On November 16th when the Dixie Chicks announced their first United States tour dates in nearly a decade, and after the 2003 fiasco that ensued after Natalie Maines’ comments about George Bush, the big question was if there would be enough interest to justify the expenditures and promotion of a full blown Dixie Chicks tour. Or, would the political acrimony still be so thick that it would foil tour plans once again.
Well according to the Chicks’ long-time manager Simon Renshaw, the United States tour is already a success, with multiple dates sold out already and strong ticket sales across the board; so much so they’re already planning to extend the tour, and there’s still six months to go before the official start.
“The ticket sales have been ridiculous,” Renshaw tells Billboard. “After the first day of ticket sales, that night I got an email from [Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino, all it says was, in capital letters ‘HUGE!’ Everyone is thrilled. That doesn’t mean that every single venue is sold out, but we’re six months away.”
According to Renshaw, 10 years on hiatus from touring was enough to build up tremendous demand and anticipation in concert goers for the Dixie Chicks. And deciding to book amphitheaters (or as Renshaw calls them, “sheds”) was also key to strong ticket sales by keeping tickets affordable.
“I felt very confident in the tour, and that our core fans would be there early on and from the beginning,” Renshaw says. “And the thing about doing the sheds is, all of a sudden you’ve got several hundred thousand tickets priced at $35 and under, which makes it a very affordable evening out for people that maybe haven’t seen the Dixie Chicks . . . This is not just about going back and playing for the old fans, it’s about reaching new fans . . .”
As for the concern that in conservative hotbeds the Dixie Chicks would fail, so far that has not been the case at all. All three shows booked in Texas sold out immediately. “We put a show up in Minneapolis and demand was so high we added a second show, and that sold out in a couple of hours,” says Simon Renshaw. “In Dallas, they sold like 20,000 tickets, and the girls were like, ‘Really, Dallas?’ In Houston, it’s like 16,000 tickets . . .
It’s all due to the pent up demand for the Dixie Chicks that had reached a fevered pitch over the last few years. “People on social media were like, ‘Enough already, we see you’re touring Canada, we see you’re touring Europe, what the fuck?'” says Renshaw.
The Dixie Chicks head to Europe in April before beginning their United States tour in earnest on June 1st in Cincinnati.