BANGOR, Maine — After offering quality and variety with the lineup of acts in its inaugural season last year, the Bangor Waterfront Concert Series is striving to add quantity to the mix this season, and familiarity as well.
Countrified rock fans likely will welcome Lynyrd Skynyrd back to the waterfront for a second straight year, and they’re bringing ZZ Top with them this time to perform Thursday, May 19, and that should be cause for celebration. It’s a testament to Lynyrd Skynrd’s enduring popularity that they may be the only band to perform in Bangor two years in a row, but that’s not the only reason.
“Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bring an act back the very next year, but what it comes down to is they’re touring with another big-name act that’s an iconic band,” said series promoter and Old Town native Alex Gray. “It’s a great double bill with a lot of appeal in this area.”
The bands will be touring with another as-yet-to-be announced opening band.
The 2011 Waterfront schedule now has three confirmed acts as Skynyrd and ZZ Top join the Avalanche tour, which will lead the series off on Saturday, April 30, with progressive rock acts Theory of a Deadman, Stone Sour, Skillet and Halestorm, and folk sensation Ray LaMontagne, a New Hampshire native who lived in Lewiston for a time, on Thursday, May 26.
And there are many more to come as Gray’s target for the second season is 12 to 15 shows.
Gray is looking at a lot of different things to make up for omissions from last year’s lineup, such as folk and blues, and to vary the offerings to include comedy, performance-oriented shows in the same vein as Celtic Woman that can be promoted jointly with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and even a big band act.
“The success of the Jersey Boys makes that something we’d definitely be interested in,” Gray said. “We’ve hit a lot of different angles already, but we still want to hit that broad spectrum.”
Waterfront promotions is actively pursuing several acts, from newer ones with wide-ranging popularity such as Lady Antebellum to established meganames such as Toby Keith, Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger.
“There are a lot of country tours this year, but there’s not a lot of good-quality rock right now that’s on tour,” Gray said. “We have a limit in terms of frequency for one brand of music or another, like 10 or more country or rock acts, and we want to be more selective this year. And because we’re very conscious of the local economy, there are some tours we could do, but we probably won’t because the ticket prices are too high.”
Tickets for Lynyrd Skynyrd-ZZ Top will range from $27.75 to $71.75, not including a to be determined, top-tier VIP option.
“And not all of these shows are targeted for 10,000-person crowds,” Gray added. “Some of them will be 3,000 to 4,000.”
Plans call for the series to feature more room on the stage and off. The stage is expected to grow 21 feet deeper, 50 feet wider and about twice as tall to accommodate bigger video screens.
“Some of the grids will have a few more seats, meaning we’ll have about 1,000 more seats available,” Gray said. ”We’re also looking at adding a tailgate area on the grassy area near the public dock. A lot of ticket buyers said they’d like to come earlier and stay later and not just come to see the show.”