Not all acts are meant to pack stadiums. Arcade Fire’s current tour, which is struggling to fill massive sports arenas, proves that, but apparently so does Jay Z’s tour. Over the last couple of weeks, conflicting reports have surfaced detailing just how well Jay Z’s 4:44 tour is doing. Initial reports weren’t looking so great, with Digital Music News reporting on his tickets’ painfully low resale value.
Last week, Billboard spoke to Omar Al-Joulani, head of touring at Live Nation, who boasted about how the 4:44 tour is the biggest one of Jay’s career and attempted to dismiss the claims around poor sales. That Jay Z and Live Nation have a 10-year touring partnership certainly must account for some of that defensiveness.
Well, Jay Z’s performance in New Orleans this weekend appears to be another win for the skeptics. Keith Spera, who reviewed the Brooklyn rapper’s concert for the New Orleans Advocate, noted that Jay Z bragged about the size of the audience while onstage, but that the venue wasn’t sold out. The Smoothie King Center holds 17,791 people, but according to Spera, only 13,000 people were at Jay Z’s concert. In fact, some of the upper-tier sections were empty and “hidden behind a black curtain,” which both sad and slightly eerie.
Spera did praise Jay Z’s actual performance (“The less-than-capacity crowd didn’t fill the room, but the more mature Jay-Z did”). But this embarrassing tale of sagging ticket sales proves that while Jay Z may be a living legend, maybe even legends need to rethink their dubious pricing strategy.