Monday, August 21, 2006

Neil Haislop's Inside "Tim & Faith in LA" Insights

When doors opened Friday night for the second night of a three-day sold-out run at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, a very lucky fan, Christine Nevins, was greeted with a surprise. As the holder of the one millionth ticket to go through turnstiles since the Soul2Soul II Tour launched on April 21st, Christine and her husband Eric were whisked away to a private meeting with Tim and Faith, followed by the unveiling of a special gift – a Hershey, XM Satellite Radio-filled, brand new, Dodge Charger courtesy of Huntington Beach Dodge.

“I cannot believe this!” shouted Christine upon receiving her prizes. “This car is mine, she told her husband, and nobody is driving it but me,” she added immediately after Tim and Faith autographed the inside driver’s side door. Christine (39) and Eric (42) Nevins live in Oak Hills, California. They have three children, 21, 17 and 14 years old. Eric has been a police officer, going on his 20th year on the job, and currently works for the County of Riverside, while Christine is a restaurant manager for Johnny Carinos in Victorville, California.

Tim and Faith camps say, that industry experts predict The Soul2Soul II Tour will be the highest grossing country music tour ever and one of the highest grossing tours in any musical genre for 2006. The tour concludes on September 3rd in Las Vegas at which point it will have played 74 performances in 56 cities across America.

By now, with their monster tour nearing its end, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill must feel a certain fatigue factor coming on. But, if so, it didn’t show Friday night (Sat. morning) in Los Angeles. After nearly 3 hours on stage across town, when we caught Tim & Faith and their bands at their after-hours take-over of the legendary Whisky A Go Go, on the Sunset strip to revive their Bread and Water shows to benefit their Neighbor’s Keepers foundation.

"Everyone gets paid 'bread and water' so we can raise as much money for charity," says Tim. Besides, Tim and Faith and their bands letting down their hair for the intimate show, their friend and concert attendee at Friday’s show, REBA McENTIRE, made a surprise appearance.

TIM came on stage first a little ahead of the venue technicians still trying to get the lights and sound right. He opened filling an audience request to sing something by Haggard, obliging with an authentic version of Haggard’s, #2 1980 hit, “The Way I Am.” Then he followed that with a brand new tune he says will be on his new album, a unique, very cool song titled, “The River and Me.”

WHEN FAITH came on she kept TIM with her for a couple of numbers saying, “Stand over there and be my pretty boy.” Tim obediently hung in there to sing “Bridge Over Trouble Water” with her and soon left the stage to Faith who tore into a cool version of “Baby I’m Amazed.”

REBA JOINS IN – the highlight of Faith’s set came when Reba McEntire descended the stairs to the stage as a surprise guest and the crowd went wild. Reba did “When Will I Be Loved,” and then Faith joined her on Reba’s smash, “Does He Love You.” Only thing, Faith didn’t know the song. But, with Reba shouting the lyrics into Faith’s ear, she delivered an amazingly good rendition of the Linda Davis part of that hit song. When Reba left to thunderous applause Faith shouted, “Damn, that woman can sing!”

During the Whisky show Tim sang a number of songs he says have been recorded for his next album including a terrific remake of the Eddie Rabbitt smash, “Suspicion,” and one called “(The Difference Between) The Whiskey and You,” a hardcore country heartbreak song and another winner titled, “Train #10.”

TIM said his new album will be out in February. AND, he reported that his beloved Dance Hall Doctors band will have their own album out soon to be released on Tim’s on new imprint. He left the stage to them to perform a cool tune from their own upcoming CD, “It’s In My Blood.”

THE BENEFIT SHOW was for Tim and Faith and their bands as well as the Neighbors Keepers Foundation, since everybody was able to let their hair down and sing whatever they wanted to in an intimate setting, with no pressure like that involved in the huge arena show they’d just left. Tim was even moved to say, “I love this, this is more fun than the big stage, back when were playing the small clubs when there sometimes were just 5 people in the place.”

At that his pal, Darran Smith, waxed a bit less nostalgic saying, “Yea, back when we weren’t getting paid!” Note: No word on the amount of money raised at the Whisky show, but if the big bouncer on the door was right, between 200 and 300 people paid $40 bucks each to catch this special show, meaning they netted between 8 to 12,000 dollars from the door at least.

Kudos to the Whisky A Go Go, who waved their rental fees for the cause, and kept the staff on board until the show ended at 3:15 am. In addition to the Whisky show, Tim and Faith donated proceeds from their New Orleans show to hurricane Katrina gulf coast relief efforts.

One more thing…

As triumphant as the Sou2Soul Tour II was during it’s 3-night, sold-out run in Los Angeles, plus the celebration of a the 1 Millionth Fan, and the giving back at the Whisky, it was all diminished somewhat by the fact there was no big country station to shout about it all thanks to Emmis. Broadcasting’s surprise plug-pulling act at KZLA Thursday morning.

Because of the timing, McGRAW’s manager, Scott Siman, issued this terse statement:"When the largest tour in the history of country music rolls into a city you don't expect the country music station to close shop," said Tim McGraw's manager Scott Siman. "I fully expect an apology from Emmis for their actions. Of course it didn't affect our success but it was a major insult to every country fan in the LA area. As an industry, we will overcome their short sighted approach."

-- with thanks to Neil Haislop

1 comment:

Rick Young, Warner Brothers/Nashville said...

I ran into KIIS PD John Ivey at the show Friday night and his take on KZLA's departure from the format: "Arbitron has lost the ability to find white people in Los Angeles."