Walter Tunis: Beyoncé and Jay Z's tour generates enough rumors to fill a stadium

Contributing Music WriterJune 26, 2014 

Beyonce and Jay Z - On the Run Tour - Miami

Married music moguls Jay Z and Beyoncé opened their blockbuster summer tour on Wednesday at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Next stop: Cincinnati.

JEFF DALY — Invision for Parkwood Entertainment

Beyoncé and Jay Z

8 p.m. June 28 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. $40.50-$595. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or

Bruno Mars

8 p.m. June 27 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. $49.50-$99.50. Ticketmaster.

It always seems that the bigger the concert act, the more outrageous the scuttlebutt surrounding it becomes.

Take, as a prime example, the stadium-size "On the Run Tour," which features the ultimate pop power couple, Beyoncé and Jay Z. Scheduled to have opened Wednesday in Miami before hitting Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park on Saturday, the tour has generated considerable online buzz in recent weeks for reportedly sluggish ticket sales.

Late last week, however, Forbes magazine outlined the tour in more encouraging dollars-and-cents terms. Citing sales figures from Ticketmaster, Forbes writer Jesse Lawrence reported that the tour is on pace to sell as many as 1 million tickets and gross nearly $100 million — a remarkable sum considering that the tour consists of only 20 performances.

To put that figure in perspective, the all-time top-grossing concert trek was U2's stadium-only "360 Tour" in 2011 with a take of more than $736 million. But that tour comprised 110 shows.

Regardless, tickets remain for Saturday's concert, including "platinum" seats for a jaw-dropping $595 each.

Such fuss is nearly enough to eclipse Friday's performance by pop-soul sensation Bruno Mars, a comparative bargain at U.S. Bank Arena, which is next door to Great American Ballpark.

The star of a critically lauded and powerfully physical halftime set at this year's Super Bowl, Mars continues to blend old-school soul inspiration with modern R&B innovation. In a review of a concert last week, the Chicago Tribune remarked, "At a time when the pop arena is increasingly dominated by electronic dance-music DJs and canned 'live' performances, Mars' emphasis on old-school musicianship and classic songwriting almost makes the distant past seem new again."

CSA Live: An Evening of Story and Song

8 p.m. June 27 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St. $15. (859) 254-7024.

Last year, the Lexington Art League implemented the first Community Supported Art program in Kentucky. A buy-local art variant of community-run agriculture models (also referred to as CSAs), the Lexington version offered "crops" of locally produced visual, musical and literary art commissioned specifically for the program. The musicians, for example, have cut 7-inch vinyl recordings specifically for sale by the Lexington CSA.

Friday, though, participants from last year's CSA crops — musical artists Emily Hagihara (with Severn Edmondson, Joe Drury and Derek Rhineheinmer), Ancient Warfare and members of Small Batch, along with writers Leatha Kendrick, Savannah Sipple and Marianne Worthington — will participate in a live CSA performance showcase.

"Most of the participants in the program are visual artists," said Lexington Art League curator Becky Alley. "The recommendation for this model was to include artists from other mediums, as well. So you can include musicians, you can include writers, you can include performing arts if you have a creative way of presenting it. So the idea was to showcase those artists, in particular, but also celebrate our first year of CSA."

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers

7:30 p.m. June 28 at the Paramount Arts Center, 1300 Winchester Ave. in Ashland. $36-$48. (606) 324-3175.

It's coincidence, of course. But now that Bruce Springsteen has seemingly wrapped up his touring for the summer, it seems only fitting that the other Bruce is hitting the road. On Saturday, progressive pop piano man Bruce Hornsby reteams with his longtime band, The Noisemakers, for a performance at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.

Hornsby remains — more than 25 years after bittersweet tunes like The Way It Is and Mandolin Rain made him a commercial pop force — the complete antithesis of a rock star.

Last year, he issued a fine concert album (Cluck Ol' Hen) with Kentucky-born bluegrass celeb Ricky Skaggs. Earlier this month came a duet with saxophonist Branford Marsalis at an all-star fete for jazz icon Ornette Coleman in Brooklyn, N.Y. Hornsby and the Noisemakers will also be sharing a summer concert tour with the Pat Metheny Unity Band this summer. Additionally, the pianist has completed the score for an upcoming Spike Lee film, The Sweet Blood of Jesus.

That only suggests, however, the mix of virtuosic instrumentation, jazz-like improvisation and pure performance instinct that makes up Hornsby's concerts with the Noisemakers. During a wildly inventive show at the Kentucky Theatre two summers ago, Hornsby and his band referenced (or directly covered) music by Bill Evans, the Stanley Brothers, Levon Helm, Captain Beefheart and the legendary band of which he was once a member, the Grateful Dead.

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