Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe performs at Ocala Jai-Alai
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 5:17 p.m.
Here are words you do not hear everyday: Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe will play the Ocala Jai-Alai fronton.
What: Mötley Crüe singer performs, with opening acts Epidemic and Rockit Fly
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, the bands Evil Monkey and Effen perform outside starting at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Ocala Jai-Alai, 4601 NW County Road 318, Orange Lake (just off U.S. 441)
Tickets: $25, $35 and $50; VIP packages available
Indeed, those are curious words. For one, even jai-alai players aren’t playing much at the Ocala fronton these days.
But Vince Neil? The tattooed, scrappy, fair-haired frontman for one of heavy metal’s most iconic bands? The voice behind “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood”? The man with enough platinum records to build a platinum house? The good-natured reality star who roomed with MC Hammer on TV’s “The Surreal Life”?
Yep — the wild rocker is slated to perform a Crüe-heavy set Saturday night mixed with some of his solo material, particularly songs from his 2010 CD “Tattoos & Tequila,” said Angie Cabret, the concert promoter who landed Neil as part of her new business, 3D Touring Design & Productions.
“The past three weeks have been crazy,” Cabret said Friday. “We’ve had calls from all over ... even Tennessee.”
Located off County Road 318 in a rural patch just south of the Alachua County line, the Ocala Jai-Alai fronton seats 1,500. As of last week, the show had not sold out, but Cabret — a longtime promoter who formerly booked shows for Ocala Entertainment Complex — said this is a “walk-up” market where fans often buy late and at the door.
Make no mistake, booking Neil was a coup for Cabret.
She is a longtime fan, particularly of Mötley Crüe, but she figured with his schedule — opening the Vegas strip club and preparing for a tour with KISS — he would be unavailable. But as she rambled on about other possible acts, she recalled, her national booking contact stopped her and finally said, basically, “Hey, if you want Vince Neil, let’s get Vince Neil. How about May 5?”
The Ocala show comes just as Mötley Crüe is preparing to launch the summer arena tour with KISS. That tour will stop July 28 at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa.
“The Crüe is at a new height right now,” said Lee Leffingwell, an Ocala fan who plans to bring his “Shout at the Devil” album for Neil to sign at the Ocala show. “This is a big deal.”
Cabret said the Ocala show was booked after many requests for rock acts in a region heavy with country music. She worked at OEC when Styx performed there for a packed house in 2011. She knows there is a hunger for known rock acts. Silver Springs, as an example, has had great success in recent months with Styx, Blue Oyster Cult and, especially, REO Speedwagon.
In the age of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, such acts are attracting younger fans. But the core remains fans in their 30s and 40s. These are the ones who grew up with FM radio, MTV, hair bands, heavy metal, albums and VH1 music documentaries about rock ’n’ roll excess.
In short, the fans with buying power are the fans who grew up with the likes of Neil and Mötley Crüe.
“We have the means to get out there and enjoy ourselves,” Cabret said.
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