit MTV and Electronic Arts Inc, Activision's top competitor.

"Rock Band," which includes drums and a microphone as well as a guitar, each week has offered new songs that can be downloaded to consoles like Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 and Sony Corp's PlayStation 3.

The music industry is eyeing "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" as a way to revive flagging sales. "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero 3," both launched last fall, have together sold millions of songs at about $2 each via download.

Speaking of Aerosmith's willingness to work on the project, Huang said: "They recognize that it can deliver their music in an innovative and new way. It's a new distribution platform for them."

To recreate the sense of attending an Aerosmith concert, developers held motion-capture sessions with band members, including energetic frontman Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry.

"As you play," Huang said, "you're going to be seeing Joe and Steven doing their moves onstage."

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Elton adds second show at Beasley

Elton John announces second WSU show

The Daily Evergreen

Beasley Coliseum announced today that Elton John will be performing a second show for Mom's Weekend. John was originally slated to perform on Saturday, April 12, but a second performance was added for April 13, after an enormous volume of phone calls and e-mails were sent to Beasley, according to the news release.

In contrast to the first time tickets were sold, a certain number for the second show have been reserved for students, according to an e-mail from Beasley Coliseum director Leo Udy. Students will be allowed to line up starting Sunday at 6 a.m. in front of the Beasley Coliseum ticket office. Randomly numbered wristbands will be distributed to the students in line from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets will go on sale on Monday at 10 a.m., in the order of the numbers on the wristband. Tickets will be limited to four per student.

EJ ticket controversy continues...

Councillor bought up to 22 Elton John tickets

Posted By Denis St. Pierre

Greater Sudbury Ward 11 Coun. Janet Gasparini purchased between 16 and 22 tickets to next month's Elton John concert, making her the largest buyer in city council's Ticket Gate controversy.

Sources say Gasparini reserved 22 tickets for the once-in-a-lifetime concert, but may have ended up with as few as 16 tickets after providing as many as six to council colleagues.

Before the concert tickets went on sale to the public, councillors were allowed to jump the queue and buy eight tickets each. After some councillors opted not to purchase eight tickets, the leftovers were offered to the remaining politicians and Gasparini was the biggest buyer, sources say.

Gasparini, one of six councillors who have refused to disclose how many tickets they purchased, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Meanwhile, Mayor John Rodriguez says city council's ticket grab for the March 2 concert did not violate council's code of conduct. Nor does the raging controversy signal a need for a stricter rules, adds Rodriguez.

Several angry citizens have contacted The Star to suggest the ticket grab by the mayor and councillors does indeed violate the code of conduct, which is entrenched in a municipal bylaw. As a result, these critics say, the politicians should be forced to return the tickets.

Furthermore, some outraged citizens suggest council should adopt a stricter code of conduct - similar to what is in place in other cities - that would unequivocally prohibit the preferred ticket access council has given itself.

Council's code of conduct includes a section titled "acceptance of gifts," which dictates that the mayor and councillors "shall ... not accept a fee, gift or other benefit that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of the duties of his/her office."

The mayor and councillors have emphasized that, although they were given first crack at scores of Elton John concert tickets, they had to buy the tickets, therefore they were not gifts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


This is quite the controversy up in Canada;

Mayor sorry for handling of Elton John concert tickets

Posted By Denis St. Pierre

Mayor John Rodriguez has taken responsibility for allowing city councillors to buy "so many" tickets for next month's Elton John concert.

"My decision to offer so many advance purchase tickets to council was rushed and not given sufficient consideration. For that I apologize," the mayor said at the outset of Wednesday night's city council meeting.

In a rare departure from normal procedure, the mayor read a prepared statement before beginning regular council business Wednesday.

The 365-word statement was a response to the public furore over the preferential treatment that allowed council first dibs on more than 100 tickets for the March 2 Elton John concert.

"I want to speak directly to the people of Greater Sudbury," Rodriguez said.

While he stated that council must learn from its "mistakes," the mayor also reiterated some of his positions on the controversy that have offended many city residents.

In particular, Rodriguez emphasized that councillors did not get any freebies, nor is council the only such group in the province to get first choice on tickets to exclusive events at municipal facilities. "These tickets are not free: the cost is paid in full by the councillor. This same practice occurs in the City of Kitchener, where Elton John is also playing next month," he said.

The mayor also maintained that "the practice of making tickets available to councillors and staff is a longstanding one" at the city. That assertion, particularly with regard to the actions taken by council with Elton John tickets, has been disputed by a former councillor, by a current councillor (in an off-the-record admission) and by a former advisor in the mayor's office.

In fact, Rodriguez noted last week that the opportunity provided to council for Elton John tickets was not offered to the politicians for the two recent, sold-out performances of Michael Buble.

The mayor also said in his statement Wednesday that he has directed city staff to prepare "an open and transparent policy to ensure that this type of debacle never happens again."

The Elton John concert should be a "very positive event for our city and our citizens," Rodriguez said.

Elton John Tour Dates from LiveDaily

Elton John North American Tour DatesThe current tour schedule from;

February 2008
28 - Portland, ME - Cumberland County Civic Center

March 2008
2 - Sudbury, Ontario - Sudbury Arena
3 - Kitchener, Ontario - Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex
6 - Manchester, NH - Verizon Wireless Arena
10 - Newark, DE - Bob Carpenter Center
12 - Savannah, GA - Savannah Civic Center
14 - Pensacola, FL - Pensacola Civic Center
15 - Tallahassee, FL - Tallahassee Civic Center
16 - Gainesville, FL - Stephen O’Connell Center
19 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
21-22 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
24-26 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
28-29 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
31 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

April 2008
1-2 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
4-6 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
11 - Missoula, MT - Adams Center
12 - Pullman, WA - Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum

June 2008
3-4 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
6-7 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
9-11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
13-14 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
16-18 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
20-22 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Aretha Franklin is not happy!

Frankly I though the same thing when Beyonce said that Tina Turner was "the queen" during her intro on the Grammys;

Franklin slams Beyonce Grammy intro

Tue Feb 12, 11:52 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - When Aretha Franklin is unhappy, she does not mince words. On Tuesday, the longtime Queen of Soul slammed Beyonce Knowles' intro to Tina Turner at Sunday's Grammy Awards, in which Knowles called Turner, not Franklin, "the queen."

"I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyonce," Franklin said in a statement issued by her publicist. "However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy."

E-mails to Knowles' publicist Yvette Noel-Schure and calls and e-mails to Recording Academy spokeswomen Jaime Sarachit and Barb Deghan were not immediately returned.

In the first few seconds of Knowles' intro to Turner's performance, she name-dropped Franklin and a long list of famed female singers. Then the "Crazy in Love" chanteuse focused on Turner.

"There is one legend who has the essence of all of those things: the glamour, the soul, the passion, the strength, the talent," said Knowles, strutting in hot pants. "Ladies and gentlemen. Stand on your feet and give it up for the queen."

At a party later that night, Knowles called Turner her "ultimate icon."

Still, Franklin ended her brief criticism on a gracious note, thanking the Grammys and the voting academy and saying, "love to Beyonce anyway."

Known for such hits as "Respect" and "Chain of Fools," Franklin tied with the Clark Sisters for best gospel performance trophy for her duet "Never Gonna Break My Faith" with Mary J. Blige.

Is this worthy of devastation?

An Elton John fan in Canada is devastated that she could not get tickets to see Elton on March 2 in Subury;
Elton John fan 'devastated'

Posted -59 sec ago

The entire sequence of events involving the Elton John ticket sales has become an atrocity of colossal proportions, frustrating many of his life long fans in the Northern Ontario area. The manner in which the tickets were sold was questionable to say the least and now, to learn that there were tickets sold to the mayor and city councillors before the website opened ... well, I shouldn't be surprised, but I am dismayed, as I'm sure many other fans are with this miscarriage.

I am a huge, life-long fan who stood in line at nine years old (1973) to buy an Elton John album on the day it was released. I have to wonder if these politicians knew as children that they would be politicians, and that they would never have to stand in line for anything. Ever. If they did think that, I guess they would have been right.

Not that being a huge fan for my entire life makes me any more privileged than anybody else to purchase tickets, but what is the reason behind the councillors and mayor buying tickets before they went on sale? There should be an even playing field for all of us, whether we are politicians or just the common voting public.

I am sure Sir Elton would be truly disappointed to learn exactly what happened here with the ticket sales. I have found tickets being scalped by so many people that had no intention of attending the concert, they only bought them to make a profit. If Elton John wanted anybody to make money off of his concerts, it would most certainly be a charity that helps children with AIDS, not scalpers' blatant profiteering for whatever personal expenses they may have. This is just one more thing about Elton John that any fan would know.

This entire ticket fiasco has been devastating to me and to think I will be sitting at home the night that Elton is playing the Sudbury arena is absolutely incomprehensible to me. Oh, yes, I could buy tickets for upwards of $600 apiece, but some of us cannot afford that. I am a single mom and I could never justify such an expense.

I have a feeling that when our mayor and city councillors are down at the Sudbury Arena on March 2 doing the Crocodile Rock, they really won't give a damn about those of us who aren't.

Janet Derks