The white-hot popularity of country music helped Moline's i wireless Center to a very good year, as Jason Aldean led the pack of artists that packed the arena in 2012.
"We had a really good year -- probably the first time we had six country shows in one year, and all six sold out," Scott Mullen, the venue's executive director, said Thursday. "That's quite a statement for the state of country music."
Mr. Mullen was not surprised how well Mr. Aldean did (selling out before 10,815 fans in May), given how popular the 35-year-old star is. "He'son fire right now in country music. Any of those top six acts could have outdrawn the other," he said.
"Country music is so hot nationwide," Mr. Mullen said. "Look at 'American Idol.' Look at just how country music dominates in places where pop and rock used to dominate.
"Pop and rock are becoming obsolete," he said. "Country has taken over pop and rock fans. They're not just singing about their truck breaking down. It's a full-blown rock show.
"I like country music," he said. "It's something my kids can listen to."
Mr. Mullen said the sold-out shows directly affect the i wi's ability to land big-name acts in the future, and he's played up that fact at music conferences in Nashville, he said.
"That really resonated with people -- agents saying what a great market Moline was," he said.
"What surprised me was that mainstream acts that normally would have sold out didn't do well at all," Mr. Mullen noted, citing '70s crooner Barry Manilow whose March show drew just 3,850.
"The trends are starting to change. The perennial acts from the '60s, '70s, and '80s aren't selling anymore," he said.
Ticket affordability also helps propel country acts, Mr. Mullen said. "They always try to keep prices reasonable for the fan, play as many markets as they can."
Six acts topped 10,000 in attendance this year, whereas the arena's top seller for 2011, Kenny Chesney -- also hot country -- sold out with 9,984.
Seating capacity depends on the act's stage configuration and layout, Mr. Mullen said.
The top 10 shows at the i wireless center in 2012 were:
-- Jason Aldean, May 11: 10,815 -- Brad Paisley, Feb. 24: 10,626 -- Lady Antebellum, April 5: 10,406 -- Zac Brown, Aug. 3: 10,327 -- Nickelback, April 10: 10,189 -- Carrie Underwood, Nov. 16: 10,189 -- Eric Church, Oct. 5: 8,488 -- Holiday Pops, Nov. 17: 7,636 -- World Wrestling Entertainment, Sept. 4: 4,381 -- Casting Crowns, March 23: 4,020
For the new year, "Rascal Flatts is going to be big. We have a pretty strong first quarter," Mr. Mullen said. "Maroon 5 sold out its first day."
On the Iowa side of the river, Davenport's Adler Theatre also did well in 2012, but was affected by the presidential election, executive director Rick Palmer said.
"It was a good year; the subscriber base for Broadway is up," he said. "I think it did pretty much as we anticipated.
"It was a lighter season, due to the presidential election," he said . "Anything that requires TV advertising during an election year, there's the issue of costs during the time frame. It's a difficult time to sell tickets."
Mr. Palmer said he wasn't surprised the annual high school show-choir concert packed them in: The all-day tickets were just $10 and the performers draw a built-in crowd of family and friends. Plus, they put on a great show.
Mr. Palmer also is encouraged by the popularity of the Adler's Broadway series and the increasing subscriber base for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
The top draws in 2012 for the Adler, where the seating capacity is about 2,300, were:
-- Show Choir Show Off, March 5: 2,135 -- "Cirque Dreams," Dec. 2: 1,756 --Straight No Chaser, April 14: 1,743 --Quad City Symphony Valentine's Day concert, Feb. 11: 1,693 -- "Riverdance," March 6: 1,659 -- "Fiddler on the Roof," Nov. 17: 1,583 --Jackson Browne, Nov. 1: 1,517 --Quad City Symphony War Requiem, March 3: 1,507 -- ComedianMike Epps, Jan. 13: 1,481 -- "The Color Purple," Feb. 7: 1,481.
In the wings
Already scheduled at the i wireless Center for 2013 are:
-- Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry, Jan. 11. -- World's Toughest Rodeo, Jan. 25-26 -- Shinedown and Three Days Grace, Feb. 1. -- Journey, Loverboy and Pat Benatar, Feb. 6. -- Maroon 5, Neon Trees and Owl City, March 1 (sold out). -- Luke Bryan, March 2.
Upcoming shows at the Adler Theatre include:
-- "A Chorus Line," Jan. 22. -- "West Side Story," Feb. 18. -- "The Price is Right Live," Feb. 19. -- "Scooby-Doo Live," March 2. -- Gabriel Iglesias, March 7. -- Bill Cosby, April 27.
For more information, visit www.iwirelesscenter.com and www.adlertheatre.com.
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2013. There are 21 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: We give "the government" the benefit of our circulation free of charge, for two advertisements for mules, horses and forage. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The official board of the First Methodist Church voted to build a new church. 1913 -- 100 years ago: W.A. Reid was elected commander of Siboney Bay Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Blanche S. Osborne, of Rock Island, is the only woman in the city who is a member of the American Legion. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Rocket Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Howard Mesecher, will present a concert of barbershop songs at the December meeting of the Woman's Club of Moline at 2 Saturday afternoon in Scottish Rite Cathedral. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Helen A. Stone, of Moline, traded her organ's bench for a seat in the pew when she retired as church organist of Union Congregational Church, Moline, recently. She's been playing either piano or organ for the church for 61 years.