Dennis DeYoung at the El Rey Theater
Since Dennis embarked on his solo career outside of his leadership of the band Styx, he had never performed a show in Los Angeles. Making an appearance in Los Angeles was more than just supplying a demand, it was creating a product.
The start of the project was to book a date at the world famous El Rey Theater on Wilshire Boulevard and the end result would produce both a DVD and live performance broadcast on the Mark Cuban developed AXS-TV. A very big moment for one of classic rock's longest standing songwriters.
To make an excellent presentation, it was plain and simple: the venue must be sold out! It sounded reasonable enough, with cameras set-up and the AXS-TV crew in place, bringing in the masses would create the ambiance of the show for the DVD, correct? Well, not really.
This was a landmark moment that would capture the dedication of DeYoung's fan base in a product that would be seen over and over, ultimately, even after he retires his career. The first question arose and was, "Can we sell out the El Rey with just the die-hard DeYoung fanatics and no fillers standing around looking at cell phones or departing part way through the show?"
This became the most important thought. This is being recorded. We need the real fans that are at the show to be part of the experience. It's not going to be as easy as saying, "Build it and they will come!"
Oh yeah ... I had just under three weeks before the sale date.
We first had to find the dedicated fans, the media they tune in to and the things they read; Los Angeles based or adjacent and looking to be part of something bigger! The situation had to be so tempting and so easy to be part of that the true fans would literally give up any other plans before missing this once in a lifetime opportunity. It came down to this.
Five dollar tickets, first come - first served. It wasn't about making ticket sales, it was about creating the very best DVD we could. Finding the most local DeYoung fans that would attend the show through a radio campaign brought us to 100.3 The Sound FM's morning show with Uncle Joe Benson. We gave two dozen tickets to the most knowledgeable classic rock DJ in Los Angeles as give-aways and offered the artist's support to make his show outstanding.
Making a list of all LA music based entertainment calenders, classic rock related online magazines with LA based readerships and locales where an older crowd of rock music fanatics would frequent should get us in front of the highest amount of Dennis DeYoung fans, but the delivery wasn't going to be about the show and the show date; it was about the date and time tickets would go on sale. The message was, "You won't get a walk-up the night of the show - the tickets will sell out on the morning of this particular date and you do not want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!"
With a cavalcade of fellow LA based talent that insisted on attending to show support, and a plan of action to ensure that no tickets were left in the wind, there was one more task. The product would have to have packaging that showcased moments in the performance; moments that those who were there would remember, as well as crystal clear digital captures of each band member living in the moment. As a pro-photographer myself, I teamed responsibility with LA based photographer Gene Kirkland and together we provided more than 2000 pristine shots from the show for the DVD packaging. I personally placed nine of the 11 photos selected.
The day tickets went on sale, they didn't last until noontime. The Sound FM gave a pair a day away on the morning show and the night of the performance, a long line of true DeYoung fans stood out on Wilshire Boulevard and made the night a complete success. The show ran multiple times on AXS-TV and the DVD hit the market with a demand. We placed articles about the show with photos and a video clip shot from the balcony in more than three dozen prominent online classic rock music magazines as well as scoring reviews from the night in the Los Angeles press. In Canada, the Blu-Ray DVD package became the Number One selling DVD in the country.
Below is a link to the Amazon listing for the DVD and the teaser footage captured from the balcony at the event. (Note - this video is NOT from the DVD)