John Soeder at the Cleveland Plains-Dealer is more than a little entitled to give his opinion on the state of arena rock. After all, he is the chief music critic of the leading paper of the city that cradled rock ‘n’ roll, and arena rock especially. So when Soeder says the days of arena rock are numbered, you listen.
According to Soeder, industry vets have noted that the concert industry has continued to be dominated by artists from the 60’s and 70’s, even as those rock stars have started to become senior citizens. While there are certainly a glut of younger artists, few can pack an arena quite like Bruce Springsteen or The Eagles, and those that can will probably not have the same longevity. That may mean that the concert going experience as we know it today—from the overpriced top all the way down, could be radically shifted in the next 10-20 years as the stars of the 60s and 70s start retiring or dying off.
Keep in mind that, like the baby boomers, even the so-called dinosaur rockers still haven’t reached the normal age of retirement. The potential drain in the resources for social security mirrors the potential drain in arena-filling bands that’s on the horizon. Soeder sees the declining record industry and the instant fame effect of American Idol (with its inevitable flameout) as other contributors to arena rock’s demise.
Some will be glad to see arena rock go and herald the return of the smaller club, but in terms of scale, the same heights may never be reached again. Something to ponder over your cup of coffee on a Monday morning.