Duran Duran sellout irritates some, mystifies others…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:02 pm February 27, 2024

Did you get tickets to the May 17 Duran Duran show at Steelhouse Omaha?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A quiet weekend, except for the whole Duran Duran controversy…

Of course I’m talking about the instant sellout of the May 17 Duran Duran concert at Steelhouse Omaha.  Ticket sales had been announced weeks ago and fans prepared strategies to acquire these very limited-edition items when they went on sale last Friday morning. Only general admission floor/standing tickets were offered. The venue’s balcony/club seats were unavailable, no one was quite sure why, though lots of angry people who identified themselves as older women raged online that they didn’t want to stand for hours at their age. 

Anyway, as 10 a.m. rolled around an enormous online queue for tickets formed. Some fans accidentally waited in a “fanclub” queue, only to be asked for a presale fanclub code – oops, wrong queue, start over. 

Well, the tickets (of course) sold out immediately, leaving thousands of fans disappointed. Why was this concert being held at the smallish Steelhouse vs. the CHI arena, they asked. Anger flared! Conspiracies erupted! The Steelhouse and the Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) folks have yet to officially comment on the reasons.

And then during the height of online frustration, someone who works in the industry posted an explanation on Facebook, saying the effort was an “underplay,” wherein Duran Duran asked to play a smaller venue like Steelhouse rather than an arena to “feel a closer connection to the audience.” The good news: The insider said that Duran Duran will be coming back to Omaha “sometime soon – especially now that there’s data that shows a sellout in minutes.”

If true, it’s EXCELLENT news for Duran Duran fans, though a second Duran Duran date has yet to be announced. 

There was an alternative theory as to why Duran Duran is playing the smallish Steelhouse. The speculation was that the band was brought in by O-pa and Live Nation (who exclusively books Steelhouse) specifically to play a thank you concert for large donors and corporate entities who made Steelhouse a reality. The concert would act as a one-year anniversary private party, but it was decided to also make the general admission standing-room area tickets available for everyone else as sort of an additional thank you gesture to Omaha in general.

Using Steelhouse for private concerts appears to be part of O-pa’s business plan. Late last year Steelhouse hosted a private birthday party for Susie Buffett that included performances by members of Tom Petty’s old band, which you likely didn’t know about as it wasn’t publicized. The Duran Duran concert could have gone down the same way. 

I’ve reached out to O-pa, asking about both theories. I’ll let you know if someone from the non-profit replies.

We live in a city filled with very wealthy people. You can thank Warren Buffett, who made a lot of folks very rich. And that’s a good thing; I only wish those super-rich folks could do even more for our city. Let’s face it, they’ve already done a lot. Consider the new library being built at 72nd and Dodge, or the Luminarium or the Baxter Arena – all have been at least partially funded by Heritage Omaha.

As for me, it’s hard to get upset about the Duran Duran sellout. I’ve always held them just slightly above Boy Band status, an act propelled to stardom on the wings of MTV. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “The Reflex,” fun, meaningless songs released 40 years ago. But for many, Duran Duran is a bucket-list band. And the fact that their favorite band is playing in their hometown – and they can’t get tickets – must sting (unless, of course, Duran Duran plays here again soon). 

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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