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John Meglen: ‘Live is never going away’

Concerts West president and co-CEO John Meglen has discussed the state of play in the global touring industry in a new interview.

Speaking to IQ, the veteran promoter acknowledges the difficulties for the business since the post-Covid restart but seeks to accentuate the positives.

“I’m hoping we’re coming out of a difficult period that was created by the pandemic, which included the loss of vendors, [challenges] trying to find trucks and buses and rescheduling shows,” he says. “The business is good if you’re doing it right. But at the same time, I’ve seen people out there that just aren’t doing it right.

“There is tremendous amount of inventory this year and big numbers coming out of things like K-pop that we didn’t have not that long ago. I’m pleasantly surprised at how well a lot of things are selling.”

Los Angeles-based Meglen has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, and was instrumental in the creation of the modern Las Vegas residency model with Celine Dion’s A New Day show in 2003.

AEG/Concerts West recently presided over the Stones’ sold-out Sixty anniversary tour, which ran from 1 June to 3 August, generating US$121,326,763 from total ticket sales of 712,641. Meglen has also overseen Roger Waters’ North American tour, which comes to a close this weekend at the 20,000-cap American Airlines Center in Dallas.

“People still want to go out and see great shows and great artists, and our job is to make that environment and that situation comfortable”

“We’re in the process of finishing Roger Waters’ North America tour right now and they’ve had a very strict [Covid] protocol. They’ve stuck to it, but it’s not easy right now – you really have to be prepared,” he says.

And echoing comments by AEG Presents UK boss Steve Homer, Meglen highlights the need for restraint in the market.

“I think we’re all being a little cautious right now,” he says. “You’re coming out of the pandemic and then with what’s going on in the economy and politically in the world today, you’re trying to be as smart as you can.”

Concerts West appointed a new VP of touring earlier this week in Jesse Stoll, who is tasked with identifying touring opportunities and building touring relationships and partnerships. And Meglen finishes on an upbeat note for the future.

“People still want to go out and see great shows and great artists, and our job is to make that environment and that situation comfortable for both the public and the artists,” he concludes. “So as long as we can keep doing that, we’ll be okay. Live is live and it’s never going away. You can’t print more of it – you’re either there or you’re not there, so we work on the ‘you’re there’ part.”

 


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Concerts West names Jesse Stoll as VP of touring

AEG Presents subsidiary Concerts West has appointed Jesse Stoll as VP of touring.

Based in Los Angeles, Stoll’s duties will include identifying touring opportunities and building touring relationships and partnerships.

“I am incredibly excited and hungry to dive in full force to the global touring space with Concerts West,” says Stoll, “I have grown up with the AEG family and there aren’t many companies that drive home the toughness, drive and true grit spirit of what embodies an all-around concert promoter. John and Paul’s close attention and treatment of their touring artists as real partners on all cylinders is unmatched at the highest level of service.”

“Jesse brings 14 years of booking experience, deep relationships, and a passion for live entertainment”

The son of late concert promoter Jon Stoll of Fantasma Productions, Jesse Stoll joined AEG Presents in 2008 as an operations coordinator, producing and organising numerous festivals and shows across the Southeast region, and went on to become a full-time talent buyer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jesse to the Concerts West team,” adds Concerts West co-CEO John Meglen. “Jesse brings 14 years of booking experience, deep relationships, and a passion for live entertainment. I worked with Jesse’s father Jon Stoll for many years, he was a close friend. Jon would be proud to see his son follow in his footsteps and build upon the family legacy.”

 


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John Meglen on the Rolling Stones’ Sixty tour

Promoting heavyweight John Meglen has given IQ the inside track on the Rolling Stones’ 60th anniversary tour.

Running from 1 June to 3 August, the 14-date AEG/Concerts West-promoted Sixty European stadium tour was a complete sell-out, generating US$121,326,763 from total ticket sales of 712,641.

With the exception of a scheduled stop in Switzerland at Bern’s 45,000-cap Wankdorf Stadium being cancelled due to Mick Jagger testing positive for Covid, Meglen considers the tour to have been a roaring triumph in the face of well-documented challenges.

“I won’t say it was the easiest show we ever did, it was tough out there, but I would call it a total team effort,” says the Concerts West boss. “We had very well planned out Covid protocols that everyone stuck to. We had one hiccup, but considering that we were running from country to country to country with different policies, regulations and procedures that you have to stay constantly updated on, you’ve got to give credit to every single person on the tour for sticking to those plans. That’s what really helped us out.”

He continues: “We’ve all seen recently, post Covid, where you [sell] the show out in the last few days because people want to make sure it’s going to happen and that it’s not going to get rescheduled or cancelled. Unfortunately, we’ve had much more of that than we’ve had in the past. But the business was amazing.”

“They absolutely are the greatest in the world, there’s no question about it”

AEG/Concerts West worked with a host of local promoters on the tour, including Doctor Music/Live Nation Spain (Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid); FKP Scorpio (Olympic Stadium, Munich/Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen/Waldbühne, Berlin); Di and Gi/Live Nation Italy (San Siro, Milan); Mojo Concerts (Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam); Greenhouse Talent (Kingbaudoin Stadium, Brussels); Barracuda Music (Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna); Live Nation France (Hippodrome de Longchamps, Paris) and Live Nation Sweden (Friends Arena, Stockholm).

Meglen paid tribute to the wider Stones’ team, which is headed by manager Joyce Smyth.

“They’re all wonderful,” he says. “Joyce Smyth is absolutely amazing and has a tremendous team around her. Our Concerts West team has now worked with them for years and years; there’s a sense of family when we’re out on the road and we take care of each other. That goes all the way from Mick, Keith [Richards], Ronnie [Wood], all the way down through everybody else on the tour.

“It’s a blessing of working with these guys. They absolutely are the greatest in the world, there’s no question about it.”

UK dates comprised a 36,917-cap concert at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium and two 65,000-cap nights at London’s BST Hyde Park. Each show began with a video tribute to the Stones’ legendary drummer Charlie Watts, who died last year aged 80.

“I haven’t heard anybody say anything’s stopping, so we’re always there and ready”

“I get chills and teary-eyed virtually every time I watch it,” says Meglen. “I can only speak for myself personally, but I miss that man tremendously. He was such a gent, such a talent and an incredible guy.”

He adds: “[Replacement drummer] Steve Jordan is amazing. He just came in and didn’t miss a step. He provides a different energy, but I think he very much respects how Charlie played and tries to represent that.”

The band’s previous No Filter tour was comfortably the highest-grossing of 2021, garnering $115,498,182 – almost $30m clear of their nearest contender, Harry Styles. And despite reaching their diamond anniversary, there has been no suggestion that Sixty marked the end of the Stones’ touring years.

“I haven’t heard anybody say anything’s stopping, so we’re always there and ready,” says Meglen. “It’s for Joyce and the guys to figure that out and, if and when, it’d be a blessing again.

“A lot of what makes it work is when you have guys like Opie [longtime Stones production manager Dale Skjerseth], a tremendous, amazing band and then the guys playing better and better. It’s crazy how good they are and how they just bring it every single time.”

 


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