Friday, January 30, 2009

F2F Coming to Ottawa

Fear not, rock fans of Ottawa. Despite the downturn in the economy, plans are in the works to announce one, and possibly up to five, major concerts for 2009.

Live Nation Canada, the country's major concert promoter, is holding a press conference Monday at Ottawa City Hall to make an announcement. Mayor Larry O'Brien will be in attendance and Live Nation chairman Riley O'Connor is scheduled to come from Toronto.

But what act warrants this level of hoopla? The promoters aren't saying because they don't want to spoil the surprise, but insiders are guessing that it might be an outdoor event featuring Sir Paul McCartney or AC/DC.

"Take a look at who's got a CD out and what's happening," hinted Ken Craig, the Live Nation rep for the Ottawa area, ruling out the Rolling Stones and the Eagles.

Black Ice, the latest AC/DC disc, was the bestselling album in Canada last year, while Sir Paul's latest is a new release by his experimental side project, the Fireman. Also encouraging is the fact that the former Beatle is booked for a couple of North American performances in the coming months, including an appearance on the Grammy Awards and a benefit concert in New York City on April 4.

Speculation is also pointing to Bruce Springsteen, U2, Elton John and Billy Joel, major artists who have given successful concerts in Ottawa in recent years, and are touring this year. Also on the road and due for a return visit to the nation's capital are Metallica, Nickelback and Radiohead. A Virgin Festival, like the two-day Toronto event last September that featured Foo Fighters and about 20 other acts, is another real possibility for Ottawa.

Rumor has it that Billy Joel & Elton John's Face 2 Face Tour will hit Ottawa on June1 at the Scotiabank Place.

Although the economy has faltered in recent months, Craig said the concert industry in Ottawa has been strong for the past two years. Tickets to coming Scotiabank Place concerts by Brad Paisley (Feb. 14), Mötley Crüe (March 10) and Fleetwood Mac (March 23) are selling faster than expected.

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