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Tours de Farce: Free For All

12:00 AM Wednesday 7/10/02 |   |

They always come after the tour dates first.

That's what happens in countries during times of political instability. Someone seizes control of the military, and with promises of free beer and tickets for John Prine or Incubus, grabs a noose and leads a thirsty, angry mob on a march to the palace. Revolution, coup d'état, Supreme Court ruling, call it what you like, once the transfer of power is complete, the new leaders always go looking for the tour dates, for they know the latest schedules for acts like Herbie Hancock or Beck is where the real power lies.

We've seen it happen so many times before. Throughout the last 70 years we've watched our Pollstar.com branch offices fall to despotic rulers wanting to be the sole source of concert information. Nuremberg 1933, Havana 1959, Minneapolis 1998 - the memories of shredding dates for Dianne Reeves and Chucho Valdes, followed by a frantic climb to the roof for the last chopper out, is as much a part of our corporate history as campaign contributions, bribery, blackmail and extortion figured into our own mission statement over seven decades ago.

But history is rife with examples of how men blustered, bullied and bludgeoned their way to power and glory as they promised life's necessities to the populace, such as free elections, two-ply tissue and dates for Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, only to reveal their hidden agendas by grabbing the best seats for The Doors for themselves while telling their citizens that they must sacrifice their own concert dreams so that their descendents may someday enjoy a night's entertainment by David Lee Roth or Vanilla Ice.

So, enjoy the freedom that public listings such as the schedules for Salif Keita and Afro-Cuban All Stars have to offer. For concert information is the fuel that powers a free society, and we'll continue to stoke the furnaces of democracy by providing listings for Glen Campbell, KORN and Keiko Matsui. We'll stand up to those wanting to shut off the free flow of tour data, for they are not unlike the bartender down at our favorite watering hole who always takes it upon himself to decide when we've had enough tequila shooters. Because tour information doesn't just want to be free, it demands freedom, and we're leading the charge. Free Kathy Mattea dates! Free Susana Baca and Ronnie James Dio routings. Free Jose Cuervo!

Just don't try copying our free stuff and sticking it on your own Website without even the pithiest attribution or we'll sue your sorry butt to kingdom come and back. That's one of the freedoms we like best.

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