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ROCK EVENT MOVING TO LONG BEACH

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The Concert That Counts, originally touted as a large-scale, all-star anti-drug show, has been scaled down considerably.

Because of “soft” ticket sales, the concert will now play the 14,000-seat Long Beach Arena on April 25 and 26 instead of the 92,000-seat Coliseum on April 26--and for fewer hours with fewer stars than anticipated, promoters confirmed late Monday. Tickets have dropped from a high of $65 at the Coliseum to $15 in Long Beach.

The show, which had been scheduled to run 11 hours on April 26, will now play four hours both April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and April 26 at 3 p.m., promoter Tony Verna said.

Plans to televise it for worldwide broadcast are still in effect, said Verna, co-founder of Global Media Ltd., which is promoting and producing the event.

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The April 26 concert will be broadcast live, with recorded excerpts from the April 25 show inserted between acts, said Verna, who directed the successful 16-hour Live Aid satellite telecast last July 13. Concert That Counts plans are to telecast, via satellite, several acts playing elsewhere, including James Brown from France and Mr. Mister from Japan, according to Verna.

KTTV-TV in Los Angeles confirmed that it would televise the event locally. Global Media plans to syndicate the show to local stations nationwide and to make the broadcast available to 44 countries, including the Soviet Union, Verna said.

As of late Tuesday, the concert lineup had dropped to 18 from an advertised list of 24 in March. Composer/musician David Foster, singer Tommy Shaw and the rock group X pulled out of the show over the weekend citing “other commitments,” said Global Media spokeswoman Leigh Bonnelle.

Others who pulled out of the concert within the past month, and whose names had appeared in ads for the concert, were GAP Band lead vocalist Charlie Wilson, singer Michael McDonald, heavy-metal band Quiet Riot and the pop group Toto.

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Among the 18 acts still scheduled are Animotion, the Bangles, Marillion and Oingo Boingo, according to Global Media, which said it has not yet determined which acts will appear on which day.

When the event was first publicized in late February and promoters had hoped to hold it at the Rose Bowl, they indicated that such big names as Madonna and George Michael, formerly of Wham!, were to be part of the show. At one point, the Concert That Counts also had the endorsement of First Lady Nancy Reagan, who has long espoused anti-drug causes, but that support ended in a dispute over lyrics to songs recorded by some of the originally scheduled performers.

Despite the change in locale and the dropouts, Global Media remains optimistic.

“The cause is the thing,” Verna said. “If the acts believe in it, they’ll do it.”

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“We anticipate that we could easily sell the (Long Beach) arena out because we feel we have a very strong lineup,” Bonnelle said. “We feel that we are doing a lot more marketing and promotions now to reach the kids which, quite honestly, probably had not been done as strongly as it should’ve been prior to this.”

Full refunds for tickets purchased for the Coliseum concert may be obtained at point of purchase, Ticketron outlets or the Los Angeles Sports Arena box office. Coliseum tickets are not exchangeable for the Long Beach dates. Ticket sales for the Long Beach Arena concerts are being handled by TicketMaster outlets and the Long Beach box office.


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