And I can’t say that I blame them for feeling slighted.
I have been watching in disgust as artists have bypassed the 804 for the 434, a city 1/5th the size: Rolling Stones, Clapton, The Police, Justin Timberlake/Timbland, Van Halen (played in Richmond back in the 1984 tour), Dave Matthews Band, etc.Â
The list of world-class musicians that Charlottesville pulls is somewhat ridiculous. Courtesy of the HooK:
While he’s unwilling to reveal actual attendance figures (as were all the Charlottesville venues contacted for this story), JPJ’s Wilson says the arena’s last year has been a “phenomenal” success. He points to seven sold-out shows: Eric Clapton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, High School Musical, and the grand opening back-to-back DMB shows.
Wilson doesn’t mention that such internationally renowned venue-packers as James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Billy Joel, Justin Timberlake, and Rod Stewart did not sell out.
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“…the JPJ is a much nicer venue…”
Talk about an understatement. The Coliseum has earned a reputation (well earned, I might add) as an antiquated barn best suited to tractor pulls and minor league professional wrestling. Its acoustics for a concert are absolutely terrible for an arena of its size; it’s a miserable venue for sports; the area around the facility doesn’t feel safe at night; there’s been very little investment made in keeping the building’s infrastructure up to anything approaching modern standards.
Basically, if the JPJ wasn’t getting these shows, most of them would pass Virginia by altogether on their way between DC and Raleigh or Charlotte. They sure wouldn’t go out of their way to stop at a dump like the Coliseum. Richmonders ought to be thankful that they only have to drive an hour to Charlottesville to see these shows, rather than having to brave the I-95 traffic to go up to DC.
Richmond is too close to DC. Charlottesville is much smaller in terms of population but probably bigger in terms of the affluent yuppies and boomers (yes, and students too) eager to get the concerts.
The following is admittedly biased: as someone who’s spent 20 years living in three parts of the state, Richmond has a bad reputation, too. Who from C-ville wants to drive to Richmond for anything? Maybe Short Pump, but that’s about it.
Most “DC” shows are just as far from DC (Meriwether Post, Nissan Pavilions) as C-ville is from Richmond, anyway, as DC has a bad reputation of its own.