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Arena Rock

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 26, 2006 4:27PM

We’re not big fans of the outdoor music sheds, but Chicagoist’s suburban upbringing is dotted with warm remembrances of the old Poplar Creek Music Theater. Soon, the tweens of the Northwest suburbs will have similar memories 2006_10_rawk.jpgof sitting on the grass as they listen to major label acts they’ve overpaid for, thanks to the Prairie Creek Music Theater, which is scheduled to open next May.

According to an article in the Sun-Times by Jim DeRogatis (which – attention Sun-Times tech peeps! - seems to be missing its lede graph), Prairie Creek will be a 10,000 seat outdoor theater (or 8,900 depending on what you read) in Hoffman Estates, booked by Jam Productions and run in a joint operating agreement with the nearby Sears Centre.

The Sears Centre is a 12,000 seat indoor venue operated by CCO Entertainment and will host musical acts as well as several new sports teams, including “the Chicago Hounds hockey team, the Chicago Storm soccer team, the Chicago Shamrox lacrosse team and a new United Indoor Football League franchise.” The inaugural show is tonight with a concert by Duran Duran, featuring Chicagoist faves The Assassins as the opener. Lionel Richie and Bob Dylan also perform there this weekend, though not together, which is really a shame.

The two suburban venues join Northerly Island in Chicago and the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park in Chicago’s suddenly crowded arena market.

In a telling development, the Sears Centre will be using its own ticket booking system, avoiding an unholy alliance with Ticketmaster. Using DeRo’s numbers, the service fees at the new venue make up about 15 percent of the ticket compared to the 17 to 21 percent charged by Ticketmaster. Keep an eye on these percentages next year when the contract between Clear Channel’s Live Nation and Ticketmaster runs out. We’re sure LiveNation will use its own similar service to keep more of that cash in-house.

Speaking of Duran Duran, they’ll be without guitarist Andy Taylor this evening, as he’s quit the band. When asked for comment, Taylor replied “I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world, somehow I have to find.”