News Segment

VAN HALEN SWINGS AT ORIOLES:

August 21, 2004

When it comes to booking concerts, it appears the Baltimore Orioles haven’t finished what they stared.

Van Halen has filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against the baseball team for backing out of a deal to hold a concert at the team’s Camden Yards ballpark early next month.

The band, which regrouped this summer for a nationwide tour, had signed up for a Sept. 2 concert at Camden Yards. They were on tap to be the first musical group to play a show on the 12-year-old field.

But the plan was quickly foiled when the Orioles refused to “communicate or cooperate with Van Halen” to get the concert plans rolling, according to the lawsuit filed Aug. 10 in federal court in Los Angeles.

The suit says that after the concert was planned and confirmed, both via contract and orally, reps at the park flaked. And Van Halen says the price for backing out of the deal should be at least $2 million.

“In addition to using its resources to plan the concert, Van Halen had to change the dates of other scheduled concerts and forgo other concert opportunities in order to accommodate the Oriole Park concert,” the suit says.

Reps for the team declined comment, but music-biz insiders say the Orioles may have burned some major bridges and that other bands may be gun-shy when it comes to planning future events there.

“You burn a band of Van Halen’s stature and then few people are going to want to deal with you in the future,” Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar magazine, tells the Baltimore Sun.

The concert could have brought in upwards of $1.5 million plus 80 percent of the profits from all ticket and merchandise sales, according to the band. Bad news for the Orioles’ recent effort to boost revenue at the park with non-baseball events.

Van Halen, meanwhile, is jumping ahead with its 2004 tour. There are 18 dates left on the tour, which stretches through October, and the band’s Website, Van-Halen.com, promises more on in the works. The band’s next show is Friday night in Los Angeles.

The band’s new double-disc greatest-hits album, The Best of Both Worlds, featuring standards from both the David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar eras along with three new tunes and three live tracks, hit record stores July 20 and debuted in the number-three spot on Billboard’s album chart. It is already closing in on platinum status.

Julie Keller courtesy of E! Online

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