The very mention of the words "Rio Nuevo" tends to raise up a certain amount of bile in people's throats here in town, which isn't entirely fair to the most recent version of the board (release 3.0, more or less) considering Fletcher McCusker and company are generally trying to clean up the mess left behind by two groups of people who had no idea what they were doing (or in the second round led by Jodi Bain, appeared to be actively hostile to the city of Tucson). However, then the board goes and spends $100,000 to hire the Beach Boys.
$100,000. For the Mike Love-fronted Beach Boys. The fact that this is a group with more in common with the beyond-awful "Kokomo" than the glory days of Brian Wilson's "teenage symphonies to God" is a particularly irritating point to me, but still the idea that if the board is going to toss money at a concert that "isn't designed to make money," maybe it would be a good idea to book an act that vaguely represents the current interests of Tucsonans instead of a group from the senior citizen/casino/state-fair circuit. Yes, the Beach Boys sold plenty of tickets for their 2012 show at AVA, but that show had the hook of an anniversary show with a very rare reunion of the group's surviving members, who generally tour in two separate packs (Brian Wilson does shows on his own and with Al Jardine; Mike Love performs with Bruce Johnston and a bunch of other dudes in the version of the band coming to the TCC).
Admittedly, $100,000 isn't all that much in the concert booking world (sounds crazy, but it's true), especially if you're trying to get an act that might have some promise of halfway filling the newly refurbished TCC Arena, but there are certainly a number of high-profile country acts (KIIM is the most popular radio station in this market, after all) or Spanish language acts (because a regional Mexican act might reflect the interests of Tucsonans better than a bunch of old white dudes, just throwing that out there) that could have been booked in place of the Beach Boys. Fletcher McCusker generally had a good sense of what would work when he was in charge of the Fox (even though the acts there did often lean towards a nostalgia circuit aesthetic), but this seems like an odd perception of what people actually like.
But, hey, maybe John Stamos will show up, but even if he doesn't, they do have the fall back of not trying to make money (and likely succeeding on that front).[This article originally appeared on The Range.]