Friday, February 29, 2008

Elton Coming to Halifax, Newfoundland, St. John?

Eastern Canada's concert promoters are keen to find out whether they'll soon be able to lure Sir Elton to Saint John.

Elton John's Greatest Hits 2008 tour kicks off in Portland, Maine on Thursday as speculation abounds as to whether the Rocket Man will be soon be playing right across the border in the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

After CTV reported yesterday that John's Ontario promoter, Riley O'Connor, is looking to set up "three or four" concert dates in Eastern Canada, event planners in that region are licking their lips in excitement at the possibility.

The Harbour Station venue in Saint John, N.B., has been trying to set up an Elton John show for almost five years. While General Manager Mike Cadell admits efforts have continued recently, but "nothing concrete" has been decided.

"We've had discussions with the promoter like we have for the past five or six years," he told CTV Atlantic's Elizabeth Chiu on Thursday, adding three or four people call each week requesting concerts by the legendary musician. "With the Canadian dollar being at par it certain makes venues in Canada a lot more attractive than it did five years ago."

Many international artists are paid in American dollars, so the strong loonie means Canadian venues now have a bit more money to entice performers with.

Fred MacGillivray, Halifax's events chair, is touting his city's 10,000-seat Metro Centre as a stop on the proposed tour. It's the largest venue of its kind in Eastern Canada.

"Come to Halifax," he urged John on CTV News. "We'd love to have you for a performance or a couple maybe."

O'Connor said John prefers to play concert halls to outdoor shows, that they could happen any time before December, and that an East Coast tour will only be feasible if he can line up more than one event. He said John is interested in visiting places that are not "your typical triple-A five-star attractions."

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