Why did Viejas Entertainment move the September 18 White Stripes show from the bayside Embarcadero venue to Coors Amphitheatre?
Theory #1: The booking flew in the face of a decibel-limit agreement Viejas Entertainment made with the Port District. (Coronado residents complained about loud shows last year.)
Theory #2: "The White Stripes are on fire," says one insider. "Icky Thump [the band's new CD] is number one on Billboard's modern rock chart. The Embarcadero show would have sold out. They can sell more tickets this way."
Another insider says a different reason prompted the venue change. He points out that the band was booked by Viejas Entertainment employees Stephen Redfearn and John Wojas. After booking the White Stripes, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Hilary Duff at the Embarcadero, Redfearn and Wojas were hired to head AEG, the second largest concert company in the U.S. (after Live Nation). AEG recently opened an office in San Diego.
"The Viejas [band of Kumeyaay] Indians were so mad at Redfearn that it chose to move the shows from the Embarcadero to a Live Nation--controlled venue out of spite. By putting these shows in Live Nation--controlled venues, they feel they are hurting AEG."
PR director Stephen Kougias of the San Diego Symphony, which controls the Embarcadero venue, concurs that noise issues had no bearing on the Viejas decision to move the White Stripes to Coors or to move the Smashing Pumpkins and Hilary Duff concerts to SDSU's Open Air Theatre.
Attempts to speak with Steve Redfearn and Viejas Entertainment president Tony San Pietro were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, one of the insiders says the White Stripes venue change is causing "huge grief" with fans. "The ambiance is not the same. It was moved from a beautiful open place by the bay to a cement amphitheater in Chula Vista."
Tickets purchased for the Embarcadero show will be honored at Coors. A spokesman for Coors says the show will be general admission, meaning seats can be claimed on a first-come basis.
One promoter says, "What you'll have is people fighting to get to the first 12 rows. This is inviting problems for crowd control."