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AEG Live Grabs Stones

12:12 PM Wednesday 3/20/13 | |

The Rolling Stones will mount an 18-show arena tour in May and June with AEG Live at the promoter helm, sources told Pollstar shortly after the deal was sealed. The exact routing is still being confirmed but an announcement is expected in early April.

AEG Live takes the reins of the long-rumored tour from Virgin Live, a joint venture formed between Australia’s Paul Dainty and Virgin Group’s Richard Branson last fall to produce and promote the band’s 50th anniversary run.

Though the Virgin Live venture successfully did the Stones’ brief November and December tour, it appears plans – and likely financing – to remain on board for a more traditional tour fell short.

Enter AEG Live, which also bid on the earlier tour.  It’s not known what kind of financial deal was struck, but it was struck quickly – one source told Pollstar the call from the Stones’ camp came early March 19, and the agreement between the parties came together before anyone had time to call out for lunch.

If so, it makes a bold statement that it’s business as usual for AEG Live, less than one week after the announcement that parent Anschutz Entertainment Group is off the market and former president/CEO Tim Leiweke had resigned.  And with the speed the tour was agreed to, how nimbly it can move when a re-engaged Phil Anschutz is needed to cut a check.

Dates are still being locked down, but Mick and the boys made it known they are interested in no more than an 18-show, two-month outing, which will happen in May and June. The number of cities isn’t confirmed, other than they will be major markets and the 18 shows will include multiple-night stands.

It isn’t the first time, of course, The Rolling Stones have switched up promoters between tours, regardless of history.  Michael Cohl worked closely with the band for years after winning a promotion deal that the late Bill Graham expected to continue.

And though it’s not known if Cohl was in the running for the 50th anniversary shows, his separation from Live Nation in 2008 included a provision that his non-compete would not preclude the Canadian promoter and Broadway impresario from making a bid.

AEG declined to comment.  Where this leaves Virgin Live isn’t clear. Dainty, who with Branson formed Virgin Live and continues to run Dainty Corp. from Melbourne, Australia, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

"There will be a lot more to say about Virgin Live soon but, for now, it’s all about the Stones … ,” Dainty teased in October when the partnership and initial Stones dates were announced, adding that a global force was in the works.


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