A Pair of Classic Rock Events Will Bring Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles to the Coasts
By BEN SISARIO
MARCH 29, 2017
Irving Azoff, who is representing nearly every act on the bill of “The Classic West” and “The Classic East” concerts.
As the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and the Who took the stage last fall at the Desert Trip festival in Southern California, Mick Fleetwood was in the stands, loving every minute of it.
“I was there like a stalker fan,” Mr. Fleetwood said. “And it was so cool! It was emotionally charged.”
This summer Mr. Fleetwood, the drummer and founding member of Fleetwood Mac, will have something of a classic-rock festival of his own, with a pair of two-day concerts set for Los Angeles and New York, featuring Fleetwood Mac; the Eagles; Steely Dan; the Doobie Brothers; Journey; and Earth, Wind and Fire. The first two shows, called “The Classic West,” will be held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 15 and 16; the second, “The Classic East,” will be at Citi Field on July 29 and 30, with the same lineup.
“Seeing people of every age group really going at it and being supercharged, it was a trip,” Mr. Fleetwood said, calling from Maui, where he lives. “And that’s what we’ve been touching on.”
For Fleetwood Mac fans, the shows have another attraction: They will feature Christine McVie, who rejoined the group in 2014 after an absence of 16 years, reviving its classic lineup of the mid-1970s and ’80s: Stevie Nicks, Ms. McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mr. Fleetwood.
The scale and success of both Desert Trip and “Fare Thee Well,” a series of concerts by the reunited Grateful Dead, opened the music industry’s eyes to the possibilities of adapting the festival model for an older, more moneyed audience. Desert Trip, whose lineup also included Roger Waters, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, sold $160 million in tickets, and “Fare Thee Well,” in 2015, sold $52 million and led to a tour.
The “Classic West” and “Classic East” concerts — the organizers are not using the term festival, since the shows are taking place in urban stadiums with no room for Ferris wheels or chill-out tents — are the latest iteration of this phenomenon, and have been the worst-kept secret of the music world, with most details leaking early this month.
The shows were put together by some of the biggest powers in the music business. Live Nation is the promoter, and every act on the bill is represented, in full or in part, by the manager Irving Azoff, whose involvement with the Eagles goes back more than 40 years.
“Classic-rock radio listeners,” Mr. Azoff said, “have been underserved by current festival lineups.” (For the record, he maintains that he came up with the idea of a festival of rock heroes well before it was “validated” by Desert Trip, which was put on by AEG Presents, a Live Nation rival.)
Tickets for the full two-day event — no single-day tickets will be sold — range from $150 to $950, not including fees, and will go on sale to the general public on April 7, with early access for American Express customers on April 3.
For the bands, the concerts add another chapter to careers that are now defined by huge success on the road. The Eagles — who will be making a first concert appearance since the death of Glenn Frey, a co-founder of the band — sold more than $250 million in tickets for its last tour, from 2013 to 2015, while Fleetwood Mac’s most recent outing grossed more than $269 million, according to Pollstar, a trade publication.
In its 1970s heyday, Steely Dan avoided playing live at all; now it keeps a steady schedule of 60 or 70 shows a year, including an annual run at the Beacon in New York.
Mr. Fleetwood said that going out on the road with the Eagles, in particular, was part of the appeal. “The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac were sort of dueling bands in many ways,” he said. “We all knew each other and all hung out together in the early days.”
“Here we are doing it again,” he added, “and I think it’s just super cool.”
A version of this article appears in print on March 29, 2017, on Page C4 of the New York edition with the headline: Stoking Classic Rock Hunger With Concerts on the Coasts.