Last week, Gov. Christie took to twitter to beg Bruce Springsteen to play at Revel Resorts, the new Atlantic City casino, on Labor Day weekend.
I didn’t mince words: In my twitter response, I said the idea was “dumb.”
Harsh? Maybe. But I don’t mince words.
Christie is all about promoting Atlantic City. That’s great. But asking the biggest musician to ever come out of the Jersey Shore to help out the struggling town by doing a show at a 5,050 seat venue on Labor Day weekend is not the best way to harness his power.
Here are two alternatives:
1. Boardwalk Hall. The Boss is no stranger to this historic arena. He played there in 2003 and 2005. It seats nearly 15,000 people, and is the kind of larger space that Springsteen can dominate. If you’re going to beg Bruce to play a show, make it for the masses (and for masses who will pay for hotels, food, restaurants, etc.), not a select few who can score tickets to a small show.
2. Bader Field. This abandoned airfield proved a perfect concert venue last summer when it hosted the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, a three day festival. This year, both Phish and Metallica will be in residence – Pfish for a three day run from June 15 to 17, and Metallica for a two-day festival on June 23 and 24 that also includes about a dozen other bands. A mega act like Bruce Springsteen would cement Bader Field as the hot summer festival property on the East Coast, perhaps opening the door for Bamboozle and ATP-type festivals, which this summer are happening in Asbury Park, N.J., to consider launching in Atlantic City.
My other beef with the plea: Why hold the concert to Labor Day Weekend? Atlantic City is already at maximum capacity on a holiday weekend. How about something that would promote the fall shoulder season with a late September concert, when the weather is still beautiful and the water still warm. Or maybe a May event next year, giving Atlantic City a jump start on the 2013 summer season.
As Chuck Darrow of the Daily News pointed out, there’s about zero chance Springsteen would do a show at a casino at the behest of a man who is at the opposite end of the political spectrum. But having him come to Atlantic City to promote the town isn’t a bad idea. It just needs to be done the right way.
I get that Christie needed to promote Revel because the state’s given the casino complex $261 million in tax rebates. But to boost Atlantic City, we need to think of the entire city here, not just one new property.