Philadelphia Daily News (article excerpt), April 22, 1993


by Jonathan Takiff

What do Midnight Oil, Lindsey Buckingham, the Kinks, INXS, Bon Jovi, Peter Gabriel and Prince have in common?

All are music acts who've enjoyed multi-platinum album sales, arena headlining tours and other accoutrements of superstardom.

But all have been out of the limelight for a while, and face uncertainty on the comeback trail because today's pop market is so fragmented and unpredictable. The consumer and the media are overloaded with options. Even yesterday's superstar can be today's has-been.

The common solution reached by all these musicians is a plan of attack I'd like to see every major talent undertake - because it does both the art and the business good.

Don't even try to make an arena comeback, they've decided, at least for a while.

Instead, they are returning to their roots - taking the music back to the small all-ages concert rooms and nightclubs. They are leaving the stage hokum - the smoke bombs and lasers - behind. Just playing their hearts out, like they used to do in the old days when all that mattered was the music and profiting from it wasn't even imaginable.

Truth is, Fleetwood Mac alumnus Lindsey Buckingham must have lost a fortune with his 10-piece band extravaganza at TLA last month. And I'm not expecting either INXS or the Kinks to walk away with a penny from their upcoming TLA gigs (the Kinks on May 1, INXS on May 20, both instant sellouts).

But in this small (800-person capacity) room, Buckingham's soaring vocals, intricate guitar and plaintive confessionals were in brilliant focus. The tightly drilled collective sound of his four backup guitars, three percussionists, bass and keyboards was so staggering that it turned this sometime appreciator of his music into a full-fledged fanatic. I've been raving about the show to everyone I know - which is exactly the desired result.

"With a good band there's no kind of publicity or promotion better than being seen and heard in an intimate place," confirmed a national publicist for a major label. "It's the perfect way to get to the core consumer audience and get them excited. And it's exciting for the band, too, to get the immediate feedback, to kick off a new album campaign, to see the fans right in their faces reacting to the music . . . It's something beyond manipulation. It's a very organic way of doing promotion that goes past the radio and the press."

Thanks to Les for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.