Now let's say you want to see some of these folks live, but maybe they don't pack arenas and big rooms like they used to and are a bit too proud to take tiny checks from the small local venues in town. While maybe a decade or so ago fans would have to wait for a summer shed show, the liberalization of the nation's casino regulations has created dozens of new venues across the country for these folks to play in and get paid well.
For example, did you know that the No. 2 casino destination in America is no longer Atlantic City, but Pennsylvania? If fans want to see America play "Horse With No Name" or selections from 2007's Here and Now or think Motley Crue's 2008 release Saints Of Los Angeles didn't get a fair shake, the Bethlehem Sands awaits.
Also, why waste time getting sponsorship for a gig at SXSW playing behind better-preserved acts like Depeche Mode when a little pride-swallowing will provide you and your core fans other places to play? While the cruise-to-nowhere approach didn't quite work out for Sugar Ray, Smashmouth and a host of other '90s easy pop listening acts booked on the now-cancelled Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise, acts like 311, Matchbox 20 and just about every one-hit hair-band wonder have been well-served by taking their party to the sea.
Granted, this all only further chips away at the once-communal music experience, builds more barriers between fans and turns music as we know it into a series of clans that don't stick around for the other bands' sets, but it's tough to pretend it's not a great thing for artists lucky enough to capitalize on it. Relevance fades for only a chosen few. The money and the adulation, however, aren't nearly as finite as the broader fame.-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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